Thursday, May 6, 2010

Shanghai Village Dumpling, Melbourne CBD by Big Fil

Probably the best of the cheap dumpling places in Chinatown. It's no Hutong, but then it doesn't charge the same prices. It has a rowdy atmosphere that can be quite fun, kind of like a slightly more upmarket Shanghai Dumpling.

The first shock when you enter this place is the d├ęcor. The whole downstairs is painted a really garish shade of red. Tacky but cool.


While the food here is generally what you'd expect given the prices, it does some of the best fried rice I have had. I think the secret is that they use freshly cooked rice and not yesterday's left over steamed rice. Unlike the shotgun pellets with strange looking peas and carrots you sometimes get, the fried rice here is soft, fluffy and nicely fragrant.


The dumplings here are also pretty good. The fried dumplings are crispy on the outside, flavoursome in the middle and not too oily. The steamed dumplings are nearly as good as the fried ones, with good flavours and not as 'gluggy' as some places. The chilli oil dumplings are not quite as good, but quite acceptable if looking for something with a bit more of a kick to it.



Steamed pork dumplings


If looking for something small and fried which isn't a dumpling, I'd recommend the fried spring onion pancake. It avoids the trap of being oily, and is nicely crispy on the outside and softer in the middle. The only complaint I'd make is that it could use a bit more spring onion to boost the flavour.


If you are looking for something a bit more substantial, you can also get some very simple and cheap dishes served with rice or noodles. These are generally tasty and quite good value. The beef with vegetables and Salt and Pepper Chicken dishes are both good value, average quality dishes at well below average prices.



The noodles with chicken pieces isn't as good. The noodles are firm and nicely cooked, but the flavours aren't as nice as the other dishes. I'd also avoid the more expensive dishes on the menu. Prices for these are comparable to other, better places nearby.


Overall
Good for cheap eats. If you are expecting something other than simple dishes reasonably well prepared then you will be disappointed. But then you probably shouldn't be expecting that at the prices they charge. Somewhere where after work on a Friday Night you can get together and order more food that you can all get through for $10-12 per person. Get a seat downstairs if you can though, the upstairs rooms have gone for the modern industrial look without being at all 'chic'. Some reviewers also seem to have posted complaints about poor service here. I've never had that problem but it can get pretty busy.

Verdict
Ambience 5.5 (downstairs) - 3 (Upstairs)
Service - 7
Food - 6.5
Price - 8.5

Address
112-114 Little Bourke Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
Tel: (03) 9663 1878

Shanghai Village Dumpling on Urbanspoon

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