Monday, April 26, 2010

Camy Shanghai Dumpling & Noodle Bar. Melbourne CBD by Big Fil

Shanghai Dumpling is one of those places for those 'in the know' that everyone knows about. Sometimes it's not about the food, the service or the ambience of a place. Sometimes it's just about whether you enjoyed yourself. Occasionally dodgy food, indifferent (though generally efficient) service and Friday and Saturday night queues to get in manage to add up to a Melbourne icon. Whether you love or hate this place will probably be set the first time you visit, and if it you become a regular you'll likely tolerate the inevitable bad experiences for all the good ones. Despite having sworn on more than one occasion I'd never go back, it always seems to eventually draw me back in.

The name gives away the main attraction of this restaurant, the dumplings. Generally acknowledged as the best are the Fried Pork Dumplings. A little oily, but the crunchy texture and the taste make these perfect food for devouring after a beer or three.

Probably better in taste, but something not many people seem to order, are the Fried Pumpkin Cakes. Sweet and slightly chewy, these are the only dish that I don't remember ever receiving a bad batch. Theymake a good finish to the meal after the oily fried dumplings.

Along with the Fried Pork Dumplings, the Chilli Oil Dumplings are the ones we always order. The Chilli Oil itself is a little watery, which makes the dish not as flavoursome as it could be, but it provides a contrast to the fried dumplings.

I only discovered the steamed pumpkin dumplings for the first time on my last visit but will definitely order them again. They were quite good, and unlike most of the steamed dumplings here these manage to keep a slightly firmer texture. The taste of the pumpkin inside the dumpling was sweet and pleasant, although it could have used a bit more filling.

I find that the Steamed Pork Dumplings here are generally a strangely greyish colour and 'gluggy'. They also seem to lack flavour compared to the fried ones. I'd only order them to provide a balance with all the fried dumplings.

The chinese broccoli in oyster sauce is not good. The only reason for ordering any of the green vegetable dishes is to go with all the fried foods. Just in themselves they are pretty average and expensive compared to the dumplings and bowls of noodles.

Shanghai Dumpling also does some cheap bowls of noodles that are worth a try. The Noodles in Spicy Sauce are not spicy, more like a Chinese Spaghetti Bolognese. They are filling and about the cheapest noodles you will find in Chinatown . If you want noodles with a bit of a kick to them order the Dan Dan Noodles instead.

The Noodles with Minced Pork have quite a nice, sweet flavour to them. This is spoilt a bit though by their being so oily.

Tasty, fast, fun, cheap, inconsistent, rude staff, noisy, sticky tables. These are all accurate descriptions of Shanghai Dumpling. How you feel about this place will probably depend on which of these you put your highest priorities on. Try it: you may like it, you may hate it. But it's unlikely to be one of those indifferent experiences in a place you'll soon forget.

Ambience - 4
Service - 2 to 8 (it's that variable)
Food - 6
Price - 9

25 Tattersalls Lane
Melbourne Vic 3000
Tel: (03) 9663 8555

Camy Shanghai Dumpling on Urbanspoon

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