Hailing from the Lotus group’s illustrious list of restaurants Madame Shanghai is here to make a statement. Positioned below the Regency luxury apartments and opposite Hyde Park it resides in possibly the prettiest part of Darlinghurst.
Drawing cues from Shanghai in the decadent 1930’s, the rich and seductive interiors of Madame Shanghai will have you stepping back in time. Swathed in jade and deep sapphire tones there is a distinct air of opulence and it’s absolutely intoxicating.
We imagine the dining space is even more alluring by night but on this occasion we are here for lunch. On the way to our table we cant help but notice the stunning pink orchid arrangement at the bar and it appears our fellow diners are predominately Chinese, which has to be a good sign.
The menu starts with an enticing list of dumplings and executive chef Chris Yan highlights shaokao-style cooking (Chinese barbeque) with a selection from the charcoal grill.
To start, we order the vegetable dumplings, the salt and pepper calamari and take the suggestion from our waiter who highly recommends the prawn and calamari dumplings.
Turns out the winner is in fact the prawn and calamari dumplings, they pack some serious flavour and leave you wanting more. A chilled glass of rosé is the chosen drop of the day, it’s a 2017 Port Phillip ‘Salasso’ from the Mornington Peninsula. It’s easy drinking, not too dry or sweet and seems to work well with the food, however perhaps a Riesling may have been a better choice.
The Ethos at Madame Shanghai is the food is made to share, so for mains we split the steamed fish fillet along with some vegetable sides- the eggplant with tofu and the pumpkin with broccolini.
The Barramundi is silky and delicate, served with a light kombu soy and topped with a rich, salted black bean chilli paste.
Both vegetable sides are well received but the eggplant with tofu is incredible, it has that sticky coat of oyster sauce, all gooey and moorish. The texture is somewhat reminiscent to Japanese agedashi tofu only saltier and with the addition of eggplant it’s a winner.
If only we had room for dessert or a drink at the bar overlooking the park. The nostalgic drinks list was devised by cocktail artisan Kate McGraw who looked to Chinese mythology as a source for inspiration. Word on the street is the 76 Negroni is to die for and it should be at $130 a pop! The aged classic is made with Campari, Beefeater gin and Chinzano Antico all bottled in the 70s so it’s definitely a one of a kind… oh well I guess we will just have to return.
In relation to what to wear when dining at Madame Shanghai, really there are no limits. I absolutely love this top, it reminds me of Givenchy 2015 and to me that’s still relevant- especially in this setting. In saying that, if your going to dinner at Madame Shanghai you could go all out with a long silk slip dress in a deep jewel tone (perhaps sapphire blue, ruby red or emerald green.) Right now Silk slips are trending so for some further inspo for the evenings we have some delightful dresses linked below. Happy shopping and let us know what you think of Madame Shanghai!
BAG by Saint Laurent
TOP by Rene Derhy (shop similar 1 )
JEANS by J Brand *
BELT by Gucci
BOOTS by Tony Bianco
INSPO FOR EVENINGS
OPTION 1 Silk Laundry dress
OPTION 2 Hansan and Gretal
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