Vanessa: The CBD dumpling scene is about to get a whole lot more exciting with the addition of Lotus Restaurant & Dumpling Bar taking residency at The Galleries. Serving up an array of delicate dumplings and modern Chinese cuisine, Lotus is an inviting space that will no doubt have the people coming in droves to check it out as word spreads!
Myself and fellow ForFoodssaker, Bianca, were invited to sample the menu and were immediately impressed by the beautiful interior of the restaurant. Detail has clearly been considered in the planning phase as the restaurants large space has been delightfully decorated to reflect the Chinese culture whilst keeping in line with modern trends.
The design team at DS17, who are also behind the design of Sydney’s Alpha Restaurant, have done a good job in fitting out the 270 seater space to allow for varied table sizes, private dining rooms and a centrally positioned bar.
We were most impressed by the three private dining rooms that can seat between 6-12 people depending on the room and all are tastefully decorated with striking artwork.
There is even an docking station in each room allowing you to bring in your own tunes to dine by – a nice touch!
We made our way to one of the long tables in the dining room and were presented with two steam baskets of dumplings. The first were the steamed jade prawn dumplings which were vibrant in colour with the juicy prawns enclosed.
The second were the steamed scallop sui mai which were plump and juicy.
My favourite dumplings came in the form of steamed mud crab and pork xiao long bao. The casing was dyed with of spinach and carrot juice , hence the green and orange colouring, with a salty soup on the inside.
Next up were the pan-fried pork bun, which were fantastic. The top of the buns were soft and pillowy, with the bottom lightly crispy and filled with slightly sweet pork.
The crispy skin duck pancakes with sweet miso is an absolute must try. I don’t think I have ever had duck with crispier skin that was as succulent as this was. The sweet miso is house-made and makes a nice change from the usual hoisin sauce as an accompaniment to the pancakes.
The next dish of Crystal Ice plant salad with cucumber, enoki and black vinegar dressing had everyone perplexed. I had never heard of crystal ice plant let alone tasted it so it was a new experience for me and many. It was crunchy and watery in texture with no particular taste at all, which is where the black vinegar came into play. This was definitely not one of my favourites but a unique dish none the less.
We were also presented with a calamari with native spice salt and lemon dressing. The calamari was soft with a slight crisp coating sprinkled with spice salt. The dressing for me had a strong fish taste which I felt overpowered the calamari and were much better off flying solo.
The high note came with the next dish being the crispy eggplant with honey and sesame. Collective sounds of joy broke out across the table as everyone tried this dish. The eggplant pieces have a sweet, crunchy coating that are covered in sesame. This is one winning dish, that had everyone reaching for more.
We also had a beautiful fillet of steamed fish that was sitting in a dark soy sauce with ginger and shallots. A light dish, that was great to break up the heavier fried dishes we had tried.
The last two mains were presented to us with a bowl of fluffy white rice to accompany them. The wok-fried wallaby rump with bean paste and salt push looked appealing but I have to admit I chickened out of tasting it. Bianc tasted and reported that it tasted like chicken, with a ‘different’ after taste.
The wok-fried prawns with XO were juicy and plump with a good coverage of xo paste. Not too spicy but enough of a kick to feel it. Worth a try!
Reaching bursting point, I was able to have a bite of each of the desserts that were brought to us and I’m glad I did.
The first was the sago and red bean pudding with cocunut cream. I love the taste and texture of sago but why oh why must there be red beans in it! For me, the contrast in flavour of the red beans, spoiled the dish.
On a higher note, the Lotus Jasmine Tea Creme Caramel was perhaps one of the creamiest I have ever had. It really tasted like a perfect combination of traditionl creme caramel and creme brulee. A delicious dessert that is well worth saving room for.
I loved the experience at Lotus and will definitely return. I’m already thinking about how I can orchestrate some sort of gathering that warrants the use of the private dining rooms! If you are a CBD worker I recommend you grab yourself some dumplings at lunch time or make an evening of it starting with a cocktail or two at the bar beforehand.
Photos by Bianca
*ForFoodsSake were invited to dine by Wasamedia, all opinions however are our own.