[invite] Bianca: With the aim to be the ‘best Chinese restaurant on the North Shore’, Mama Mulan might well be on their way to take that title. Located in the heart of Chatswood’s shopping district, just above the Willoughby City Library and a stone’s throw from the Concourse.
The restaurant itself is expansive, boasting 180 seats and 3 private dining areas. Think natural wooden hues, marble tabletops and an open kitchen to watch the hand-pulled noodles being made. A little more upmarket than other current offerings in the area.
The classic Pork Xiao Long Bao (4) $10.50 amply filled and plump, the dumpling skin thin and soft, yielding to the salty broth within. I did note they didn’t give us a spoon alongside our chopsticks, I tend to find them useful particularly with soup-filled dumplings.
We adored the Spicy Wontons -w/pork & watercress (6) $10.50. Wonderfully fresh, with the herbs and spices at the forefront, we couldn’t help but mop up the sauce at the base of this dish with other dumplings. Word of caution to those with a coriander aversion…
Ticking all the boxes were the Prawn Pot Stickers (6) $15.50. Thin, lightly fried rice paper rolls, encasing plump prawn meat.
With perhaps the best seats in the house, we watched as our noodles were hand stretched and pulled before our eyes. Without question, you have to order a serving of the DanDan Noodle soup -w/pork, chilli & peanut sauce $12.50 + Crispy Chicken $4. Not as fiery as other dan-dan noodle dishes I’ve had, so definitely more palatable for those that can’t handle spice. Thin, springy noodles with minced pork, spring onions & crushed peanuts. For a more substantial meal, we recommend adding some crispy chicken.
Wanting to encompass all aspects of the food pyramid and for some foliage, the Wok-fried Kale -w/ Garlic $18.50. Equally delicious in its own right, subtle in flavour but a good accompaniment if you’re wanting to forgo the carbs and hit some greens.
I was intrigued by the sound of the Sweet & Sour Pork -w/ mixed fruit $28. I will admit when I saw the plate of crispy pork hit the table with several pieces of strawberries, I was worried… Typically, Sweet and sour pork has onions and capsicum, both very lightly fried with some crunch. I enjoyed this rendition more than I thought I would. Do the strawberries go? Debatable… the fresh apple on the other hand? Masterstroke. My only gripe, the pieces of apple really should have been half the size so you could have a uniform bite of both pork & apple, without looking like a savage (mea culpa). The pork was tender and the outside batter, crispy.
At a level, we engaged those wonderful second dessert stomachs. I love China Dolls Mango Sago and had similar hopes for the Mango Pomelo Sago -w/ mango, milk, coconut milk, sago & grapefruit $10.50. This was really more of a textural fault than flavour, as I found this far too watery and soupy.
But the Duo Duo Salted Caramel Deep Fried Ice-cream $13.50 more than made up for it. Slow slow clap, a thick, crispy panko crumb shell encasing vanilla bean ice-cream and topped with a sea salt caramel sauce. A wonderfully decadent way to end our meal. We would have liked a touch more caramel sauce but a minor quibble, we loved this.
We were super impressed with the food at Mama Mulan, it’s quite a versatile space and menu. With prices suitable for a workweek lunch and at the other end of the spectrum, high-end seafood if you’re in the mood for splurging.
*For Food’s Sake dined as guests of Mama Mulan.