So, the genesis of the notion that we should go eat at New Shanghai Ashfield came about from twitter. There was a bit of chatter flying around about how NS:A had the best dumplings; better the legendary Ding Tai Fung at World Tower. So as part of the Long Weekend Food Fest, we traipsed over to Ashfield for a feed.
Located at 273 Liverpool Road (right in the middle of the ashfield shop district – we did walk along the streets looking for boba tea joint to round up our asian fiesta), The NSA joint is a red coloured federation building with glass street frontage. I think they recently renovated as I read some other blogs before I headed over and the street frontage on NSA is different and modern now. Quite fancy.
Outside looking in. Warm woods, reds, raw brick and asian styled wall hangings. Theres some sort of chinoserie clad walls leading into the toilet area.
New Shanghai’s special summer cold dishes. We didn’t get any
From the inside, like most asian resto, from the cheap to the fancier (like Chef’s Gallery+Din Tai Fung) the kitchen process is transparent and celebrated. They’re making the food fresh.
COURSES IN SEQUENCE.
1.01 drunken chicken. Cold. I ate most of this. The other 2 didn’t seem to like it as much. Its like Hainanese chicken but cold (the congealed chicken skin is a bit hard to take, I don’t think K liked it much). The difference btw this and a hainan chicken is the absence of ginger flavouring and the addition of shaoxing wine.
Noodle Pork and Veg. This was a tad bland and indistinct. Needed soy.
Famous Shanghai Xiao Long Bao. I’ll give DTF the edge. The dough was a bit thicker than DTF and the dish while tasty wasn’t quite as good to eat as DTF. Its still pretty damn solid and the price point is great. You are able to pick the dumplings up and when you bite into it, the soup oozes out. Bit of strategem needed to eat these. A classic shanghai dish. This is something we should have order 2X of instead of the dough balls below.
Pan Fried Pork Dumplings. 8. Chinese Noodle Restaurant in Chinatown with its al-cheapo fitout and killer dumplings has the edge on flavour. The dough on this again was a bit thick and the top part of it wasn’t as crispy and possibly felt possibly undercooked/doughy
Pan Fried Pork Buns. Looked promising. Every table had ordered it so we did but we kind of ate the filling (Some meat in it) and didn’t eat the dough as it was a bit much. There was a lot of dough/bun.
At this point in the lunch, we had started a paleolithic diet conversation and carb became a villain. Jeremy was extolling the virtues of a protein diet and carbs, sugar and fructose all became evil; while tapioca balls were carcinogenic and killer of many an asian girl. I later order a boba tea from easy way with tapioca balls and a warning label re: chocking.
The damage: $8.80 x 5. For 3 people, that works out to be about $13 each. And we were all full. It’s super cheap this venue. I’d definitely return, order 2x of the xiao long baos (which the older asian family next to us did) and do without the no. 205 (I’m assuming that’s the one with the black sesame seeds).
So this is what it looked like when we left. Its chock a block now and the previously empty seats are now full of patrons waiting to get a seat. I have a sneaking suspicion that we tourists picked the wrong dishes. There wasn’t any sticker shock here and the food was good enough to warrant a return. The menu is also wholly comprehensive and quite extensive. (128 dishes!). Service was prompt, tea was topped up pronto. Couldn’t fault it.
One thing that was missing was the provision a sauce plate. You were only given a bowl to eat out of and while that’s great for noodles, a little saucer (which you can pour soy/vinegar into) wouldn’t have been amiss-ed.