Something weird happened at the RMIT Business Library this afternoon.
It was dead quiet.
Yep, no one was cranking their iPods full-blast. No fobs were “shishishsi errerrerrerrr”-ing. And no one was watching Korean dramas (WITHOUT headphones) on their laptops.
What on earth was going on?!
Okay, now that I got that out of the way… let’s get on to my main post:
Some of my readers may recall a post I wrote a few months ago called “The Melbourne Dumpling Conspiracy.” In short, it’s a theory developed by yours truly whereby one’s initial visit to any one dumpling restaurant is met with smiles and promises to come back again only to be disappointed when subsequent visits are of a less than positive experience. So anyway, Adam had an hour for lunch at the weird time of 11am today. Because the CBD is still asleep at this hour, it was a bit hard to find a place that was open AND that wasn’t a fast food outlet or Dumplings Plus. A walk up Lt Bourke St led us to Shanghai Village, a non-descript dumpling restaurant that we visited earlier this year but never got around to reviewing. Yes, shocking even for me but hey, you can’t blame for me having a life and not updating as much as I can (oh shut up, the lot of you who are laughing behind my back).
If I recall correctly, our experience at Shanghai Village did not suck. We ordered an obligatory plate of fried pork dumplings as well as a plate of Shanghai noodles and could not fault anything with the meal. Also, Sam previously mentioned a decent dumpling restaurant near Flower Drum/Hu Tong/Shoya and I think this was the one she was referring to so that makes two of us who gave props to this restaurant.
Decor-wise, it’s not that great. Okay, so a vast improvement on Camy’s et al but on close inspection of the bright pink walls, you can see a layer of grime and dirt that’s probably been there for decades. Not a very pleasant thing to look at while you’re eating but then again, we’re not at the ‘Drum. Anyway, the place opens pretty early (10:30am, seven days a week) which is a +1 for us early eaters and the service, while not chirpy like most mainland restaurants, is efficient. Although most of the utensils and drinks (water and hot tea) are located on a table to be fetched yourself, the young waiter was kind enough to grab everything we needed including a small bowl of chilli oil (the one without chilli flakes and seeds, which I would have preferred).
Fried pork dumplings (15 for $6.80). They were really good the first time but for some reason, they were a little “tired” this time around. Like they were still nursing a hangover from last night. They seemed flatter and greasier too. In fact, there was so much grease that I probably undid my hour’s worth of Body Combat and 20 minutes of Body Attack from last night . Nevertheless, they are still notches ahead of Camy’s and hey, $6.80 for 15 is nothing to scowl over!
Fried sliced rice cakes with pork and cabbage ($7). Adam doesn’t really like this dish (I only found out after I placed the order) so we didn’t finish it all off. It was okay but not any better than ones found at other restaurants. If we had more time for lunch, I probably would have slowly finished it off myself but Adam had to go back to work so we ended up bagging half of it to give to his parents, haha.
Finally, steamed chicken and prawn dumplings (8 for $6.50). Sadly, they didn’t do it for me. The chicken tasted a bit… off and the prawns were nothing more than dried shrimp. The ones at Bob’s Kitchen in Glen Waverley are miles better, even if they are laced with a month’s intake of MSG.
In spite of my less than favourable assessment of my second visit to Shanghai Village, I would actually come back here again. The food was a bit sloppy this time around but I’m willing to forgive it on the basis that it WAS very early on a Saturday morning and heck, the entire lunch only cost us $20.30. Given all of this, I think Shanghai Village just scrapes past the realm of the conspiracy.