173 King Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
+61 3 9077 0919
I’m forever on the lookout for new dumpling restaurants so when I came across a new one on King Street, you can pretty much picture the tears of joy running down my face. I walked past Shanghai Master a month or so ago when I was on my way to meet Dave for a mid-week dinner. I was close to running late so I didn’t get a chance to check it out, however the full house reassured me that this was a place worth checking out.
Actually, I think even if it was quiet, I’d still be going there anyway because c’mon, man, dumplings!
My chance came a few weeks ago. After a long day at the office, I decided to treat myself to some dumplings. I was alone and I was hungry. At the risk of looking like a pig, I ordered two servings of dumplings.
I grabbed my cutlery and poured myself a glass of hot tea at the self-service station before sitting back down with Alain de Botton’s latest book. Because the place was busy, even at 8:30pm on a weeknight, my dumplings did not arrive at my table as quick as Usain Bolt. Understandable, though.
Although this restaurant’s name sounds like a major golf tournament, there are no double-bogeys as far as I’m concerned. My xiaolongbao, pork soup dumplings (eight pieces for $8.80), arrived hot and fresh in a large bamboo steamer and they were mad-hot delicious.
If I could be fussy, I’d say that the pork filling was as big as a golf ball, which meant that there was less room for soup. More soup and less pork would have made them a bit better. Taste-wise, though, they were great but others may say that the skins are perhaps a bit thick.
I liked their shengjianbao, ‘homemade Shanghai fried mini buns’ (six for $8.50), a lot better. Each bun was perfectly dough-y and crunchy with beautiful fillings to boot. I was especially delighted to see that they mixed in a bit of shrimp in the pork filling to give it that extra bit of flavour. Unfortunately, I couldn’t finish these so I ended up taking them home with me so I could eat them for lunch the very next day.
The last time I was here, I ordered a plate of fried pork dumplings (15 pieces for $8.50). I must admit that the skins were probably more dough-y than the dumplings you get elsewhere in the city. That said, the dumplings were still decent thanks to the filling, which had heaps of ginger and chives in it (always a win for me).
Shanghai Master doesn’t make the best dumplings in the world and the fact that they don’t have chilli oil as a condiment is a bit of a drawback in my books. That said, they’re more than decent which is more than I can say for a lot of dumpling restaurants in the city. Plus, it’s about time they had a dumpling restaurant on this side of the CBD!
The restaurant does get packed during lunchtime so I wouldn’t bother coming here on my 30-minute lunch break. However, I will be back to try more of their dumplings. I am particularly keen on their chicken and prawn xiaolongbao as well as their crab and prawn xiaolongbao, which cost a little bit more than the standard pork ones but at least you’re not paying close to $20 for a steamer like you would at Din Tai Fung. I’d also be getting more of their shengjianbao. Mmm.