Lotus Restaurant & Dumpling Bar, The Galeries

Monday, January 18, 2016

Few word combinations can conjure as much joy as the marriage of dumpling and bar. And when a restaurant has both in its name, you can rest assured that they take their dumplings very seriously. 

Lotus Dumpling Bar is the second spin-off of the popular Walsh Bay restaurant of the same name. It occupies a much larger space than the original, on the quieter top floor of the Galeries in the Sydney CBD. 

As the name suggests, dumplings are the quintessential dish to order here. There are many tantalising options to choose from, including shiitake mushroom and fish and white radish dumplings, and even mud crab xiao long bao. 

Starters and mains take inspiration from Chinese classics, and many feature native Australian produce. Pick from starters such as crystal ice plant and Sichuan eggplant salad, and mains like West Australian Snow Crab with native basil, steamed whole fish and duck and mustard seed fried rice. There is also a fine Lotus tea, drinks and dessert menu for post-dumpling nibbling.  

With dumpling prices that are slightly more than what you would pay for at a typical yum cha restaurant, the focus here is on quality ingredients, flavour and eye-catching presentation.

Steamed Jade Prawn Dumplings ($14)
An alluring shade of vibrant green, signature jade prawn dumplings are finely folded gems filled with soft, sweet prawn. They’re similar to that of har gow at yum cha, with a skin that is almost gummy-like and filled to the brim. 

Steamed fresh scallop siu mai ($14)
These siu mai don’t have an egg-based wrapper, but rather a chewy, sticky, translucent crystal skin. Perhaps this is to complement the delicate scallop filling, as opposed to the typically more robust pork version. Finely chopped vegetables add an extra dimension of texture to these delicious morsels. 

Steamed pork xiao long bao ($10)
Always a must-order if we spot them, steamed xiao long bao burst open and flood the spoon with a tasty pork broth. They’re not as fragile as Din Tai Fung’s dumplings, but still oh-so flavoursome and meaty.

Steamed violet beef dumplings ($12)
Folded like plump tortellini, the magenta-hued skin of these beef dumplings is every bit as intriguing as the surprise filling inside. It doesn't taste at all like a conventional dumpling, as each bite reveals a slightly vinegary, sour kick which is absoutely delicious. These are perhaps the most generously filled of all the dumplings that we taste. 

Wok-fried mixed mushrooms with garlic ($24)
Who doesn’t love a good garlic stir-fry? A tumble of king brown, woody ear and button mushrooms is fragrant and glistening, although we would’ve loved less of the button and more of the other fungus varieties. 

Crispy skin chicken with spiced soy sauce ($29)
Reminiscent of Shangdong chicken, succulent pieces of chicken on the bone are bathed in a spicy soy sauce. The heat from the simultaneously salty and sour sauce is addictive, and the skin remains crispy and fragrant. There are no bad pieces to be left with here; each has a good amount of tender chicken meat and comprises a bit of both the thigh and the breast meat - everybody's a winner!

Slow cooked beef short ribs with ponzu soy ($39)
Tender, chunky pieces of beef short rib rest upon the long bone, scattered with delicate cress and a sharp ponzu soy sauce. Each bite is mouth-meltingly delicious with just the right amount of fattiness. The addition of hearty kale adds crunch, with the citrus in the sauce elevating the explosion of flavours to a whole new level. Order yourself a side of rice to soak up every bit of that delectable ponzu soy. 

Dumplings are the kind of food that is perfect for any occasion, and that’s perhaps what makes Lotus so appealing to the shopping crowds, workers on lunch break, and even couples on a date (we see many on the night we dine). Much easier and more convenient to visit than the Walsh Bay restaurant, due to its large capacity and central location, it’s probably more than what you’d pay at other dumpling restaurants, but the high quality of the fare makes it all worthwhile.  


Lotus Restaurant @ The Galeries Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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