Opened just a few weeks ago in Darlinghurst, Madame Shanghai is an old-school Shanghai street food and yum cha spot by the same team behind Sydney’s beloved Lotus restaurants and Papa Bo Min. Vintage-minded with a love of all things Chinoiserie, the new venue overlooks Hyde Park and brings a bit of Sydney’s leafy icon into its cocktail area with a Shanghai garden aesthetic, surrounding drinkers and diners with lush greenery and playful dabs of colour ranging from malachite to retro pink.
Shanghai-born head chef Chris Yan leads the kitchen here, offering a menu designed to share with a focus on shaokao style cooking (Chinese BBQ’ing) along with Lotus’ signature dumplings and other favourite dishes from the family. Then you’ve got the yum cha offering which is a bit of a move away from what Sydney usually gets.
“The yum cha offering in Sydney can be limited, so if I’m doing yum cha it’s got to be different and fun”, explained Yan. “The food is still very Shanghai-inspired but with some interesting additions such as grilled chicken thigh meatballs and pineapple sambal, and crumbed chicken katsu gua bao with sriracha mayo”.
With the restaurant seating 60, there’s a nice and intimate atmosphere surrounding an open kitchen and 30-seater cocktail bar. Cocktail artist Kate McGraw handles the drinks, which are all inspired by Chinese mythology and strong Asian flavours that have been used in recipes in the 50s, making good use of aged spirits. The cocktail list includes the likes of ’76 Negroni with 1976 Beefeater gin, 1970’s Campari and 1976 Cinzano Antica, which should let you know the effort and level of detail Kate has concentrated into the menu, offered alongside a wine list that’s been carefully curated by sommelier Annette Lacey to include more than 200 wines (just 15 by the glass though), ranging from old world to innovative.
Address: 18 College Street, Darlinghurst
Hours: Tues-Sat 5:30pm-late (dinner); Tues-Fri 12pm-3pm (yum cha); Sat-Sun 11am-3pm (yum cha)
Images supplied and credited to Alana Dimou.