In this current COVID climate that we’re living in it’s hard to know if you should go out or not. Do you support local small business or stay snug as a bug at home? If you’ve read my blog before you know I don’t enjoy cooking #nojudgement But where do I go, I hear you ask? It’s hard to know who’s still doing bottomless, but I am here to investigate one brunch, lunch or dinner at a time.
I’ve recently had several bottomless experiences at one of my all time favourites Silly Tart Kitchen. Not only is it relatively local for me, but everything on the menu is excellent and the beverage package is amazing value for money.
But I digress Dear Reader, for my first new blog post COVID it was time to try somewhere different and Madame Shanghai fit the bill! I have quite a long list of places that I am always adding to. What, where, when and how much for a Bottomless experience. Of course now I’m not even sure what’s relevant, open or offering BB* anymore. I noticed on Instagram Madame Shanghai was once again offering their delicious grazing menu with Bottomless Rosé and it had been on my list for quite some time.
It had been ages since I had seen Ben (who had recommended the food at Madame Shanghai) and Kat as they had both been working ridiculous hours. Unfortunately Kat chose the hot Irishman she’d been dating, over Bottomless brunch (and who can blame her) and at the last minute Ben pulled out citing work (he does work for himself so I feel that’s is an acceptable excuse on the day)
Lucky for me my gorgeous friend Pixie, Agent to the Stars – had woken up extra early, gotten all his gardening done and at 12.10pm. I received a call from him, was there a spare seat available for Bottomless Brunch and when was I leaving? It worked out perfectly. We met at 12.25pm at the corner of Devonshire and Elizabeth and walked together from there. Pix is amazing! I’ve never met a gay man who can get showered, dressed and arrive at the corner looking so put together in 20 minutes!
Of course these days every restaurant you go to is socially distanced and you need to check in via the QR code before entering the door. Strangely there had been a mix up with our booking which couldn’t be found. Our host Mauro was very accommodating though and with a little digging through my email I produced our booking and we were quickly seated.
Chris arrived soon after and we started with this lovely, light French Rosé. When I contacted Liza to see where she was I got a quick text back “Almost there!!! My eye lashes made me late.” Huh? Apparently her extensions were looking a bit sparse so she chose that morning to try leaning how to adhere a fake lash for the first time! 🤣
When you enter you’re greeted with a quirky and eclectic décor reminiscent of Shanghai circa 1930. Much of Executive Chef Casper Xu’s menu is made to share and cooked Shaokao-style (Chinese barbeque), you can also spot the adaptation and incorporation of other Asian influences whilst also playing on “Madame” by adding some French techniques. Liza arrived and we were ready to start our delicious journey. Eight fantastic dishes from the grazing menu and glasses of endless Rose, what’s not to love?
We started with all the dumplings. The xiao long bao is always a food favourite, each of us warning the other about the hot soup contained within. No one wanted blisters on the roof of their mouths. The pastry on the mixed veggie dumplings was a bit sticky, but once we managed to get it off the paper and into our mouths we all agreed it was very tasty. My favourite out of the three was definitely the Sichuan pork wontons. Steamed to perfection with a sprinkle of sesame seeds and spring onion.
Next up were some amazing pancakes stuffed with lamb and cumin. Crisp on the outside with a spicy soft centre. A fabulous bowl of perfectly cooked calamari accompanied it topped with gently waving bonito flakes, which fascinated the uninitiated of us and was moist and delicious.
Unfortunately we’d drunk Madame Shanghai out of the rosé that came with the bottomless! I’m not sure how that happened? Maybe because our booking had been misplaced so they hadn’t stocked up for the Bottomless. Nevertheless the fabulous Mauro and our charming waiter Jason found us an alternative French rosé and the luncheon continued.
The final dishes started to arrive. Duck and sweet corn fried rice, hot and spicy chicken and an amazing crispy eggplant. More rosé was consumed, laughter abounded and musical theatre was discussed.
One thing was missing for me, something sweet, but we were all pretty full. I ended up ordering this delicious brownie which was not included on the menu and 4 spoons. The last of the rosé was consumed and the fortune cookies were cracked mine read “keep waiting for the right moment” when will that be I wondered.
As Liza and I parted ways with Pixie and Chris I reflected on what a fabulous meal we’d had and how good it was to do Bottomless with my friends once again.
There may have been some kicking on (generally a mistake after a BB) We may or may not have fed several cats, imbibed in more cocktails, popped up to a sex shop, grabbed Mr Crackles for dinner and/or lost an earring. But that dear Reader is another story…
📍 where – 118 College St Darlinghurst
🌏 www – https://www.lotusdininggroup.com/restaurant/madame-shanghai/
🌹🍷 Drinks – Rosé
💵 how much – $ 69
🥟🍚🥠🧆 food – 8 dish set menu
⌚️ how long – 90 minutes
🗓 when – Fri, Sat & Sun – 12-2pm
* Pix just informed me that in some circles BB is an acronym for something naughty 🤐 so I guess I better just type the whole thing from now on!