With shabby graffiti walls on the outside, Shanghai Noodle House doesn't look like much to a passerby. However, I had read some good things about this place and I love trying out new lunch options.
Just so you're aware, there's another dumpling joint a few doors down, but I decided against it. Why? Well, this place won hands down for several reasons - it was brighter, it looked a lot cleaner, it didn't have a nasty odour and I wasn't greeted by any rudeness.
As I sat down at the table below the television screen (showing a Chinese channel), I saw that all four walls were neatly covered in multicoloured A4 sheets of paper with scribblings of dishes on offer. A cheap, but oh so typical Chinese way of decorating the walls of a humble eatery. It's not offensive and means that you can read about the dishes that you wish you had seen before ordering. At least, it was in my case.
A waitress handed me a menu. Like many Asian eateries, the choice is immense. And of course, there are dumplings a plenty. Seeing as I was in the mood for dumplings, I decided to go with the 'Chilli oil dumplings in soup'. Fifteen dumplings for $7 - now that is what I call a bargain lunch.
As I waited for my dumplings to arrive, I wandered over to the counter top by the window to help myself to cutlery and pour myself a mug of hot tea from the canister. It's not the strongest tea in the world, but it does for cleansing my palate.
My dumplings in soup arrive looking plump and delicious. They bounce around in the hot broth like buoys in the sea. Chilli oil has been spooned into the middle, there's also coriander, sliced fried egg, sliced cabbage and even seaweed!
The soup was a little weak for me, so I had to add soy sauce, white pepper and a little more chilli oil. Yes, I am such a chilli fiend?! But I simply love the stuff.
The dumplings themselves were de-lish! I could taste the subtleness of rice wine, the pork was beautifully minced with no gristle, and they were generously filled. I managed to eat them all and was truly stuffed, but happily so. I don't think I'll be needing another meal for the rest of the day.
I'd like to come back to try one of their hotpots as they all sounded so good. Shanghai Noodle House is great place to come for a cheap and cheerful dumpling lunch. It wasn't overcrowded which was nice and it will definitely go onto my 'lunch options' list.
Shanghai Noodle House,
Tattersall Lane (off Little Bourke Street), Melbourne, VIC 3000
Tel: +61 (0)3 9662 9380
Mon-Wed: Lunch 11:30am-3pm; Dinner 5pm-9:30pm