The distressed brick wall look is clearly in this decade. But I like it. It’s what I notice first when I walk into this new dumpling bar at Walsh Bay across from the theatre, and I look around and there are other nice touches – the huge pots hanging from the ceiling, the quality tableware, a well stocked bar. Don’t come here expecting cheap and cheerful, superior and sleek are the order of the day at Lotus. It’s a relatively intimate setting, long and narrow, but the very high ceilings give it a good sense of space.
Definitely bring a few friends, because there will be a lot on the menu you want to try. The dumplings are dearer than what you’ll find at Mr Wong or New Shanghai, but they are quality. What we ordered:
Prawn dumplings. These are just fantastic and probably my favourite dumpling of the night, big chunks of prawn and a bit of snow pea.
Xiao Long Bao – super fine dough and great flavour, though not as soupy as Din Tai Fung.
Scallop and Pork shumai. Delicate and like the prawns, great quality seafood.
Duck Pancakes. I can never resist these. Great duck, and bigger than you would expect, but the cucumber slice was probably a little thick.
Pan Fried Pork Buns – a thicker dough, as you would expect from a pork bun as opposed to a dumpling. Good flavour and a little soup inside.
Crispy eggplant with honey and chilli. This was a surprise to all of us and a great dish, I really liked it. Extremely crunchy coating, and tender eggplant inside. If it had some kind of dipping sauce to go with it would take it to whole new level.
Braised pork in Shanghai style sauce - a little on the sweet side for me, would have preferred a bit more spice.
Wok fried green beans with minced pork, very easy to eat.
While the dumplings are not on the cheap side, if you take out the cocktail we had (each $18) and the dessert (gelato from Gelato Messina), the food was under $35 per person and we were very satisfied (we couldn’t finish our gelato), so overall it is quite good value for an attractive dining environment with friendly service. And if you’re going to the theatre across the road, you could have a quick pre-theatre drink and meal at the bar.
Lotus is a great little addition to the blossoming Sydney dumpling scene, I just wish it was in walking distance from my office!
Lotus Dumpling Bar, 16 Hickson Rd, Dawes Point, Ph (02) 9251 8328