Located in Sydney’s Darlinghurst, just across the road from Hyde Park, Madame Shanghai seduces with its striking interiors – cerulean blue curtains, gilded mirrors and floral-print carpets. Nab a table with cane chairs in front of the beautifully decorated open kitchen or make your way to the moodily lit dining room, then pick from head chef Casper Xu’s shareable menu.
There are a dozen options in the dumplings section – from crunchy prawn and squid ink bundles to pork wontons with chilli and soy – and the starters section offers a lot of variety, too, with all sorts of protein (chicken, lamb, calamari and tempura making an appearance). But it is really the charcoal grill part of the menu that makes Madame Shanghai a standout.
The restaurant gives China’s renowned shaokao-style barbecue cooking a contemporary twist, with options such as miso-butter-slathered grilled lamb cutlets and wasabi-laced Tasmanian octopus.
If the number of options get too daunting, just go with the 10-course chef’s menu, which at $69 per person is excellent value, particularly when matched with a bottle of Adelaide Hills sparkling rosé.
Atmosphere: Cosy, contemporary with more than a hint of glamour
Best for: Romantic dinners
Standout dish: Butter-soft grilled baby snapper
Open: Thursday-Sunday for lunch and Tuesday-Sunday for dinner
Address: 18 College Street, Darlinghurst
Phone number: (02) 8318 8618