Lotus Dumpling Bar has recently opened on Hickson Road near the Sydney Theatre Company. Like Surry Hills’ Bamboo Dumpling Bar, it’s an upmarket, hipster take on your average Chinatown yum cha/ dim sum joint: no bossy trolley ladies, no ’80s chandeliers, no chicken’s feet in black bean sauce, and no chance of change for four from $50. But you do get a great wine list, cool décor, and fancy cocktails. And very tasty dumplings.
Starting with the great wine list, we had a bottle of the gorgeously pale peachy Rimauresq Petit Rosé 2012, a proper rosé from the Côtes de Provence (c.f. the $5.99 Aussie cleanskin I have now forever eschewed).
We then attempted to order EVERY dumpling, but we were too late and the kitchen didn’t have quite everything left. So we snapped up the pork xiao long bao soup dumplings (multiple serves), mixed mushroom dumplings, pork & chive dumplings, panfried prawn & pork pot-sticker dumplings, and pretty jade seafood dumplings. All delicious. More please!
The small, thick shallot pancakes were stodgy and vastly inferior to the fantastic crispy, flaky version at [my beloved super-cheap north-western Chinese haven on Pitt Street] Sea Bay, but that was the only disappointing dish of the evening. The spicy wok-fried green beans with pork mince packed a perfect amount of chili heat and crunch, and the Lotus fried rice with duck (and possibly asparagus? tasted lighter than broccolini stems) was ridiculously addictive (crack duck?). The poorly-described Lotus xiao long bao “made of 100% fresh fruit & veg juice” turned out to be regular pork ones with their skins dyed with natural colouring, which were basically just a prettier version of the original. Good. 100% fresh fruit juice dumplings sounded revolting (though having said that, I did have chocolate dumplings at Bamboo…).
After a final round of (plain white) xiao long bao we decided, decadently, to have cocktails for pudding. Behold the Burning Mandarin, Pineapple & Coconut Martini, and Aloe Asian (mine, with cubes of aloe jelly like an Asian softdrink)! Hubby went off-menu and had an Espresso martini. All delightful.
Our friends live conveniently just round the corner, so I imagine we will become regular visitors to Lotus. Delicious dumplings, French rosé, crack-duck fried rice and an Irish cocktail expert at the bar = happy repeat customers!