The Gardens, by Lotus

Lotus Dining have recently taken up residency in the Chinese Gardens of Friendship, Darling Harbour. It is a tranquil setting, surrounded by a beautiful Chinese themed garden with fish filled ponds and Chinese art, right in the heart of the city.

Relax and unwind in this oasis, perhaps order a tea from their extensive list, whilst listening to the pitter patter of the water fountain. Enjoy the serenity of the dining space, where there are plenty of great spots to select your table and enjoy a bite to eat. Make your preference next to the koi pond or by the fountain or perhaps in the garden beneath the trees.

The tea room itself is an intricate structure made up of wooden pillars and beams supporting a traditional Chinese tiled roof.

Hanging from the roof are decorated carved lanterns. It is the perfect surrounding to enjoy their aromatic, ethically sourced, loose leaf teas at $5 a pot. Mellow cream oolong tea, flavoured with mallow blossom, safflowers and almond pieces was our favourite, or the China lychee, black Chinese tea with mellow sweet lychee flavour was also lovely. There’s plenty of choice and the pot makes for a few cups to enjoy with your dumplings. If you are not into tea, do not fret, there is a range of wine and beer as well as hot chocolate, coffee and milkshakes.

The food at lotus dining is of high quality, with some of our favourite dumplings in Sydney. The steam baskets arrive at the table carrying dim sum delights including the ever popular har gao, these glutinous opaque white parcels give a glimpse of the delicious banana prawn filling inside, with a serving of three, there was a chopstick battle for the extra portion. Defeat was quickly forgotten as we had a variety of dumplings to choose from.

The steamed fresh scallop siu mai with three pieces were great, no hiding the filling within this dumpling, the scallop peeping out, enticing you to eat it promptly.

The steamed shitake mushroom dumplings were in a thin veil, so thin the tasty mushroom and corn filling could not hide from what was to come, satisfying our need for more of these culinary gems.

The most flavoursome of the lot was the Sichuan style prawn and pork wontons, the chili and sesame sauce providing that flavour kick.

Another dim sum crowd pleaser is the trusty spring roll, the king brown mushroom version will please all, especially the vegetarians.

There were plenty of great options to share on the light lunch menu and the prices are very reasonable. We sampled the vegetarian options, all full of flavour and generous portions.

The Salt and pepper classic tofu salad included crispy fried tofu, soft in the middle, with smoked chilli having the tastebuds tingling with joy, this was served with a fresh herb salad at only $13.

The refreshing cold noodle salad was neatly served with the individual ingredients portioned separately, egg noodles, seasonal vegetables, a variety of mushrooms and a soy and sesame dressing that you could add to taste $13 to mix or not mix that was the question?

We also ordered the steamed asian greens sauced with soy and sesame oil a big portion and a simple classic dish at $11

For those of you dining with your family, there’s a kids menu with meals from $8 including popcorn chicken, fried rice or a dim sum basket.

As I’m sure plenty of diners are, we were ready to finish with something sweet and a selection of macarons certainly did the trick. They offer flavour changes and on our visit it was passionfruit and chocolate, these took our fancy at only $8 for 3. The crisp outer shell and soft filling made for a lovely taste and texture.

We also tried the iced lemon mousse, with bits of granola. It’s a sharp cool dessert to settle the meal. This one is also vegan friendly.

Be sure to make a booking, this spot is ever popular with tourists and locals alike. Definitely the best spot in Sydney to enjoy some dim sum, a stunning garden setting with the city skyline as a backdrop. Include the amazing food on offer, and it makes for the perfect lunch outing.

We’d like to extend our thanks to the venue for their hospitality and to The Atticism for the invitation to dine.

The Gardens by Lotus

In the Chinese Gardens of Friendship

Pier st, cnr Harbour St, Sydney

Lotusdining.com.au