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

The Gardens by Lotus Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Mama Mulan for your next event!

Having opened it’s doors in June, an elegant interior of free form art provides an irreproachable setting for celebration and purlieu.

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The vision of their menu is one that triumphantly reimagines Chinese cuisine.  The impact on classic dishes many have come to know and love as staples in this food is subtle, yet compelling.   Second generation restaurants you could call them, as the palette  of the multi-ethnic Sydney dining culture is ever evolving.

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(Mud Crab)

 “Mulan” meaning wood orchid or magnolia blossom, said to represent femininity, power and strength in Chinese culture.   Mama Mulan, therefore a place of warmth, love and passion setting the tone of what to expect in your dining experience.  Chef Marble Ng (ex Lotus) has created a menu focused on the Shandong regions of northern China.

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(Signature Dan Dan Noodle soup with pork, chilli and peanut sauce)

The ingot shaped dumplings are preserved in their usual crowd pleasing form.  An appropriate introduction to the Mama Mulan dining experience while saluting the old belief of wealth and prosperity, the handmade pot stickers of pork and cabbage, spicy wontons with pork and watercress and pork xiao long bao set the standard of what to expect. 

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The setting for our dining experience takes place in Mama Mulan’s Den – the largest of its private dining spaces easily seating 16-20 guests.  It attracts alot of natural light and has it’s own private balcony.  

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In contrast, the Magnolia and Blossom Rooms have a roundtable configuration for 8-10 people.  Great versatility in the number of functions and gatherings the space (total capacity 180) can accommodate as we enter the peak planning season of Spring/Summer celebration.

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Offering a range of banquet menus and dishes, expect to spend anywhere between $41-$100 for a three course experience.

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There are some very interesting ideas in Chef Marble’s menu.   The sashimi is available only in lobster, the unexpected salad pairing of pear and cucumber, the use of rockmelon in duck pancakes and mushroom as the hero in their spring rolls,  in its ambition to make its mark and cement itself as the definitive in north shore Chinese, they’re definitely playing a different game to many in the area and making us re-think our ideas on this cuisine.

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Location:

The Concourse, Level 1 above Willoughby City Library, Chatswood NSW 2067

(02) 9157 1488

reservations@mamamulan.com.au

Online Reservations:

https://www.opentable.com/r/mama-mulan-reservations-chatswood?restref=53168

Joseph Lloyd, Contributor

images supplied

Mama Mulan Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Musou Yakiniku – new Japanese BBQ

Musou Yakiniku, is a new Japanese BBQ restaurant located on Pitt Street. This restaurant occupies a large space scattered with fluorescent signs and touch screens for ordering, very reminiscent of restaurants in Japan.

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Japanese BBQ is one of our favourite ways to dine out. We love the ability to order as we wish off the touch screen, and you can do this for a la carte menu or buffet. Everything is uploaded on different tabs to select your meat, sashimi, sides, desserts or drinks.

Make sure you bring your appetite! The $85 buffet is undoubtedly the best value as for two hours, you can order as much food as you please, without wasteage. Dine the buffet menu for 120 minutes, with your last order at 90mins. The food comes out so fast, it’s really only necessary to order on the screen as you need or want it. The only benefit of al a carte is if you’re not super hungry, or there are some even more superior cuts of meat.

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The buffet does have a number of extremely varied and fine cuts or 9+ Wagyu beef, you will have a number of condiments choise from used a dipping sauce to enhance the natural flavour of the meat. Altough the high quality meat on offer needs nothing more added to it.

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We tried the Wagyu beef rib, Wagyu tri tip (our favourite) and the Wagyu outside skirt as well as flap meat. Other meats are also available like chicken, pork rib, duck breast, beef liver, pork loin, pork sausage and more.

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Seafood is also included in the buffet squid, mussel, and scallop. We tried the cooked prawns, which came in their shell. We also ordered some delicious salmon sashimi, but other sashimi options are also available.

Select a couple of fresh and healthy sides to accompany your meat. We selected a mixed vegetable plate, buttered mushrooms and corn and some butter lettuce. Some crispy lotus root chips are also great for snacking.

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There were some amazing side dishes to be selected, including a delicious cold soba salad and the most amazing wagyu tartare with a running yolk atop. Honestly, one of the best we’ve had. Some other options available include porridge, karage, curry, udon (hot and cold), takoyaki and more.

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Their mission is not only to serve quality food, but also provide outstanding service, and that they certainly did. The staff were extremely welcoming, friendly and the food came out almost as fast as we clicked ‘order now’.

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We also got some dessert, included in the buffet price – we tried black sesame ice cream and also the roasted tea ice cream.

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You will certainly leave extremely satisfied and we thoroughly recommend a visit. A great date night and the bench seat set up makes Musou Yakiniku perfect for a fun group dining experience.

Musou Yakiniku Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato