When Adam Liston’s father was learning to cook, his Chinese-born neighbour shared a family recipe for hand-rolled dumplings – a dim sum staple. “Dad didn’t know how good they were until he gave me a few,” says Liston. Now, at his Leigh Street restaurant Shōbōshō, there are four rotating dumpling-rollers on the payroll, hailing from Hong Kong and nearby Guangzhou. Liston takes charge of the fillings.
Adelaide has no shortage of yum cha restaurants: old school, ritualistic eateries that have been a fixture in the city for decades. But Liston is pushing it into the now. “Our [dim sum] gives a nod to tradition … but we do it in a modern way and, more importantly, with premium ingredients,” says Liston. Perhaps most notably, his version comes without roving dumpling carts.
The Cantonese tradition is a progression of small dishes, often in “ascending” order. “You start a bit lighter and move into dumplings, fried foods and barbequed meats,” says Liston. It’s been part of Shōbōsho’s game plan since day one and as of Saturday June 10, it's the new weekend drawcard for daytime diners.
Each weekend’s menu will be slightly different, utilising the kitchen’s unique fire-line where possible, with 10 to 12 individually priced dishes made to order, and a set menu option.
Some staples “won’t move”: vegetable and bean curd wontons with Chinese black vinegar; spicy beef pot-sticker dumplings; and radish cake with grilled lap cheong (Chinese sausage), pickled ginger and house-made XO sauce.
Complementing a full wine list are a few well-considered breakfast cocktails from Maybe Mae award-winning Ollie Margan. “We’ve taken some of the classic brunch cocktails and given them a Japanese twist,” he says. Think Yuzu (Japanese citrus fruit) Bellinis, Mandarin Mimosas and a house Bloody Mary with fresh ginger, tamari and togarashi (a chilli-sesame powder used “in lieu of Tabasco”).
Shōbōsho will serve dim sum on weekends from Saturday June 10. There will be two sittings – 11am and 1pm.