After opening Lotus Barangaroo and Papa Bo Min within less than six months of each other Lotus Dining Group has announced three new venues. These include a Peruvian-Japanese restaurant (with ex-Nobu chef, Rose Ang) and a casual eatery serving beer and bao that will both open at Barangaroo later this year.
The third, Madame Shanghai, will open next month in the CBD. Head chef Chris Yan says that compared with Lotus’s other venues it will be very different. “It's going to be noisy. When people ask me what will it be, I say go and see In the Mood for Love [a film released in 2001 about a love story set in 1960s Hong Kong].”
The food will be based on Shanghainese street foods such as Chinese grilled meats. Yan says he and incoming chef Casper Xu (ex-China Doll; he previously worked in Shanghai) are excited about dishes such as aged duck eggs with silken tofu, and a prawn salad with pickled jicama (Mexican yam) and a green chilli and lime dressing. “We won’t be doing duck pancakes, I’m sick of those. We'll do slow-roasted pork belly in duck fat,” says Yan. “On the grill I think we'll do chicken-thigh meatballs with pineapple sambal; grilled chicken heart with cumin and lime; and grilled miso mackerel and pickled ginger.”
During the day Madame Shanghai will serve what Lotus has become renowned for: Australian-Chinese yum cha. “We'll have our yum cha for lunch, then a complete turnover for night with flames and excitement,” says Lotus bartender Kate McGraw.
McGraw’s cocktail list will run from Mimosas and Martinis at midday to something more theatrical at night. The details are still hazy, but one thing McGraw is excited about is aged spirits, specifically in a $130 Negroni made only with liquors from 1976. “We’ll be opening with it. We’ll have about 20 serves,” says McGraw. “It'll be incredibly different to most Negronis. It's going to be a thing of beauty.”
Madame Shanghai will open on College Street, Sydney in late April.