Owner of Lotus Dumpling Bar Michael Jiang has teamed up with Shanghai-born head chef Chris Yan (formerly of Billy Kwong and Wooloomooloo’s China Doll). They have opened a new restaurant that combines traditional Chinese recipes with a modern Australian approach at The Galeries in the CBD.
At odds with the industrial feel of its Walsh Bay counterpart, the newly opened Lotus Galeries is a 270-seat space overlooking the Queen Victoria Building. Floor-to-ceiling windows flood the restaurant with light during the day. At night the space is illuminated by the QVB’s glow. Designed by DS17 (also behind Alpha), the minimalist blue-and-white space blends Fibonacci stone surfaces with earthy ceramics and textiles. Intimate private dining rooms are available for functions; a mix of completely private and semi-public spaces is divided by a modernist atrium.
Jiang describes the concept as, “A perfect meeting of East and West.” “We’re from China, but we’re in Australia – so we wanted a fresh idea for the local people,” he says. Multicultural influences are evident in both the menu and the décor – Jiang cites the restaurant’s Russian paintings as an example.
Jiang wanted the food to be simple and accessible and to keep the focus on the team’s award-winning dumplings. The menu reflects the restaurant’s focus on sustainability and locally sourced ingredients. The menu has expanded to include seafood offerings, including choose-your-own live lobster and mud crab xiao long bao (a fresh take on the traditional Chinese dish). Another (somewhat unexpected) option is the wallaby fillet – chosen for its tenderness and as a sustainable alternative to beef. It comes with Lotus’s signature salad, served with native Australian greens.
It also offers Lo Tea: Lotus’s answer to traditional Chinese tea, serving handmade dumplings with artisan chocolates, Asian-inspired sweets and the restaurant’s own tea.
Level 1, The Galeries 500 George Street, Sydney
(02) 9267 3699