It’s a Friday lunch and I am meeting a couple of fellow foodie friends to check out SkyCity Hamilton’s newest eatery – Shanghai Restaurant. It occupies a site that has seen several concepts come and go, none ever hitting the jackpot. But the Shanghai Restaurant has an ace up its sleeve with a sister restaurant in Rototuna, deep in the burbs of Hamilton, that has a cult following.
Owner Jianchun Yang says, “We love Hamilton City, but noticed there was a gap in the market for a high-quality Chinese restaurant experience.” Yang says, “We are excited to showcase not only our regional food, but also our culture with our guests”.
In comparison to their Rototuna Restaurant, Shanghai Chef, the Shanghai Restaurant is very posh. This 100+ seat restaurant has been tastefully decorated to impress the high rollers. The open kitchen gives you a peek into the action, while the space is traditional Chinese minus the plastic.
Head Chef, Xiaolong Zhao recently immigrated from China to take on the role. With more than 30+ years of experience in the kitchen, Chef Zhao is renowned for his traditional cooking techniques and working with high quality ingredients to offer customers an authentic tasting menu.
Seated comfortably in one of the four private dining rooms we were treated to an array of dishes, starting with an assortment of dumplings complete with an edible noodle basket and radish swan. While all tasty it was the jar of pickled cucumber that had us all hooked.
Before we had finished drooling over the dumplings a perfect platter of Peking Duck appeared. This delicious do-it-yourself dish is one that is hard to find in the Tron and in itself a great dish to come back for with the family.
More dishes came our way, including a duck fried rice, house special of tofu and seafood, chicken hot pot and more. SkyCity describe the menu as “a blend of traditional dishes and creative interpretations of classics.” The gigantic menu guarantees there really will be something for everyone.
I’m not sure if I agree with Mr Yang about Hamilton lacking a high-quality Chinese restaurant. As we ate, much discussion ensued about the dishes and how they compared to our favourite from various places around town, because the truth is, the Tron is well represented in great authentic Chinese eateries. Where Shanghai Restaurant may have the edge is that they have upped the ante when it comes to fit out. Only time will tell if they have made a good bet opening in the heart of Hamilton.