Over the past five or so years we’ve eaten at David’s, the Shanghainese restaurant tucked down Cecil Place (off Chapel Street, Prahran) more times than we can remember. Aside from the one Saturday lunch that we were unable to be seated for Yum Cha, the story has always been the same – consistently excellent food, great service, and some of the freshest, tastiest, and most reasonably priced Yum Cha around.
We’ve had Yum Cha lunches at David’s a lot more than dinners, but that’s not to say we prefer one to the other. Dinner is a much different experience to the trolley-less Yum Cha – the lights are turned down, the menus expand, and a small dish of their house made and very tasty Spiced Peanuts is placed on each table.
Many of the Yum Cha dishes are available on the dinner menu, and they get cheaper the more you buy. Tonight we ordered one of our favourites, the Chilli Pork Dumplings ($5.85 for 3, $9.90 for 6). They were fantastic as usual – the slightly sweet chilli oil providing a wonderful lift to the subtle ginger and pork filling.
When we ordered the Fish Fillet in Rice Wine ($29.90), we were informed that we had a choice of Rockling (frozen) or today’s fresh fish from the nearby Prahran Market, Orange Roughy. For the extra $3, we opted for the Orange Roughy – it was a wonderful choice. Steamed perfectly, seasoned brilliantly, and silver-serviced as it arrived at our table, it didn’t let us down – the slippery black woodear fungus and the blanched garlic slivers providing the texture required.
Next up for us was the Da Qian Chicken ($18.90), which we ordered with what is possibly the best (and most consistent) Fried Rice in Melbourne ($13.90). The thinly sliced chicken breast meat was cooked “with dry chilli, garlic and spring onion in spicy dark soy” and had a nice balance of flavour.
The fried rice, as usual, arrived perfectly seasoned, and was quickly spooned into bowls by our excellent waiter.
With plenty of leftovers to take home with us, and feeling way too full for their excellent dessert (the fried Golden Almond Pudding is one of the most unique desserts to have graced our table in a Chinese restaurant), we headed home satisfied once again.
David’s has earned one chef’s hat almost every year since it opened 10 years ago from The Age Good Food Guide. The only exception was in 2006, where – despite the review not saying anything bad – it lost a point, and therefore it’s hat.
While The Age Good Food Guide may not always provide consistency, one thing you can be sure of is that the Shanghainese cuisine (and the service) offered at David Zhou’s premier restaurant is always top-notch.