Whenever my parents are in town I try to make the most of their Chinese language skills and food expertise by steering them towards meals at Chinese restaurants. Our latest trip was to Shanghai Dynasty for lunch, after I read a review of the restaurant at Addictive & Consuming.

Since Jeroxie’s review in January the restaurant no longer serves yum cha at lunch. Instead at lunch time they use the dinner menu but offer 20% off the price of all dishes and 30% off the price of all live seafood.

The best way to describe Shanghai Dynasty is to call it the Palazzo Versace of Chinese restaurants. It’s very typical of the big, grand restaurants found in mainland China – all gold leaf, marble, crystal chandeliers, piped classical music and padded chairs the size of thrones.

The reception is manned by two perfectly groomed stewardess and at all times you are served by waiters with the kind of deferential service you expect in expensive restaurants in Asia. According to Footscray Food Blog (who also went for yum cha) the restaurant is an outpost of the original Shanghai Dynasty Cantonese restaurant in Shanghai.

The ostentatious decor and excellent service means that you shouldn’t expect the prices to be cheap. Nevertheless, I think the high quality of the food and attention to detail in the presentation makes the lunchtime offer good value for a very pleasant sit-down meal.

The menu is extensive so I left it to my parents to choose a few dishes to share with rice. First up, a very nicely carved up barbecued squid tube doused ‘supreme sauce’ – a sticky soy glaze reminiscent of teriyaki. The squid was very tender and successfully avoided the rubber-band syndrome.

Our second was a sizzling beef with cute patty-cake corn bread buns. The stir fry was well-seasoned without an obvious hit of MSG and the buns were as pillowy soft as they looked.


The roast duck with glutinous rice was excellent as the duck wasn’t fatty but still very moist and flavoursome, the skin was crispy and the rice crust was properly proportioned in relation to the meat. A unique take on traditional Cantonese roast duck which is worth a return visit.

Our meal, with tea and steamed rice, came to a total of $82 after the lunch discount. While the dishes themselves were not too expensive after 20% off, I did think the tea at $3 a cup and rice at $3 a bowl was a rip off. That’s almost $20 for hot water, a handful of tea leaves (dismissed as weak and poor quality by my mum) and steamed rice!

  • Shanghai Dynasty, 206 Bourke Street, Melbourne +61 3 9663 7770

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