We’ve all got that one friend in our group, the “in-the-know organiser”. The one who everyone looks to for hot new restaurant recommendations and to make a booking for the next group dinner. I am that friend. As the years roll on your catch up group grows. Everyone starts partnering up and some start having mini-me’s running around. And hence the pressure builds to pick the right place.
So it’s no surprise that a huge smile crept across my face as I walked into Lotus Restaurant & Dumplings at The Galeries. With just one quick look around I identified this as “the next place”. And that was before the food or drinks had even arrived.
The new big sister to Lotus Dumpling Bar in Walsh Bay (it is a hefty 260 seater compared to the original’s modest 48 seats), oozes cool. Designed by DS17, the team who designed Greek hot-spot Alpha and its soon-to-open Beta Bar, every item in the restaurant is a thoughtful piece of a beautiful puzzle. From the dramatic floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Queen Victoria Building to the ceramic bowls that adorn each table.
If you are like my friends and I, who tend to become rather loud and “merry” when catching-up, a particularly good aspect of the new restaurant are it’s private rooms. In addition to the various parts of the restaurant that can be sectioned-off to cater for your group, there are three separate areas of different sizes and colour palettes in which you can enjoy each others’ company without worrying about the other diners.
The food and drinks on offer at Lotus Restaurant & Dumplings live up to the high expectations set by the surroundings. For starters, there are (of course) the dumplings that Lotus is famous for – all hail the steamed clear pastry sui mai with fresh scallop. Bring on the crispy skin duck pancakes with sweet miso and cucumber, a contemporary take on a traditional classic. Next we are interested in the inventive new dishes – shout out to the crystal ice plant salad with cucumber, enoki and black vinegar dressing.
This approach of mixing the old with new, the familiar with the more obscure, continues into the mains. The much-loved crispy eggplant with honey and sesame from Walsh Bay is also on offer at The Galeries, alongside steamed fish fillet with ginger and shallots and wok-fried wallaby rump with sweet bean paste and salt bush. Wash it all down with one of Lotus’ fresh cocktails or extensive range of teas and finish off with deep-fried sticky rice balls with sesame and chocolate and you have a meal to remember.
The only pressure on you now is who you choose to invite along.
Lotus Restaurant & Dumplings
The Galeries Level 1,
500 George Street
Sydney NSW 2000