Mama Mulan has landed in Chatswood, serving up flavour that will wok you.
As you jostle through the crowds at Chatswood Interchange don’t be deceived by Google Maps, which will lead you astray on your dumpling quest. Located on Level 1, The Concourse, Chatswood (above Willoughby City Library), roosts the newly opened Shandong-style restaurant, Mama Mulan.
Entering Mama Mulan, you feel immediately warmed by the sand-coloured walls, natural timber tabletops and soft mellow lighting that beams from black geometric fixtures. Interior design specialist, Paul Papadopoulos from DS17 has created a harmonious balance between traditional and modern Chinese décor. The restaurant is by no means small, seating up to 180 people and boasting three private function rooms. Often with such a large restaurant, the atmosphere can feel sparse, however the vibe at Mama Mulan’s is buzzing with large groups of families and friends dotted around the room.
Once you have marvelled at the sheer size and grandiose design, settle into your seat with a light aromatic cocktail designed by David Stewart (ex. Sofitel). The Mama Mulan cocktail ($18.50) combines Paraiso lychee liquor, vodka O, martini bianco, lychee and lemon juice to create a sweet citrus explosion. Apart from cocktails, the drinks menu compiles wines and beers from all over the world that compliment Chinese cuisine. The 2017 Pewsey Vale Riesling from Eden Valley, SA ($45 per bottle) matches up perfectly against the notes of chilli that you are bound to encounter throughout your meal.
Head Chef, Marble Ng (ex. Lotus and Chefs Gallery) has created an extensive share-plate style menu, featuring hand-pulled noodles, made to order dumplings and a live seafood section. After carefully reviewing the vast array of options, we started with succulent Peking Duck Pancakes ($22) and juicy Pork Xiao Long Bao dumplings ($10.50). A bamboo steam basket revealed four plump dumplings that lightly jiggled as warm liquid sloshed within their delicate wrapping. As to be expected with Xiao Long Bao (commonly known as soup dumplings), they burst in our mouths releasing a moreish salty pork broth.
Peking Duck Pancakes are a staple on Northern-style Chinese menus. Hence, they are a good benchmark for weeding out subpar quality. Too often duck pancakes are greasy, drowning in hoisin and scarce on a vital ingredient – the duck. It was delighting to find that Mama Mulan’s Peking Duck Pancakes were none of those things and replaced the usual slice of cucumber with rockmelon, which added a mellow sweetness that cut through the fatty duck skin.
For main, it was hard to go past Mama Mulan’s Fried Rice ($22), crispy skin chicken with Shandong sauce (26$) and steamed coral trout fillet with lemongrass and ginger ($36). The Mama Mulan Fried Rice mixes asparagus, baby corn, snow peas, coriander, spring onion, egg and wagyu beef – covered in subtly spicy XO sauce. Each ingredient was perfectly cooked and the baby corn added a textured crunch to the softness of egg and mouth melting wagyu beef.
As for the crispy skin chicken with Shandong sauce, it certainly packed a chilli garlic kick and sits next to a bed of crispy kale flakes that dissolve in the mouth. While, the steamed coral trout was a delicate dish of fleshy white fish glistening as it bathed in an aromatic bisque of lemongrass and ginger.
Due to a crippling inability to decide, we finished the meal with Mama Mulan’s collaboration with Sydney Food Truck, Duo Duo – Salted Caramel Deep-Fried Ice Cream ($13.50) and Steamed Milk Custard Brulee ($10.50) with milk, egg white, condensed milk and coconut cream.
While both were delicious, it was hard to go past the decadent deep-fried ice cream, with vanilla bean ice cream encased in a warm crispy panko crumb, sea salt caramel sauce and topped with crunchy butterscotch popcorn. The very description gives me goose bumps and sends my mouth pooling in salivation.
A large part of Chinese culture is feeling part of a community. The share-plate menu combined with the warming interior design and grandiose restaurant size makes Mama Mulan embody this very notion. So gather your friends and family around one of their Lazy Susans and enjoy a feast at Mama Mulan.
Check out the full menu here, or head to the website for more information.
Level 1, The Concourse, Chatswood NSW 2067, (02) 9157 1488
Open Lunch: Daily – 11:30am – 3:00pm, Dinner: Monday – Saturday: 5:30pm – 10:00pm. Sunday – 5:30pm – 9:00pm