Christmas/New Year is a time of celebration, especially with several of the interstate Benny clan coming together in Melbourne. In search of a quick and tasty lunch, and with a vegetarian in tow, The Movie Star suggested a place that she had enjoyed on previous business trips to Melbourne. She couldn’t remember the name, but she knew how to get there…
It turned out to be ShanDong Mama in the Mid City Arcade. The décor is best described as ‘anonymous food court’ – brightly lit with plenty of exposed timber in the furniture and walls, but without any distinguishing features. It created an expectation of cheap and cheerful with fast service. After a quick check of the menu for vegetarian-friendly fare we settled into a comfy booth to make our selections.
There was only one vegetarian dumpling – Zucchini vegan – so that was our first choice, followed by wasabi spinach and sweet and sour cucumber. The zucchini dumplings were quite good, with a good thin skin and tasty filling, albeit just a little watery.
Both the wasabi spinach and sweet and sour cucumber were only side dishes, but had reasonable flavour and texture. Big Bro, however, declared that they could easily have been a lot better – for example the cucumber was a bit soft and seemed to have been made in bulk and stored, to be ladled out when required. Freshly prepared to order, the cucumber would have been crisp, and the flavours much fresher, giving a greatly improved eating experience.
Bigger Bro was in the mood for hot and sour soup, and I’m glad he was, because it proved to be the highlight of the meal (see first pic). A generous serve with good depth of flavour in the broth and just the right amount of hot and sour overtones to stimulate the taste buds.