Ahhh Chinese food; the takeaway food of choice for many, laden with heavy sauces, often devoured on the couch whilst wearing sweats or in the back corner your dimly-lit local, right? Wrrrrrong!
Shu Restaurant, borne from a passion for eating healthily and well, is out to change those preconceived notions with its stellar offering of organic Chinese degustation. Yes, that's right – mouth-watering Chinese food made from locally sourced, sustainably grown, seasonal organic produce. More importantly, everything you'll eat is free from nasties and the dreaded MSG!
Based on Johnston Street in Collingwood, Shu Restaurant has been quietly plugging away for just under two years. It was always one of those restaurants I drove past and put on my mental list of 'places to cross the river for' (in addition to organic dishes, they also do a vegan night on Wednesdays AND a dumpling night on Sundays!), so when the opportunity presented itself, I jumped like a crazy woman at the chance.
Upon arrival, we were greeted by a small, unassuming shopfront. Once we stepped inside, though, we found ourselves surrounded by a sense of quirk, a trait that runs through the venue, right through to the food. Beakers as water glasses, metal tabletops, mismatched plates and coloured lights all added to the fun, handcrafted feel. It makes sense really, considering Shu Restaurant's staff, family and friends had a hand in completing the fit-out and interiors, with that same sense of heart and hard work now still clearly evident.
And the food? Ohhhh the food. Quite simply, I was in flavour HEAVEN. The first few dishes, daikon roll with cucumber and herbs, duck and beetroot pancakes, and fish cheeks with chilli sauce, were the perfect small bites. Grilled eggplant with spicy sauce, and warm prawn salad with mint, basil and pomegranate followed – at that point I thought suuuurely it doesn't get better than this, right?
Oh, but it did. The perfectly attentive staff then brought out five spice beef with ginger, chilli and kale (a highlight!), stir fry of green beans, kohlrabi, carrots and diced bacon, and mushrooms with bean shoots, onion and garlic.
Cue top button being undone.
Dessert was of course devoured, and while I sat there savouring the mango and passionfruit sorbet, I couldn't believe that the food we had just eaten was all-organic! Quite the feat considering sourcing some of the ingredients, particularly locally, can often be a challenge.
Overall, I can't recommend Shu Restaurant highly enough. Everything we ate was simple and fresh, but the flavour combos were totally surprising. Team that with tip notch service and, regardless of whether you eat organic or not, a trip to Shu Restaurant is a Melbourne dining must.
Image Credit: Tash Sorensen, The Urban List.