Authentic Chinese fare hidden away from the hubbub of Chapel Street.
Caterina Hrysomallis and Gary Brun
November 01, 2023


Tucked away from the mayhem that is Chapel Street, is David's — a Melbourne BYO restaurant with seriously good Chinese food.

Shanghai-born David Zhou set up the restaurant, creating a menu using recipes favoured by his ancestors. The dishes are inspired by those of Zhouzhuang — a town about 85 kilometres west of Shanghai famous for its many canals.

The menu is monstrous — we're not going to lie, it's overwhelming. So we'll break it down for you. It's made up of six sections; starters, something more, dumplings, greens, side staples and something sweet.

Sharing is an integral part of Chinese cuisine, and before you freak out at having to go with other people's options, know that it's hard to go wrong with any of the choices at David's. What makes the food so spectacular is its preservation of authenticity. No lemon chicken in sight here.

We suggest starting with some barbecue pork buns or some oysters with soy and finger lime caviar. Chase it up with some steamed whole barramundi with ginseng soy. And if there's one thing the Chinese do incredibly well, it's eggplant. Try the sweet and chunky sweet vinegar eggplant with sliced garlic.

You'll also need some rice. Chinese eating tip: eat rice at the end of the meal to wash down the rest of the food consumed, and to rejuvenate your palate. This advice is imperative if you're planning on having dessert.

To drink, there's everything from spirits and wine to premium green and jasmine lychee tea.

The restaurant is housed in a beautiful, high-ceilinged building completed with white timber and white walls. It's tricky to guess that it's a Chinese restaurant just from walking in, until you see the navy blue flashes from the Chinese crockery when you take a seat.


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