Dumpling masters Lotus Dining have officially joined Barangaroo's waterfront promenade. Now open in The Streets of Barangaroo, the restaurant is Lotus's third Sydney edition and, with 160 seats, its second largest. On the menu is a stack of established favourites as well as a bunch of new, Shanghai-influenced creations, dashed with Australian native ingredients.
Head chef Chris Yan, who was born in Shanghai, is the man behind the helm. "While my food is based on traditional Chinese recipes, many inspired by my grandma, I like to add a little bit of Australia where I can," he said. Among the native flavours, you'll find finger limes, butterfly pea flowers, lemon aspen, cassia bark and crystal ice (yep, it's a plant). You'll even find some of them growing in Lotus Barangaroo's onsite garden.
As you might expect of a harbourside restaurant, the native ingredients are used to dress up ultra-fresh seafood, from Southern rock lobster to Queensland mud crab to Western Australian snow crab. Also worth sampling is the garfish with sticky soy sauce, spring bay mussels braised in Tsingtao beer and an array of inventive dumplings, including spanner crabmeat and prawn, chicken siu mai and steamed pork wontons with sesame paste and black mushrooms.
When your sweet cravings hit, you'll be turning to desserts made by pastry chef Tiffany Jones (The Pastry Project). Standouts include 'Ma fleur de Lotus' (yuzu and chrysanthemum cheesecake with coconut ice cream and coconut meringue crisps) and 'Passionfruit picked from the vine' (a super Heston Blumenthal-like passionfruit ice cream with a salted vanilla marshmallow centre and passionfruit skin glaze).
Brilliant sommelier Annette Lacey (Pei Modern, Marque, Claude's) is taking care of the wine list. Prepare for aromatic drops — both Aussie and international — to match Lotus's spicy palette. Meanwhile, Kate McGraw is on the cocktails, with offerings like the summery Boardwalk Spritz (Cocchi Rosa, plum, jasmine infused honey, grapefruit soda) and the Napoleon (sesame washed Cognac, Laphroaig, Carpano Antica, wattleseed, house-made black sesame bitters).
The large space gives you plenty of choice, when it comes to setting — whether you're into water frontage or laneway intimacy. The interior, designed by Paul Papadopoulos of dynamo Australian team DS17 (Alpha, Beta Bar, Bel + Brio), is relaxed and neutral, dressed in cane, white and navy with splashes of black.
Lotus is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner.