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By Dining Dave Instagram @diningdave on January 17, 2017 in Food

Photo: Grant Brooks

Photo: Grant Brooks

Randwick now has an elegant Asian-fusion restaurant where freshness, quality and stunning presentation are central to the experience.

Zhu Canton is no ordinary restaurant, so of course it is not in an ordinary location; you’ll find it taking up the entire third floor of the Randwick Club (formerly the Randwick Labor Club) on Alison Road. Take the lift up and you’ll find a stunningly large hall with a contemporary Asian decor that includes a bar area, main dining room, side rows of tables and a few private dining suites.

Graciously led to our table by restaurant manager Keith Wang, he explained that Zhu Canton has four dim sum chefs ready to create and deliver freshly prepared dumplings, and that procedurally it’s best to order three dishes at a time staggered by five minutes to maximise the flow of the meal. Zhu Canton is designed for groups, or for at least two people, with a strong emphasis on sharing. Our group of four seemed like the perfect size for the experience.

Unlike the yum cha you’ll find in the CBD’s Chinatown, the dumplings at Zhu Canton are made to order rather than being cooked in bulk in advance and delivered around the hall on trolleys. This approach ensures that the dumplings are fresh out of the kitchen. The difference showed once we were bombarded with bamboo steamers containing our first course, the ‘Zhu Dim Sum Mix’, made up of six of their favourite dumplings including combinations of prawn, spinach, caviar, vegetables, chicken soup and pork, all wrapped up either in rice or flour dough.

Quality doesn’t lie, and whether you dunk the morsels soy, vinegar or chilli sauce, they will most certainly light your mouth up.

The next round of delights to greet us included serves of steamed pork buns and baked pork buns (if you have to choose, choose the baked buns), before the real eye-pleasers arrived: deep-fried taro dumplings (prawn, cheese, egg, taro, salty duck egg in fried rice dough), which looked like a bird’s nest with a tiny egg peeking through; and manga dumplings (sweet corn, carrot, Chinese cabbage, celery, king oyster and Chinese mushroom in fried flour dough), which looked like a small hedgehog, complete with two little black eyes made of poppy seeds.

After a dumpling recovery period, out came the mains including wild deep-fried ‘squirrel-shaped’ barramundi (a whole fish in a squirrel-like position with tail and head up), a full plate of sautéed crispy skin eggplant covered in sesame seeds, and crispy skin duck with red pepper, wok-fried mushrooms and asparagus spears. Zhu Canton’s fusion approach to its dishes really does stand up.

For dessert, Keith amazed us again, bringing out three creations that looked as impressive as they tasted. The mango pancake rolls filled with fresh cream were simply delightful, while the freshly baked egg custard tarts were light and refreshing. The visual standout was a three-layer creation of watermelon, coconut jelly and osmanthus-infused jelly sprinkled with red and yellow flower petals.

Overall, Zhu Canton brings to Randwick an Asian culinary experience that needs to be shared, not just by Randwick residents, but by anyone who is hungry for something exotic, affordable and delicious.

Zhu Canton

Address Level 3, The Randwick Club, 135 Alison Road, Randwick
Phone (02) 9399 4188
Instagram @zhucanton
Open Tues – Sun, 11am-10pm (Dim Sum until 8pm)
Price $20-$50 per person
Cards Accepted All major
Licensed Yes