Friday, September 10, 2010

Xintiandi on Francis Street

There are many Chinese restaurants around town. It's a popular cuisine. Many people like to have when they dine out or get take away. But the fact of the matter is that many Chinese restaurants actually serve pretty average food. 

Why is this the case? 

In my opinion, it’s because one of their main target markets are Westerners and ‘gwai los’ know shit all about Chinese food so you can feed them anything. I think this is probably why a lot of international cuisines served in restaurants are below par/watered down versions of authentic dishes…but it takes two to tango…it amazes me when I see restaurants which serve crap food actually have customers…I guess some (most?) people don’t care about how something tastes or what goes into their mouth…hmm this would also explain the phenomenon of fast food.

My dad is a chef so I’ve grown up with great tasting authentic Chinese food. I don’t often eat out at Chinese restaurants, there are very few Chinese restaurants around town that my family thinks is worthy.

When you are a chef and you earn your living cooking all day and night, it’s understandable that one of the most rewarding things for my dad is not having to cook. For Father’s day I decided to take my dad out for dinner. It’s always a hard choice deciding where to eat. 

We were aware that Jade Seafood Chinese Restaurant on 40 Francis Street, Northbridge had recently re-opended again after a complete makeover with a name change to Xintiandi (which means ‘new horizons’ in Chinese) and major refurbishments. The word out on the street was that the owners have hired a chef from Shanghai in order to offer authentic Shanghai/Sichuan cuisine. My family decided to check it out and judge the quality of the food for ourselves.
My family celebrated Father’s day on Monday night as this is the only night that my dad’s restaurant is closed. Chinese food is all about ordering dishes to be shared, between the 5 of us we ordered 8 different dishes, plus steamed rice (my family eats a lot!).

We consumed the following dishes (please note: I can’t remember the exact names of some of the dishes)

Started off with some Shanghai dumplings
Dry fried Sichuan green beans
Braised pork ribs
Seafood claypot (with prawns, scallops, sea cucumber, abalone)
Fried chicken
Fried scallops wrapped with black sesame seeds
Shui zhu - fish boiled in a spicy soup
Roast duck
Finished with dessert of sesame icecream

How was the food? Very good – there was a great selection of dishes to choose from, the food was cooked well and packed flavour. 

There aren’t that many Chinese restaurants that I could give a tick of approval to but I think that Xintiandi deserves praise and I hope people go and check it out.


  1. I used to go to Jade at least 3 times a week when I lived in Australia. Wow they got a make over alright! but I liked the old decor more.

  2. Thanks for this review! Very curious to see if their dim sum is any different, and am now also keen to actually go there for a non-dim sum meal! I have to wonder though, if the GIANT calculator for adding up dishes has also had a makeover :)

  3. Hey Janelle, I agree, they completely changed the decor, it's got a kind of modern fine dining vibe now. I like it, makes you feel like you are in a difference place.

    Hey Conor, I am keen to try out the dim sim there one day to see how it will compare to my fav dim sim place in Perth - Dragon Palace. A non-dim sim meal is good especially if you like hot food because they have a lot of Sichuan dishes to really spice you up! I didn't see the giant calculator, I hope they have kept it!