Walking into the restaurant located at Sheraton Melbourne Hotel on Little Collins Street guests are greeted with a calming Jade interior that creates a sense of ease. Once seated and ready to peruse the menu the array of dishes that are designed to share leaves you instantly picking favourites to suggest to your dining companion.
The menu features a delicious array of options courtesy of recently appointed head chef Gang Qian, known as Ben, who has previously worked at the Radisson Blu Plaza Xingguo Hotel in Shanghai – a restaurant that only serves two tables per day, in which usually sit presidents, government officials, and royalty on various occasions.
We loved eating our way through the menu.
To start, a selection of signature HuTong group dim sums are a must-have. While many Chinese restaurants serve dumplings, EAST’s variety are a cut above. Their Xiao Long Bao in particular impressed. The allure of these dumplings lie in their gracefully delicate pastry skin enveloping rich pork-seasoned broth.
Usefully, EAST’s staff are on hand to provide instructions on the recommended steps for consuming the Xiao Long Bao – steps which involve piercing the pastry skin to suck out the broth within and then subsequently flavouring the remaining pastry and minced pork dumpling with black vinegar and shredded ginger. These soupy morsels may demand more effort than your run-of-the-mill pork dumpling, but we assure you will be rewarded.
An absolute show stopper was the premium steamed black truffle juicy pork dumplings. The steamed pork dumplings were infused with shaved truffle and truffle oil and tasted nothing short of amazing. It was a decadent dumpling with fragrant aromas.
For mains the Slow Cooked Shanghainese Lamb with Sweet Soy Sauce and Tea Smoked Duck were lovely.
The Shanghainese Lamb was beautifully tender and full of flavour while the dish of Fragrant & Crispy Duck with Steamed Bun had us fighting for the last morsel. The fluffy and moist buns were a lovely canvas for the velvety duck flesh and its perfectly crisp skin.
For dessert, EAST’s take on the traditional fried ice cream was delicious. The ice cream was coated in a crisp coconut and bread crumb coating that was ethereally light. It was a pleasant end to our meal.
To match, the beverage menu at EAST is a well curated list. There is a diverse selection of cocktails that are refreshingly inventive. Think the Red Ginger made with white rum, lime juice, sugar syrup, fresh strawberry, mint leaves that are pummeled together and topped with ginger ale or for something creamier the Peanut Butter Mudslide made with vodka, baileys, Kahlua and peanut butter that are shaken together and twirled with cream. There are a number of beers on the menu, both Australian and imported, and a diverse wine list.
If you are after something more traditional EAST also serve premium Chinese tea with flavours including the delicate and slightly floral Chrysanthemum tea, Tai Hu Green Bamboo tea which is perfect to assist in energising you post meal, and the Rose Flower tea that is a great choice if you are wanting to warn off the upcoming flu season as it assists in helping the body fight colds.
Incredibly versatile and exceedingly delicious, EAST is perfect for a business luncheon, after work Chinese tapas with work friends or a weekend dinner with loved ones.