Lunch: Daily 11.30am ý 3pm Dinner: Daily 5.30pm ý late
AE MC V eftpos
Cost range :
$60 (per head for 3 courses plus coffee)
Restaurant rating :
The Hu Tong restaurants have earned a reputation for dumplings and Shanghainese food you'd supposedly find in the hu tong , or laneways, of that city. East, their latest venue on the top block of Little Collins Street, transforms a raw concrete semi-industrial space into a relaxed, casual diner. The dining is split between bar-high tables and traditional seating, depending on whether you're in for a quick bite or a leisurely meal. It's smart, it's modern, but it's comfortable. This menu has a lot more than the Shanghai base of the Hu Tongs, casting a broader net over the complexity of regional Chinese cuisines. Dumplings remain a strong point, both Shanghai and Cantonese, but there is much more on offer without overextending the kitchen with the far-too-frequent encyclopedic Chinese menu. Flavours are clean and fresh, and spice is rarely challenging ... even seemingly daunting Szechuan and Hunnan dishes are toned down for western palates; fish swimming in a bath of chillis is only hot if you delve into the chillis themselves. Service is friendly and helpful, and it's a good place for a quick pre-theatre meal if you advise staff your time constraints.
WINE : Where many Asian restaurants fail badly, East has a short, sharp list of interest and decent value.