There’s a new player on the scene in the District Dining precinct above Chatswood station called General Chao. Menu-wise it fits in with the rest of the contemporary Asian offering in the rest of the precinct, but still stands out in its own way with bold murals splashed over its stylish bar.
The restaurant itself is tucked behind the other side of the bar away from the food court area, and is quite spacious with modern decor and private dining rooms as well.
We started off with some refreshing cocktails from the bar (the exotic Paplaya with apple brandy, papaya shrub and sparkling wine was our pick of the bunch) before moving onto the entrees which showcased their range of pan-Asian flavours.
Paplaya Cocktail, $22
First up was the Prawn Toast, with the delicious prawn mousse filling sandwiched between two slices of crispy thin toast. Served with an addictive spicy XO mayonnaise, this gourmet rendition is nothing like what you see at yum cha.
Prawn Toast, $14.5
Next, we sampled the interesting Jasmine Tea Smoked Duck Dumplings paired with an intriguing Illawarra plum sauce. The unexpected combination of strong flavours and textures worked for these tasty morsels.
Jasmine Tea Smoked Duck Dumplings, $10.5
Our last starter was the Crispy Pork Crackling Salad – a great choice even for those who aren’t quite “friends with salad”, the satisfying crunch of the perfectly done crackling keeps things fun and the punchy nam jim dressing elevates the mix of green apple, pineapple, fragrant herbs and crispy lettuce.
Crispy Pork Crackling Salad, $24
For our mains, we each got our own serving of their Singapore Chilli Blue Swimmer Crab which was presented in a somewhat deconstructed form – featuring crispy crab claws, paired with a flavourful Singapore Chilli sauce on the side for you to dip to your heart’s content. We also enjoyed the aromatic fried crab rice that came with it – full of garlicky flavours, just the way we like it.
Singapore Chilli Blue Swimmer Crab (MP)
The other more substantial plate we had was their Master 24 Hour Braised Pork Belly – while the meat didn’t fall apart as easily as we thought it would after 24 hours of braising, the master stock broth was very rich and we liked the juicy shiitake mushrooms which came with it.
Master 24 Hour Braised Pork Belly, $42
To cap off our meal with a sweet treat, we tried their Petit Shanghai Banana – an unconventional dessert featuring banana wrapped in crispy egg noodles and drizzled with sticky coffee caramel. It also came with a side of strongly flavoured stem ginger ice cream – the jury was out on our table as to whether this combo of ingredients worked for everyone’s palate.
Petit Shanghai Banana, $14
The upmarket General Chao is a welcome addition to the District Dining precinct, injecting some flair into the Asian dining options available in Chatswood. We like that there’s the option of bar snacks and cocktails on offer as well at their glamorous bar area, for those who feel like something a bit lighter and more casual than their full scale restaurant menu.
Excuse Me Waiter dined as guests of General Chao
District Dining, 436 Victoria Ave, Chatswood NSW 2067
Phone: (02) 9411 7977