There’s no doubt that Sydney has been going through a Shanghainese dumpling craze in the past couple of years, with all sorts of restaurants like the famed Din Tai Fung from overseas and local competitors Taste of Shanghai and New Shanghai popping up everywhere. But it’s time for the older players to move over – Lynn offers everything you could possibly want in a dumpling restaurant all in one convenient location close to Town Hall station. They have impeccable service, no ridiculous queues, gorgeous decor and cheap, tasty dumplings in reasonable serving sizes!
For those not in the know, Lynn is a little hard to find as it is tucked inside the Castlereagh Club rather than facing out onto the street but once you walk into the foyer of the Club you will spot the entrance ahead. Lynn also has helpful signage outside on the street to guide people to come inside if you’re having trouble finding it. The decor is very new and best described as contemporary Asian, with funky leather strap chairs and unusually clean cutlery.
The amazing service starts from the beginning – every single one of our 5 different waiters and waitresses was attentive, helpful and took the time to double check orders, clarify the ordering system and have small talk with us etc. It is clear that Lynn is keen to differentiate itself from the apathetic attitudes that a lot of Chinese restaurants have towards service, and this is epitomised by the bubbly floor manager Teresa who comes over to make sure that we’re enjoying our meal every once in awhile.
The menu has the usual Shanghainese suspects – all kinds of dumplings panfried or steamed (pork or with crabmeat) and variations of soup noodles or fried noodles. Their desserts look cute too – we wanted to try their pumpkin lotus seed buns but were too full from our lunchtime picks of the standard xiao long bao (steamed pork dumplings), pan fried pork buns and shallot pancake. You order by noting down your required quantities on the menu notepad and wave over the waiters to take the paper when you’re ready. It’s a fairly efficient system which works for impatient diners like us.
The best part about ordering dumplings in a dumpling restaurant is that our xiao long bao came out roughly 5 minutes after we ordered because the kitchen has been busy churning out these popular little babies. Score! We are keen to get our black chopsticks into these 6 succulent little parcels of pork meat all encased in thinly delicate skins and bursting with soupy goodness. I’m happy to say that Lynn lives up to their claim that they have one of the best xiao long bao in Sydney – even better than Din Tai Fung because they’re cheaper and there’s no crazy long wait for them!
Xiao Long Bao (steamed pork dumplings) – $8.80
You need to be very careful not to break the fragile skin when you pick up the dumpling from the steamer and I find that the best way to eat these delicate dumplings without burning yourself with hot soup oozing out is to poke a small hole in the bottom of the dumpling with your chopstick and let the juices drain out into your spoon, then eat the drained dumpling before drinking the soup from the spoon. You can choose to first dip your dumpling into some vinegar or soy sauce, but I prefer to eat mine without any sauce because it’s so tasty on its own!
After we polish off the dumplings, our shallot pancake comes and my friend happily inhales the scent of freshly fried pancake wafting towards her. It tastes like circular pockets of fried heaven – I’ve had shallot pancakes which have been disappointing (such as the one at New Shanghai) but Lynn does it just as it should taste, with the pastry not being too doughy but light and crunchy, bringing out the strong taste of the shallots.
Shallot Pancake – $6.80
Lastly, out comes the pan fried pork buns all neatly arranged in 2 rows on the plate with black sesame seeds sprinkled on top and also garnished with more chopped shallots. The filling is similar to the xiao long bao but they are wrapped in thicker white pointy buns, with a lightly charred underside where they’ve been fried in the pan and it adds that hint of crispiness to the texture. They are filled with hot soup inside too, so don’t burn yourself and remember to poke a hole and drain the bun first into your spoon before you eat it!
Pan Fried Pork Buns – $10.80
This is another winning dish and rounds off a very satisfying lunchtime, topped off with the revelation that Lynn is extending their opening special discount of 20% off the bill until the end of October. Honestly, an amazing restaurant with fantastic service and delicious food offering so much value for money. It’s rare to find a restaurant that ticks all my boxes and we will most definitely be back for more lunchtimes!
199 Castlereagh Street
Sydney NSW 2000
Open Monday – Saturday 11am-9.30pm