Jolin Shanghai Restaurant, Mt Eden, Auckland

The first thing that most people think of when Shanghainese food is mentioned is xiao long bao, otherwise known as soup dumplings. This is the main reason that Dumpling Club visited. But before we get to the food, it’s worth noting that the décor at Jolin Shanghai is more upmarket than most Chinese restaurant that make up the Dominion food mile. But least you worry this is posh eating, the service is as brusque as you would find at any of the other Dominon Rd stalwarts.

Jolin Shanghai serves two types of soup dumplings, the wrapped steamed dumpling variety (xiao long bao, $8) and the bun type, which are steamed and then fried (shengjian mantou, on the menu as deep-fried pork bun $9). The xiao long bao suffer the usual too-thick wrapper syndrome. The buns were a delight, soft buns, encasing savoury pork mince in soup (watch out, these are hot), with a crispy sesame seed base.

The fried rice cakes with pork and Chinese vegetables ($10) were quite plain, and a touch too oily. I usually cook these for longer in some water to soften them more.

We shared a huge bowl of spicy pork in noodle soup ($8). The pork was not as spicy as I expected, and the soy-flavoured soup was delicious.

The braised tofu dish was again lacking in depth of flavour, though you certainly cannot gripe about the serving size. It was massive.

To finish the meal, we indulged in deep-fried bun ($5), which are soft sweet buns deep-fried until the outside is golden and comes served with sweet condensed milk. I’ve had better versions, as you need fresh buns to make them addictive, and these had a somewhat stale texture, and an oily feel to them.

While the lunch menu at Jolin was a mixed lot, I would certainly come back to Jolin if only for those fantastic fried pork buns. The dinner menu is a lot more substantial (if you think the 50-odd items on the lunch menu is limiting), and shows a great deal of promise.

Jolin Shanghai Restaurant
248 Dominion Road
Ph: 09-631 5575
Open 7 days: 11am – 10pm

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