Celebrating 20 years, highly acclaimed David’s is a true Melbourne culinary institution. This degree of success would leave most restaurant owners content, but David Zhou (the man behind David's) continuously refreshes and reinvents his pride and joy.
From humble beginnings, David’s is today a contemporary restaurant that challenges Cantonese dominated Chinese cuisine through its unique style of Shanghainese country food. The food is inspired by David’s hometown Zhouzhuang, a water village where his family’s recipes originated.
The design of David's is clean, simple and honest, with white dominating the colour scheme. In the centre of the split level dining room sits a wooden "station" that holds, amongst other things, extra bowls, napkins and cutlery that diners are free to help themselves to. This station is designed to make patrons feel like they are at home by having the option to help themselves, or their fellow dining companions, to anything extra they might require.
We opted to leave our dining experience in the capable hands of restaurant manager, Christine. This was a decision we did not come to regret. Every dish was elegant and retained authentic Shanghainese flavours even where it had been tweaked and modernised.
To start we loved the Harvey Bay Scallops from the Fishermans Catch menu. Exceedingly fresh and plump scallops were served with garlic, soy and oyster sauce atop slippery mung bean vermicelli.
To follow, the dish of Shanghai pork and spinach wonton is an absolute must-have. Each dumpling had gracefully delicate pastry skin enveloping rich and tasty fillings and was served in a sea of umami-laden sesame, peanut, vinegar and chilli soy sauce dressing. Just yum!
Our favourite dish from our visit graced our presence next - Crab and asparagus in rice noodles. A thoroughly modern interpretation of the humble rice noodle, this dish allowed the natural sweetness of the crab and asparagus to shine through with the accompanying ginger soy broth and coriander peanut pesto cleverly enhancing and supporting the key elements.
For mains the Golden eye-fillet with sweet potato, ginko, pomegranate, ginger and soy was incredibly addictive. This dish strikes a truly moreish balance between sweet and savoury, and was particularly gratifying when eaten with David’s Very special fried rice.
The humble side dish of Shanghainese bamboo shoots and king oyster mushroom wok tossed in oyster sauce is also worth a mention. Far from being just a side dish, denied due love and attention, this was a stunning dish that heroes the texture of the bamboo shoot.
On the desserts front, we tried 2 of David’s latest sweet additions - The Chocolate, banana and peanut spring rolls served with vanilla bean ice cream and Star anise pannacotta with spiced pineapple salad. Both absolutely delicious and showcased the kitchen’s versatility.
Overall, David's restaurant is wonderful for Chinese cuisine and it is no wonder that this eatery is so highly regarded. David Zhou's pursuit of constant improvement and reinvention will ensure that David's remains one of Melbourne's premier Chinese restaurants for many years to come.
Location: 4 Cecil Pl, Prahran
Phone: 03 9529 5199