From humble beginnings selling tea out of barrels on Cecil Place in Prahran, Shanghai-born David Zhou went on to open a quaint herbal teashop that soon became David’s restaurant in 1998. David’s expanded their menu quickly, introducing Long Jing green tea sautéed shrimps and tonic soups laced with goji berries and ginseng.
Much like the Chinese proverb: if you polish a metal bar long enough it becomes a needle, the experience had at David’s has continually been finessed to keep Zhou’s vision of Shanghai cuisine alive and thriving.
To celebrate the 20-year milestone, David’s will be hosting 20 Years of David’s, a special two-part event series that kicks off with a party on Wednesday 12th September.
This first party features a grand feast of 100kg of seafood, 100 bottles of wine, with of course100 guests. Queensland King prawns, crispy soft-shell crabs, Pacific oysters and flavoursome Spring Bay mussels will be served with wine flowing from Yering Station and live music.
The second party celebrates a new era of dining: Two Decades of Decadence will take place on Wednesday 17th October with a special nine-course degustation that pays homage to signature dishes from the past, present and future.
Guests will be re-acquainted with double boiled duck tonic soup and 8-treasure duck wrapped in sticky rice: two dishes that have been unseen from David’s menu for years. The ever-popular Shanghai sticky pork belly will also be on offer, as well as other exciting new dishes that will be making their culinary debut.
Founder and owner David Zhou’s philosophy is simple: “David’s was inspired by family; our wholesome fare combines traditional dishes with contemporary tastes. Our food shares my journey from Shanghai to Melbourne. It’s my family’s story. Recipes of dishes cooked by my grandmother and mother were passed down. These dishes are replicated at David’s; when you dine here, we want you to feel at home.”
Image: Childhood photos including Zhou’s Mother – a renowned operatic actress at the time
The first renovation highlighted the 1930’s grandeur of the Shanghai fine dining era. Well-known dishes like the 8 Treasure Duck and Signature Pork Knuckle became local favourites at the time. A complete revamp in 2012 by Hecker Guthrie saw photos of Zhou’s childhood highlighted on the white-painted timber walls. The effect is reminiscent of a Shanghai river house; revealing its heritage in the abundance of light by day, transforming into a bustling hot spot by night.
David’s is a contemporary restaurant that challenges Cantonese-dominated Chinese cuisine with their unique adaptation of Shanghainese country food.
Inspired by Zhou’s hometown Zhouzhuang, a water village in which his family’s recipes originated, David’s continues to put tradition on the table through innovation and a refusal to follow trends.
20 Years of David’s Series
100kg Seafood. 100 Bottles. 100 Guests.
Wednesday 12th September, 7pm
$98 per person
Two Decades of Decadence – more details to come
Wednesday 17th October, 7pm
**Information and Images Courtesy of David’s/Supplied by Zilla & Brook – Leigh-Anne Ramirez
The Australia Times News
Editor GOURMET – Food/Wine/Events
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