Shu Restaurant, Collingwood

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MELBOURNE| Shu Restaurant opened at the quiet end of Johnston Street in Collingwood back in 2012 and has been a constant work of refinement since. Owner Shu Liu opened Shu with the aim of putting his own unique spin on Sichuan cooking and to this day, there’s still nothing quite like it in Melbourne.

It’s hard not to notice the restaurant from the street, with white walls, a pink glow, and splashes of colour drawing the eye. Walk inside and you’re transported to a space that feels early 1990s Manhattan fashion art loft popup. It’s unlike any dining space we’ve seen in Melbourne and a representation of Shu’s own personality. There’s vinyl records, twisted colourful clothes hangers, cages, cups with red lip transfers, concrete, brick, metal, wires – a real mish mash. Music is at a volume that is conducive to conversation, and fits with the late night vibe of the venue.

We spoke to Lui when we were invited to diner here, and he told us that his aim with Shu is to provide a space that people want to spend time in. This isn’t the place for a quick meal, with the majority of diners going for either the meat or vegan 10 course degustation options. The food stays true to Sichuan flavours and traditions, but incorporates ethically sourced, seasonal Victorian produce across dishes that span from home style delicacies to experimental creations. The pacing of service is purposefully slow (perhaps a tad too slow) and designed to provoke contemplation and conversation.

The food at Shu might be experimental but it is very much recognisable as Sichuan, with many dishes exhibiting that wonderful interplay between spicy chilli and numbing Sichuan peppers. Liu’s enthusiasm for the food and his restaurant was apparent every time he spoke to us and explained the dishes. We sampled items from both the meant and vegan menus, and were very impressed by what we tried. Sometimes the meat option stood out as a highlight while other times it was the vegan choice that took that cake. Highlights include the vegan herb roll, fried tofu and chestnuts in pickled chilli broth, and the egg noodles with pork mince, walnut oil and crushed peanuts. We also love the ‘garden’ course which comes beautifully presented with veal wontons, dumplings, tofu, and fried chicken.

For drinks, there’s a great selection of local and imported wines, and local craft and non-craft beer options. Unfortunately there’s no cocktail menu or spirits offering, which is a shame as we’d love to see what innovative cocktails could be created to match with the exciting food.

For those who don’t want to go the degustation route there’s a page of small ‘street food’ snacks and more substantial dishes too but we highly recommend the degustation. At $55 for the vegan option and $65 for the meat option it’s fantastic value and a unique journey across an assortment of dishes that you won’t find elsewhere in Melbourne.

Shu Restaurant

147 Johnston Street
Collingwood
Victoria 3066
Australia

Telephone: (03) 9090 7878
E-mail: [email protected]
Website

Open
Tue – Fri: 6:00pm to 10:00pm
Sat: 6:00pm to 11:00pm

Shu Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Paul
Paul
Paul founded The City Lane back in 2009 as a place to share photos of his travels around Europe with friends and family. The City Lane might have changed quite a lot since those early days but one thing that’s remained constant is Paul’s passion for food, travel and culture, and a desire to photograph and write about his experiences. Paul has a strong inquisitive nature that drives him to look beneath the surface in order to discover what really makes a city and its people tick, and what better way to do this than over a good meal or drink, with a city’s locals, at places that people who live in that city actually frequent. Paul is also a co-host of The Brunswick Beer Collective, a podcast that may or may not actually be about beer.

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