In Brisbane there are Chinese restaurants and then there is Madame Wu – a world of sensational regional Chinese food, spectacular views and modern Asian meets world of Suzy Wong decor.
Located on the top of the Riparian Plaza, the sizable venue seats up to 200, but feels a whole lot more intimate with the dining room and bar divided into nooks and cosy sections. A vintage gramophone sits perched on the bar (with a stack of 78s ready to play), and ornate beaded and fringed Oriental lamps add a touch of old world opulence.
Outside is an angular terrace with Story Bridge views while inside the action centres around a stunning concrete tree sculpture, that is contained behind glass, surrounded by wraparound casual dining benches and stools (for those who drop in for a quick bite).
Another feature is the walk-in wine room, with diners invited to wander in and choose their own wines, with a waiter on hand to assist. Out back there’s also an elegant function room perfect for private dinner parties or gatherings.
But it’s the food which makes Madame Wu a standout – the menu features contemporary Chinese cuisine, by chef Brendan Baker (ex-Noosa) who, having travelled extensively throughout China, has come up with his own representations of the regional cuisines, underpinned with top Australian produce.
Dumplings, which are amongst the best you’ll find, come with fillings like wagyu with Jerusalem artichoke puree and chive oil or the must-try Pan fried Scallop Dumplings with verjus butter and black tobiko.
Entrees include delectable choices like Oysters grilled with XO sauce or Tang Sui Chicken wings or Raw Yellow Fin & Kim Chi Salad with Crips Lotus. (Unlike standard Oz Chinese many of these dishes are spicy, a welcome change).
Mains are divided into Seafood, Poultry, Beef, Pork and Rice or Noodles and from the options available, highly recommended is the (spicy) Crispy Pork Hock, stir-fried kimchi and apple, the Chinese Roasted Duck (house specialty) and Piju Ju Snapper, Guilin style in Tsingtao beer. The latter is derived from a popular tourist dish in some regions, where fish is steamed in beer rather than water due to beer being much cheaper.
Diners at Madame Wu can also partake in a choice of 2 banquets (ranging from $60pp to $80pp*) both of which have a comprehensive ranges of dishes on board.
Meanwhile from the bar there’s an extensive cocktail list to choose from (signature cocktail is the Lotus Blossom – a heady mix of Remy Martin, cucumber, mint, ginger and lemongrass), as well as spirits and beers that include Tsingtao, Asahi and Sapporo.
Need to know: While lunch finishes at 3pm daily, the restaurant remains open for drinks until dinner at 5.30
* At time of writing in June 2014 these prices were correct.
Upper Plaza Level
71 Eagle St