蜀 is a short form for Sichuan, and Shu is all about the Sichuanese food and flavours, though a little toned down for the Collingwood palate.
The dishes at Shu are seasonal and organic where possible. There is no menu, the food you're served is dependent on what's available and what the chef wishes to prepare. And every Wednesday is Vegan Wednesday at Shu, where you can get a 12 dish vegan banquet for $40; and so, having only found out of its existence less than 48 hours earlier, this is what Cindy and Michael, Hayley and myself decided to do this Wednesday past.
We started with four individual portion dishes: house made tofu with cinnamon-infused soy sauce and a rocket flower (cold); purple carrots with house made pickled chilli and borage (the purple carrot was raw and thinly sliced so it became a sort of plate) (cold); daikon roll with enoki, zucchini flower and cucumber (cold); tofu, soybean and sesame dumplings.
I was especially taken with the cinnamon-infused soy sauce and the house made tofu: the flavours were mild enough to really appreciate the loveliness of the tofu, but I loved the delicate cinnamon-ness of the soy sauce.
It's good that three of these dishes were cold and therefore we didn't have to eat them in a hurry; four bloggers at a table meant it took approximately a million years to photograph and take notes.
This was followed by a mizuna, pickled cucumber and trumpet mushroom salad, and a cashew, kale, broccoli tops and garlic shoot salad. Later in the evening, when yet another greens dish came out (broccoli and cauliflower, this time), this started becoming all a bit overwhelming, but at this point I loved the broccoli top and garlic shoot salad, it had a beautiful light flavour and the garlic shoots were excellent.
We also saw dishes with eggplant with broad beans, chilli (lots), calendula and onion; fried tofu with bean shoots and nasturtiums (not spicy at all); and tofu with wild coriander (kind of mapo doufu-y but sad lack of mala).
We ended with unanimously the greatest dishes of the evening. Dish number 11 was individual portions of fresh noodles, served with asparagus, preserved gailan and a walnut infused oil. This had a lovely flavour, maybe there was sichuan chilli in it (but if so only mildly), and I could definitely have kept on eating these noodles and I'm glad it's not a seasonal dish because I want to eat it again.
The final dish was potatoes in a whole lot of spices. Not necessarily hot spicy but my word was it delicious, and I happily ate the last remaining potato in the bowl.
The repetition of the green-ness is obviously a restriction of the seasonal element of Shu's menu - though I do not at all criticise them for it - Rebecca and Shu go out to a farm to pick the ingredients every Wednesday and it's all a bit fun. I love the variety of it and the surprise as well, the flavours were lovely (though I could have used some more spiciness, and we'd been warned it was spicy and this was a lie~).
I wasn't stuffed full by the end, which was a little disappointment (we walked to Berrissimo for desserts), since I'm used to having too much to eat at a Chinese banquet.
I will very cheerfully visit again. I hope there are more adventures in delicious carbs.
The service was lovely though disclaimer: Rebecca knew who we all were. The lighting was dim and there was a step going in. I didn't check out the toilets, but Michael broke them so look out for that.
147 Johnston Street