At Papa Bo Min, the focus is on lighter, healthier Chinese dishes, so you don't end up as a food coma victim by your meal's end.
The latest venture by the Lotus Dining group – the dumpling kingpins behind Lotus venues at Walsh Bay, Galeries Victoria and Barangaroo – is a casual eatery next to the Grosvenor Place fountain in the CBD. At launch, there was a san choy bao you could stuff with green apple, zucchini, shiitake mushroom and water chestnut and currently, you can sit inside the lantern-lined venue and enjoy an excellent purple cabbage salad (given plenty of zing and flavour thanks to hazelnuts and a yuzu-soy dressing) – or get it as a lunch-on-the-run takeaway order with poached chicken.
The interior at Papa Bo Min. Photo: Alana Dimou
Barbecue duck comes packaged in saintly steamed spinach dumplings, while king brown mushrooms wok-fried with five-spiced tofu, celery and garlic count as another lighter dish on the menu. But there are also mushroom spring rolls, salt-and-pepper calamari and deep-fried mini ice-cream cones if you're happy to curse your calorie intake. (Or you can pretend the roasted duck pancakes with cucumber and soy are "healthier" because they're served with coconut sugar instead of the maligned regular kind.)
The venue is named after Lotus owner Michael Jiang's dad and the menu contains flashbacks of his childhood, with versions of his father's barbecue pork buns and stir-fried home favourites available to order. You'll also find some signature dishes from other Lotus venues, too – like the wok-tossed beef fillet with native pepperberry and asparagus.
Papa Bo Min's Asian remix of a lamington. Photo: Alana Dimou
Papa Bo Min's desserts, by Lotus Dining's pastry chef Tiffany Jones, include a fun Asian remix of a lamington. Made with Valrhona chocolate and a nutty black sesame oil, it's served with a raspberry and hibiscus jam and a pretty bouquet of hibiscus flowers on top.
Meanwhile, the firecracker macaron (a riff on a popular Lotus petit four) is sandwiched with lemongrass ice-cream and, in a happy Instagram-friendly coincidence, just happens to look like a Pokemon ball.
Regardless of whether or not you take the healthy route here, proceeds from certain dishes at Papa Bo Min go towards Barnados Australia's 'Reconnect' homeless-youth intervention program – so you can at least feel good about that.
Open Mon-Fri noon-late (last reservations 8:30pm); Sat noon-3pm, 5pm-late (last reservations 9:30pm).
Plaza Level Grosvenor Place, 225 George Street, Sydney, 02 8318 3622, lotusdining.com.au/restaurant/grosvenor-place