David's, restaurant, Prahran, Melbourne.
David's, restaurant, Prahran, Melbourne. Photo: Shannon McGrath

4 Cecil Place Prahran, VIC 3181

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Opening hours Mon-Thu 6pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 6pm-11pm, Wed-Fri noon-3pm, Sat-Sun 11.30am-3pm
Features Accepts bookings, BYO, Events, Family friendly, Gluten-free options, Groups, Licensed, Long lunch, Yum cha
Prices Moderate (mains $20-$40)
Chef Jeffrey Xiao
Seats 85
Payments Diner's Club, AMEX, Visa, Mastercard
Phone 03 9529 5199

David's could have embraced its august old age; instead, this circa 1999 Chinese restaurant has taken its own Great Leap Forward with a makeover evoking a Shanghai river house. The menu stays true to the Shanghai cuisine pioneered in Melbourne by David Zhou, but it's been modernised in format (dishes are smaller, so sharing's the game) and scope (enter the bao, the fluffy steamed bread pocket filled with pork belly and cucumber, or ginger-spiced Peking duck). Dim sum remains a calling card - delicately herbed minced chicken in a golden-hued wrapping is a fine example - while the new direction is summed up by the gutsy appeal of thin slices of braised beef in sweet vinegar, strips of lamb sizzled with cumin, and fried whole school prawns in sticky soy. The wine list remains a standout in the Chinese restaurant field, but family-friendly desserts such as crisp banana fritters get deliciously unstitched.