I am a freelance reviewer in Sydney, and lover of sharing my experiences in all things food, wine, entertainment and travel related.
Published September 13th 2012
What's So Right About Mr Wong
Anyone knows that when Merivale puts its magical touch on a new restaurant it becomes Sydney's latest epicurean gift. This is definitely the case with the latest restaurant venture by Justin Hemmes with the newly opened Mr Wong, which following a huge media hype is one of the most anticipated restaurant openings of the year for 2012.
With no expenses spared, this $4 million flash fit-out of the former Tank Nightclub in Bridge Lane has been transformed into a fabulous new chic Cantonese restaurant, which is making Chinese food ultra cool again.
When one thinks of Chinese restaurants, what usually comes to mind is a cheap and cheerful suburban local which reeks of 1980's charm from when the cuisine last boomed, as well as bargain priced typically oily but tasty, traditional dishes.
Gone are these images when you set foot into Mr Wong, as you are welcomed into a world of colonial opulence, with chic, fine-dining Cantonese featuring top produce from leading chefs, a spectacular fit-out and dapper tuxedo clad wait-staff.
The restaurant fills the gap for quality Chinese food in Sydney with an impressive pool of kitchen talent including Australian-Vietnamese executive chef Dan Hong, Australian-Taiwanese head chef Jowett Yu, and Singaporean dim sum chef Eric Koh, of London's Hakkasan.
The restaurant spills over two levels in the warehouse space, making it feel like its own self-contained China town. With beautiful tables, bamboo chairs, wooden columns, unique oriental artwork and ornaments, dim lighting, and open plan stainless steel kitchens, and of course, let's not forget the classy gallery of hanging ducks, Mr Wong's feels like a Cantonese Palace.
The menu is not as large as your typical Chinese restaurant but has a good selection of Entrees, Roast Meats, Live Seafood From The Tank, Meat, Tofu/Vegetables, Rice and Noodle dishes, and Desserts to choose from, with a clever mix of old and new. I am utterly disappointed to see that the Main Dim Sum menu is only available at lunch, but am relieved to know I can order the Dim Sum Platter for dinner.
It is also worth noting that Dim Sum at Mr Wong is ordered a la carte so there are no awkward language barriers with trolly staff, or regular interruptions to your table, which is a real bonus in my opinion.
I go for the steamed Dim Sum version which is eight pieces and includes Scallop shumai, Jade seafood dumpling, Har Gau, and Chinese mushroom dumplings. At $4 a dumpling I have high expectations, and soon realise that I have stumbled across one amazing dumpling den which amazing textures and flavours like never before. They are damned delicious! The Har Gau are delightful, with a perfect translucent skin, fresh scallop and topped with fish roe. The Jade Seafood dumpling which is green in colour as the name would suggest, is also amazingly flavoursome. All other dumplings are to die for, simply said.
With the herd of ducks hanging from the ceiling, it would be silly not to order the Peking Duck, which is an old faithful. It arrives on a silver platter, nicely presented with pancakes, Hoisin sauce, sliced cucumber and spring onions. The tender pieces of duck are crispy, moist and pure bliss. The juicy bird is definitely a winner.
I also sample the Steamed fish fillet with ginger and shallots. The fish is fresh, tender and fragrant from the soy, ginger and shallot sauce. While relatively healthy it is very tasty and a good menu choice.