"Foodies", "Hipsters", and "Foochebags"
These are the terms I got from this food article I ran into.
Love them or hate them (albeit, us), is it true that they along with "gangsta chefs" are elevating the revival of street food and trending our taste buds?
With all the hype from Ms G's, us Yummers were intrigued by what Dan Hong's new venture, Mr Wong will bring to Sydney's food scene.
As there were 8 of us I thought I'd do the right thing and make a reservation. After jumping through the Merivale empire's corporate hoops and signing my life and credit card away for a meal, we were booked in. The dinner reservation form stipulated that a table of 8 guests had a mandatory 10% surcharge, a minimum spend of $70pp including beverages, $500 cancellation fee if less than 24hours notice, and $70pp fee for no-show guests. Whilst I understand the frustrations of last minute cancellations I personally thought it was a bit steep and took the shine off the event. On a brighter note, the Merivale reception were very prompt and professional with the reservation.
Mr Wong can be found at 3 Bridge Lane, Sydney. It's a tiny, dimly lit lane-way that resembles the dark alley ways of Gotham city. Once you step past the Mr Wong archway you are transported to a 1930's Shanghai tea house. The fitout of this multilevel ex-night club is superb. Splashes of industrial chic with exposed brickwork and iron fittings work really well with the rustic Asian decor.
Another small gripe before we start our meal ... you would think that after the special service we received above from Merivale that we would get our own table. Instead we were placed downstairs (away from the open kitchen action) on a communal table (well, 3 reserved tables joined together), which made the seating quite tight.
|Steamed Dim Sum Platter ($32) - (available for dinner only)|
Scallop Shumai, Har Gau, Jade seafood dumpling, Mushroom dumpling.
Maybe we were too in awe of the decor, but I was kicking myself when I found out that we'd ordered two steamed dim sum platters rather than the a steamed and a fried, therefore missing out on my much anticipated introduction to lobster mei si roll and foie gras prawn toast.
What I did enjoy from the steamed selection was scallop shumai. Plump, juicy, stacked with at least 2-3 scallops and encased in a delicate pastry skin.
|L: Roasted 5-spice Pork Belly ($25) R: Steamed Chinese Broccoli with Oyster Sauce and Garlic oil ($12)|
|L: Mr Wong's special fried rice - Large ($24) R: Twice cooked green beans, pork mince & XO sauce ($16)|
|L: Crystal Bay Prawns with black pepper, garlic, and butter ($32) R: Wagyu beef with rice vermicelli - Large ($26)|
|L: Salt & Pepper Lamb Cutlets with Fennel and Cumin ($32) R: Sweet & Sour Crispy Pork Hock ($28)|
Sweet and Sour Crispy pork hock was also top notch. Maybe a play on the traditional Sweet and Sour pork, this dish is far superior with no comparison to the westernised version found in most Chinese take-away shops. De-boned crispy pork hock with flaky innards that's permeated with a good balance of flavours - and no sign of extra large capsicum and pineapple chunks in a fluorescent sauce!!
|L: Mr Wong's deep fried ice-cream with butter scotch sauce ($14) R: Roast white chocolate ice cream, yuzu curd, logans, and raspberries ($14)|
The roast white chocolate ice cream was well constructed with multi-levels of flavor and textures. I couldn't quite taste the yuzu though.
|L: Green apple ice, osmanthus jelly, water chestnuts and coconut sorbet ($14) R: Seasonal fruit plate (serves 2-3) ($18)|
Yes, we even ordered the fruit platter and were somewhat relieved to find that it wasn't your standard complimentary plate of dry oranges, tasteless honeydew and powdery watermelon that you generally expect after a Chinese meal. The platter was spruced up with the addition of fresh strawberries, raspberries, golden kiwi, and our new found love ... Jack Fruit!!
|Strawberries, meringue, macadamia praline, cream cheese ice cream and Thai basil ($14)|
Overall I think the mains are slightly overpriced. Definitely good for that special treat and I'll definitely be back to try Yum Cha, and the foie gras prawn toast.
Till next time...we eat!!