When I first heard the name of Justin Hemmes’ new restaurant, I’m sure I’m not the only one who remembered this…..
Female tourist: Mr Wong! Mr Wong!
Mr Wong: What is it?
Female tourist: I’ve lost all my traveller’s cheques!
Mr Wong: Ohhh. What kind were they?
Female tourist: American Express…
That ad was shot somewhere in Hong Kong (or at least it looked like it was, might well have been a back street in Sydney) and here in the old Tankstream site the Merivale crew have re-created the whole British-Colonial-post war-Hong Kong thing, with the tuxedoed waiters and a truly amazing fit out. This is actually my third visit, and the food has been solid both times but the service a little mixed.
It starts off well, we are welcomed by some eye candy and taken to our table. The menu is extensive but not overwhelming like it can be at some Chinese eateries. You’ll find plenty to order. We begin with the scallop and prawn shumai. There’s some clever maths at play here, there are only 3 per serve. I’d hazard a bet that most tables are two or four. Can they add another one to the serve for our party of four? No, they can’t, you’ll have to order two lots if everyone wants one, we are told. We don’t mind the extras as they are juicy and flavoursome.
We follow on with a cold dish, the drunken pork hock with the marinated jelly fish. If the thought of jelly fish alarms you, you’d never know if you weren’t told, and the lovely marinade with the tender pork make a great combination. The roasted duck, on the other hand, is a little average, good crispy skin but nothing special and I’m sure you’ll find better in Chinatown.
Then onto the dish which was the winner of the day – steamed scallops with ginger, shallots, XO sauce and silken tofu. These are scallops on steroids, fat, and delicious, with an excellent XO. We then have the twice cooked green beans with pork mince, which have a little more punch than the last time I was here, though I still think I prefer Din Tai Fung’s version. And then Mr Wong’s special fried rice, which is a staple order on each visit – its great fried rice. We order a large which is too much for four of us.
But like my last visit, they leave the empty plates on the table far too long though, and it can be hard to get waitstaff’s attention. But its a fairly minor negative in the great scheme of things.
I’ve heard people say this is overpriced Chinese. And sure, its more than a whole-in-the-wall you might find in Chinatown, but its not really any more expensive than say Golden Century. Our six dishes came to less than $40 a head, which I think is pretty good when you’re sitting in a place that looks like this one (there are also various banquets starting at $68). Its also the only decent Chinese at this end of the CBD. The no bookings policy for a 240 seater is annoying, but lunch bookings are usually not an issue, its evenings that often mean you’re in for a long wait. The wait in my view worth it – I’m sure my third visit won’t be my last.
Mr Wong, 3 Bridge Lane, Sydney Ph (02) 9240 3000