The Merivale winds, having blown North, South and East, have found their way to the Inner West, this time transforming Enmore’s Queen Victoria Hotel. Gone are the Indiana Jones pinball machine, the pool table and the pokies. Instead you’ll find a variety of taxidermy (!), a baby elephant figure, a Roman statue, and some mighty fine Chinese.
Downstairs, while flanked by a long bar, is a bit more sombre and restaurant-y. Upstairs is The Smelly Goat bar, with some cool and cosy little nooks, and a lovely light filled enclosed outdoor dining verandah. The staff are on top of it all and very welcoming.
We start of course with dumplings (Eric Koh is in da house) which are all delicious. The Marito and Small People particularly rate the prawn har gau, and the casing is definitely more delicate than elsewhere. I had my eye on the lobster and asparagus dumplings for my second visit but they had disappeared from the menu!
The duck spring rolls remind me very much of Mr Wong, which is not a bad thing at all. There’s a reason why Mr Wong is still packing them in every night 5 years on.
There’s a twist on the classic cheung fun – here the cuttlefish is wrapped it a fried bread crumb then the rice noodle. The Marito gives this a big thumbs up.
I love the salt and pepper squid, silken tofu and prawns with chilli bean mayo. Done with such a light hand.
I also really like the “slightly fires the emperor” of cuttlefish, macadamia and garlic chive (though there isn’t much cuttlefish). Its fresh and the macadamia and crunch of baby corn add some good texture.
But I’m a little disappointed with the angus beef, served with baby king oyster mushrooms and potato. Its a little dry, the beef is chewy and the potatoes are bland.
The barbecue duck though, is juicy and tasty
Back onto seafood, we’re winning. The steamed market fish (that day barramundi) with ginger, shallot, and white soy, is a deftly executed Chinese classic.
The Moreton Bay bugs with kombu butter and asparagus are dressed to impress.
And make sure you leave room for the fried rice.
There are desserts on the menu, but its pretty hard to resist the lure of Cow and Moon right next door, where we bump into fellow diners. However you will get fortune cookies with your bill.
On behalf of Italian Mammas, I do have a bone to pick with you Queen Chow – shall we take it outside?
Queen Chow, 167 Enmore Road, Enmore
Ph 02 9240 3000