Mr Wong Sydney has been one of the most popular restaurants in the city since opening its doors at the end of 2012, winning many best new restaurant awards. Executive chef Dan Hong (Lotus, El Loco, Ms.G’s) and Head Dim Sum Chef Eric Koh (London’s Hakkasan & Yauatcha) have, with the might of the Hemmes family’s Merrivale group behind them, have brought to Sydney a restaurant that brings Canotonese food to Sydney on a level that’s a cut above what is usually found outside of China.
$4 million went towards renovating the laneway location of Mr Wong and preparing it for opening and this is evident throughout the venue. Walking inside, diners are greeted by a large space full of wood, brick and stone designed by architect Michael McCann. To the right are hundreds of ducks in glass cases, at various stages of drying. The ceiling is an exposed maze of steel and pipes and the lighting is dark, although not too dark as is the case with many new restaurants that have opened in Sydney and Melbourne as of late. Staff are neatly dressed in formal attire yet nothing feels stuffy. Upstairs is the bar. The whole place has a very “1930s Shanghai” vibe about it, further helped along by the jazz and swing soundtrack and assorted decorations. It’s all very impressive.
Bookings can be made for lunch while dinner bookings are only available for groups of 6 or more. My wife and I didn’t have a booking but we arrived when the restaurant opened at midday and were able to get a table for an hour and a half, which was more than enough time for lunch before heading to the airport, and back to the realities of the the real world in Melbourne.
Mr Wong’s menu is extensive, with a range of over 60 [mostly, but not exclusively] Cantonese dishes available as well as a large dim sum menu (of which the full range is available only at lunch). An extensive selection of wine and cocktails are available, but on this occasion my wife and I chose a pot of dragon well tea and a pot of jasmine tea.
Salad of Alaskan Snow Crab, Snowpeas, Leaves, Bamboo Shoots and Ginger ($19.00)
This dish was really tasty. The flavoursome snow crab was allowed to shine, with the other flavours providing subtle additions without overpowering the crab. The bursts of saltiness provided by the salmon roe were a welcome touch.
Scallop and Prawn Shumai ($12.00)
These were delicious, with the dumpling skins tightly coiled around the prawn and scallop. The flying fish roe was used in just the right quantity to top off the shumai.
Alaskan King Crab Noodle Wrap ($12.00)
I really enjoyed these. The crab was very tasty and the super crunchy crispy noodles were in complete contrast to the soft skin dumplings we had eaten before. A more intense dish than the previous two, the star of the noodle wrap really was the noodles.
Roasted Peking Duck (Half) ($45.00)
Mr Wong has an authentic Cantonese roast duck oven and I was told that when I visited I had to order either the Peking duck or the Cantonese duck. My wife and I have eaten a fair few Peking ducks over the years and were keen to try Mr Wong’s take on the dish. The duck was perfect. Tender meat and crispy skin that was full of flavour. The sauce was perfect too. The pancakes had a slightly doughy taste to them which, while still tasty, could have been better.
Mr. Wong’s Special Fried Rice with Pork and Prawn (Small, $18.00)
By this stage of the meal my wife and I were quite full but we really wanted to try the rice as we had seen it come out of the kitchen a few times and it looked great. We were somewhat shocked when we saw that a small fried rice was $18.00 however enough rice to comfortably serve 4 people arrived at our table, so I suppose it’s only small in comparison to the large. The fried rice was simple and not at all greasy. The quality of the ingredients really shone through and it was surprisingly light and airy.
My biggest regret dining at Mr Wong was that I wasn’t able to try more. The extensive menu is designed to be shared and it would have been great to have had a group where many more dishes could have been sampled. I very rarely leave a restaurant without trying dessert but really couldn’t fit any more in on this occasion, which was a shame as the desserts looked excellent, especially the “Lychee and ginger ice, coconut sorbet, pineapple, water chestnuts and herbal jelly”.
It was hard to get the attention of the wait-staff at times due to the fact that the 240 seater restaurant was completely full, but when we did have their attention, the service was great and the staff were very friendly and knowledgeable. One criticism I did have was the fact that when the time to pay arrived, we were notified that there was a 1% credit card service charge. I’ve been to many a restaurant where paying by Amex attracts a service charge but never anywhere at this level of dining that has a flat service charge for all credit cards.
You can get excellent Cantonese food for cheaper elsewhere in Sydney, but for perfect execution of classic dishes using the highest quality ingredients in a space with a great, upmarket atmosphere, Mr Wong sets a new benchmark. It’s not the kind of place you eat at on a regular basis when in the mood for Cantonese food, rather it’s a place you visit when you’re looking for something a bit more special.
3 Bridge Lane
New South Wales 2000
Telephone: (02) 9240 3000
Lunch: Mon – Sun: 12:00pm to 3:00pm
Dinner: Mon – Wed: 5:30pm to 11:00pm
Thu – Fri: 5:30pm to 12:00am
Sun: 5:30pm to 10:00pm