As the name suggests, Mr. Wong is a Chinese restaurant but with a contemporary twist. Hidden down a laneway at the northern end of Sydney’s CBD, the sprawling Cantonese restaurant is another brainchild of the ever-expanding Merivale group.
Executive Chef, Dan Hong, has cemented himself as one of Sydney’s most creative and fastest-rising talents, running not only Mr. Wong but Ms G’s and El Loco as well. In partnership with Dim Sum Master, Michael Luo, he has crafted over 60 contemporary dishes that pay homage to traditional Chinese flavour and style.
In true Cantonese style, yum cha is served as morning tea from 10.30am until 12 pm every Saturday and Sunday, but the old-school trolley service has been ditched in favour of freshly-made à la carte to maintain the utmost quality and flavour.
Dim sum is reserved for the lunchtime sitting with crowd-pleasers such as Pork Xiao Long Bao, and a modern take on Prawn Toast that includes foie gras and almonds. For entree, choose the Yellowfin Tuna with kohlrabi and sweet wasabi, or Peking Duck Pancakes by the whole or half. For mains, opt for the Barbecued Honey-Glazed ‘Char Siu’ Pork or a large range of live seafood plucked straight from the tank, including mud crabs, rock lobsters and pippies, wok-fried with XO sauce.
Share plates include Sweet And Sour Crispy Pork Hock, and Salt And Pepper Lamb Cutlets. Add a side of braised asparagus with shiitake and preserved tofu, or King Crab Fried Rice ‘typhoon shelter style’ with garlic and chilli. For dessert, it’s hard to go past the Light Panko-Crumbed Deep-Fried Vanilla Ice Cream with butterscotch sauce or try the quirky Asian-meets-Latin-American Green Tea ‘Tres Leches’ Cake with yuzu cream and green tea Anglaise.
An almost overwhelmingly large wine list, compiled by Merivale’s resident Sommelier, Franck Moreau, covers all corners of the globe with heavy listings of pinot noir, just how the Chinese would like it. There’s also a short sake list for the traditionalists. A cleverly curated cocktail list draws on the customary Chinese cooking elements of sour, sweet, bitter, spicy and salty, each representing a different Chinese province by using a specific herb, fruit or spice unique to the region. The Yunnan negroni combines Yunnan-tea-infused Plymouth gin, Campari, Martini Rosso Vermouth and Aztec chocolate bitters.
Mr Wong’s vault-like entrance leads you into a lowly-lit, converted warehouse where an open kitchen stands proud. French cafe chairs with jade upholstery add a touch of colonial splendour, with slow-rotating ceiling fans and scattered vintage trinkets. Exposed walls are decorated with various types of Chinese paraphernalia and calligraphy signs will point you in the right direction. Not to be missed is the glass cabinet at the back of the restaurant making a feature of air-drying ducks. Just like Chinatown, but better.
The 240-seater restaurant is spread over two levels and caters for every occasion, from intimate dates to group bookings and even private dining.