There’s nothing better than a venue that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Ms.G’s is such a restaurant, turning out pan-Asian fare with a hefty serving of fun.
The name may sound like an ode to an influential figure, but it’s actually a subtle jab at the notorious flavour enhancer MSG. Ironically, the only place the controversial ingredient appears at Ms.G’s is on the walls – that neon pink ‘six two one’ sign is a reference to its additive number.
Another Merivale marvel, Ms.G’s is a modern Asian diner that takes influences from China, Vietnam and Korea. Executive Chef, Dan Hong, started his career in the kitchen of his family’s Vietnamese restaurant chain in Sydney, Thanh Binh, and now oversees Ms.G’s as well as Mr. Wong and El Loco. At Ms.G’s, he’s created playful Asian fusion with far from classic twists.
Start with the bánh mì sliders filled with mozzarella or chicken katsu, or test out the infamous cheeseburger spring rolls, complete with sauce and pickles. The Vietnamese steak tartare is topped with a glossy egg yolk and crispy fried eschallots, and served with prawn crackers instead of the usual crunchy croutons.
Smaller plates involve an Asian twist on the Italian favourite, burrata cheese, with sesame sauce, chilli oil, spinach and peanuts. Larger share plates include crispy fried chicken wings with jalapeño dipping sauce, ink noodles with calamari and sambal butter, and roasted flounder with black bean, chilli and white soy.
One word of advice: don’t forget to save room for dessert. Ms.G’s notorious concoctions are not for the light hearted. In its third reincarnation, the ‘Stoner’s Delight’ goes against all previous Asian theming, with donut ice cream, peanut dulce de leche, peanut and pretzel brittle, crispy bacon, Mars Bar brownie, raspberry curd, potato chips and deep-fried Nutella. If you’re not ready for such a commitment, go light with a refreshing strawberry granita, served with yoghurt mousse, mochi, watermelon and Calpis sorbet.
Complement your meal with a range of sake, or keep it Zen with a selection of green and black teas. A wine menu, put together by Sommelier, Franck Moreau, is divided into sections such as ‘the power and the tannin’ and ‘single, white and easy’ to help the non-wine savvy amongst us choose a perfect pairing.
Cocktails with Asian twists come split into two lists. The ‘unpackaged’ are made fresh to order and include the Karmic Root – turmeric-infused Beefeater gin, homemade ginger syrup, fresh mint, lime and soda. ‘Packaged’ come in bubble tea plastic cups with a thick straw to pierce the lid. Sip on a refreshing Yuzu slushie, or if you’re after that bubble tea texture, order the Pearl Diver, with strawberry Lillet Blanc, vodka, prosecco and strawberry pearls.
The unexpectedly large four-storey space is a clutter of random trinkets and haphazard decorations. Hundreds of jam jars are suspended above the bar, sailing ropes loosely hang atop diners and scribbled graffiti acts as a feature wall. Makeshift stools are made from old beer cartons and each table is prepped and ready with a bottle of sriracha. Modern yet true to its roots, Ms.G’s is far from your conventional diner.