|Everything Old Is New Again|
Sunglasses: Shakuhachi, Bali
Jumpsuit: Surry Hills Markets
Clutch: Forever New
Bra: Cotton On Body
Watch: Swatch, New York City
Cuff: Wayne Cooper
Of course it was terribly cold and extremely windy all weekend and the weather gods delivered sunshine on a Monday morning but nevertheless I am so glad to be out of the wind! You have no idea what to wear and frankly the wind makes you grumpy and all sorts of crazy! As a result of the gale force winds many tree branches are still down all over the place and many, many leaves which meant today was the perfect day for a picnic out in the sun amongst all of the fallen leaves! I dragged out an oldie but a goodie today. An all in white sheer and pleated jumpsuit that I picked up from Surry Hills markets years ago! I teamed it with a black and white lacey bra and my silver metallic wedges. It is such an awesome jumpsuit, right on track for the all in white trend!
Yesterday KJ, GJ and I went to Sunday lunch at Merivale's new and greatly anticipated Mr Wong. Mr Wong only opened on Friday night and apart from the crowd from the opening and Mrs Merivale's guests for her birthday function on Saturday we were really the first normal day of business. Mr Wong delivers traditional Cantonese style dishes with a modern and creative influence. With a great team of chefs including executive chef, Dan Hong (of Ms.G's and El Loco) and head chef, Jowett Yu (former head chef at Ms.G's) Mr Wong had a lot to live up to before I even walked in the door! Even more pressure to deliver good Cantonese-style food with several Chinese restaurants opening lately around the CBD area including China Lane and The Century.
|Jasmine Tea $2 (unlimited refills)|
It is located in the old tank streamline building (formerly "Tank" nightclub) in Bridge Lane in the CBD. It is one of Sydney city's largest restaurants seating 240 people over two levels. As soon as you enter the doors of "Mr Wong" you are instantly transported to Canton in the 1920s. You are greeted by an array of servers who show you to your seats. The warehouse is filled with dark wooden and marble furnishings, timber floorboards, industrial dimmed lights, ceiling fans, several rows of hanging chickens near the open kitchens and as many Chinese inspired knick knacks as you could find! As you would expect being a Merivale restaurant the styling is impeccable and truly amazing.
The restaurant consists of three main dining areas, two bars (one in the back room upstairs and one in the downstairs dining room), two huge open kitchens upstairs, a large glass wine cellar and a bar with live crustaceans downstairs. It offers dining options for all different types of clientele from large communal tables, intimate tables, informal seating at the bar and open kitchen or several private dining rooms. When I complimented Justin Hemmes on the amazing styling he said that they had spent "a lot of money making it look like they had spent none". Couldn't have summed it up better myself! There were asian prints painted onto the brick walls, old glass mirrors hanging on the walls, lampshades, bowls, flowers and other orniments placed on tables and the bars and the communal bathroom doors were like asian doors. There is really no way to explain the venue, you have to see it for yourself but Merivale really has outdone itself this time!
The menu is quite large offering a huge selection of dim sum (only at lunch time), poultry, seafood, meat, vegetables, rice and noodles and dessert as well as several banquet options.
As soon as we sat down a pot of Jasmine tea was delivered to the table. Perfect accompaniment to a Chinese meal!
|Top Left: Steamed asparagus and scallop dumpling with XO sauce $9|
Bottom Left: Steamed rice roll with barbecued pork $10.8
Bottom Right: Braised asparagus, broccoli and sugar snap peas with garlic and rice wine $19
We started with the steamed asparagus and scallop dumplings with XO sauce and the steamed rice roll with barbecued pork. I was recommended to try the seafood consomme dumpling however being allergic to some seafood I thought I better stay clear just in case. The fillings in both were extremely tasty however the rice on the outside was a bit too thin and a little gluggy as when you picked them up they fell apart. However, I think that they were supposed to be like that so that you fill up on more filling rather than rice.
The next dish to arrive was the "braised asparagus, broccoli and sugar snap peas with garlic and rice wine sauce". The vegetables were cooked to perfection, staying green and crunchy. The lightness of the garlic and white wine sauce was also delicious.
|Top Left: Steamed fish fillet with ginger and shallots $32|
After the vegetables everything arrived at once and we had trouble fitting all of the food on our table! I maybe would have preferred it if the dishes kept coming out separately (as they do at Ms.G's)... so much food at once! Nevertheless, it was all delicious and all eaten so it doesn't really matter! We shared "roasted five spice pork belly", "stir-fried chilli Crystal Bay prawns", "steamed fish fillet with ginger and shallots" (Mulloway was the fish of the day), "steamed Chinese broccoli with oyster sauce and garlic oil", "wok fried cultivated mushrooms - a stir fry of over six varieties of mushrooms with garlic and mushroom soy" and finally some steamed rice. All of the servings were extremely generous!
The pork belly melted in your mouth and it was garnished with a delicious Granny Smith julienned apple slaw. It wasn't overly fatty which can be the problem with pork belly sometimes. The chilli prawns were my standout dish of the day. I loved them as they were quite spicy though but I am not afraid of a bit of heat! The serving of prawns was huge and we had over twenty-five prawns! The steamed fish was perfectly cooked ... it simply fell apart when you touched it with your fork and I enjoyed the fact that the ginger wasn't overpowering. We could have opted for a black bean sauce but sometimes I feel sauces take away from the dish.
Once again the serving of Chinese broccoli was huge! The wok fried cultivated mushrooms were outstanding. So many different varieties of mushrooms on the one, huge plate! We all gobbled them up extremely fast! I do enjoy an enoki mushroom and I don't get to have them often! I feel silly commenting on something as simple as steamed rice but often the rice is under or overdone however yesterday the rice was cooked to perfection. It really does make such a difference!
|Left: Mr. Wong's deep fried chocolate ice cream served with butter scotch sauce $14|
Right: Strawberries, meringue, macadamia praline, cream cheese ice cream and Thai basil $14
We were all so full at the end of our meal that we couldn't possibly think about fitting in dessert and we all agreed that you don't typically think of having a very sweet dessert after an asian meal. However, we then remembered that we were eating food cooked by former "Ms.G's" chefs and if they serve anything like "Ms.G's" signature "Stoner's Delight" we would be crazy to pass at the option! Therefore, we decided on "Mr Wong's deep fried chocolate ice cream served with butterscotch sauce" (we couldn't go past it) and the "strawberries, meringue, macadamia praline, cream cheese ice cream and Thai basil" because I am totally obsessed with meringue at the moment! The deep fried ice-cream was great but not really my type of dessert (a little bit too high on the calorie factor for me) however I think I died and went to heaven with the strawberry meringue. The freshness of the dessert was astounding! There were so many textual elements ... the cream cheese ice cream combined with the sugary tiny meringues, the freshness of the strawberries and strawberry sauce, the bitterness of the basil leaves and the crunchy, goodness of the macadamia praline. Simply delicious! My mouth is watering even thinking about it now!
All in all, it was a terrific experience. We stepped out of the warehouse almost three hours later and had to readjust ourselves to reality. It really was like being transported back in time. Oh, and next time I am definitely going to try the "Singapore style" mud crab. Apparently it is a go-to dish (however being market price it is a bit on the pricey side at $90 ... I might have to save it for a special occasion). A marvellous experience! Close to perfect! Merivale hasn't disappointed me yet. I can't wait until their South American restaurant opens!
3 Bridge Lane
Sydney NSW 2000