After a glorious night at the theatre, a late-night supper was in order. Housed in the old Tank night club, Mr Wong is very New York; exposed brick, multi-levelled and teaming with people even though it’s after 10pm. One of the newer Merivale restaurants Mr Wong is a showcase of Cantonese cuisine, headed by Dan Hong, Jowett Yu and Eric Koh.
Cocktails are certainly in order, and we are sent over to the bar whilst they prepare our table, another very New York aspect. Infused with Asian flavours, the cocktails are a nod to various Chinese provinces and they are delicious. The man about town, orders a tequila-based cocktail remenisent of a Margarita. It is tart and heavy handed. It hits the right spot. I sip on a Shaanxi Province – Shochu, mandarin liquer, lemon juice, fresh nashi pear, cardamon and grapefruit bitters. It is a citrus jive on my palate and is most welcome refreshment.
Sally, who is old friends with Mr Wong, knows what to order. The Dim Sum are the bomb, so we order the steamed dumplings. A combination of prawn, scallop, morel mushroom and Jade seafood, the dumplings are fresh and soft and full of flavour, and the chilli dipping sauce is a swift kick of fire, igniting the tastebuds.
At the time we were seated, the waiter informs us that there are only 3 ducks left. One of them has Sally’s name written on its juicy breast… The duck is crisp-skinned and succulent, but at $45 for half a Peking Duck, it seems a little steep, seeing as how in Sydney you can’t swing a cat without hitting a window full of BBQ ducks (too many animals?!). There is, as I have named it, a “Sad Duck Room” behind the kitchen on the way to the bathroom… It is where dozens of naked, pretzel-twisted necked ducks hang and drip blood, a sobering thought as to where our food comes from. Thank you, animals for your sacrifice.
The Stir-fried Chilli King Prawns ($32) are as expected, and do their job, although they are a little on the small side for King prawns.
The dish of the evening, which takes its time to come out, is the Hong Kong style stir fried rice noodles with Wagyu beef, bean sprouts and garlic chives. It has that terrific taste of smoke and flame in it and the beef is tender, however, there is not nearly enough in it. Two little strips each and abracadabra, it has disappeared. This dish, at $26, also makes me think that Mr Wong as a whole, is overpriced. Yes, the venue is a treat visually and has atmosphere to burn, but the quality of the food can be found at your favourite local Thai or Chinese for half the price. Sydney is packed full of amazing Asian cuisine, so I feel that for these prices, it has to be really top notch.