3 Bridge Lane
Sydney, NSW 2000
If it’s a special occasion spot you’re after, you really can’t beat the likes of Mr Wong. Everything about this place is larger than life, from the 200-plus seats split over two immaculately-decorated stories, to the tome of a menu offering everything from wagyu to lobster, not to mention the gold-flecked 24 Karat cocktail, and their legendary $25 fried ice cream. If you’re getting the impression that a night out at Mr Wong is a bit of a splurge, you’d be absolutely right. So the key question is this: is Mr Wong worth the $100pp minimum spend (paid up-front at the time of booking, no less)? Whilst I wouldn’t say it’s specifically worth it, it’s definitely not NOT worth it. Although there was nothing ground-breaking, it’s still without a doubt the best Cantonese Chinese food I’ve ever had; there really wasn’t a single dish that could’ve been improved upon. This definitely isn’t your everyday sort of place, but if you’re looking to impress, Mr Wong definitely brings the goods.
Rating: 15/20 – elevated classics.
The must-order: Peking duck
Yum cha options are limited at dinnertime, but if you’re desperate for your fix, there’s always the Steamed Dim Sum Platter ($42, 8pcs). Dim sum means ‘touch the heart’ in Chinese, and tbh, these kind of do exactly just that. The prawn and scallop siu mai is a highlight, along with the unexpectedly smoky parcel of duck and chive. But really, the technique, flavour, and presentation is just faultless all ‘round, and will delight even the hardest of hearts.
Another complete and utter delight is the Peking Duck Pancakes ($55, 8pcs). The price may seem steep, but it’s actually pretty decent value (for Mr Wong, anyway) given the generous proportions of each piece of duck. And just like the dim sum, every aspect of this was flawless. The plump bird was thickly sliced and topped with a shard of skin that glistens and shatters like toffee, the sauce especially rich yet still meticulously balanced, and the pancakes thin yet pliant. Even the cucumbers tasted fresher than usual. If you were trying to keep costs down, you could do worse than just getting a whole duck and eating it by yourself.
Mapo Tofu ($32) is a favourite comfort food of mine, but this one really rachets the whole concept up to eleven. The saucy mince mixture on top is not unlike what you normally find in a classic mapo tofu, albeit with a bit less peppercorn, but it’s the tofu part that really sets this apart. Lightly golden and delightfully wobbly, this was more akin to a super creamy savoury egg custard, but with the mouthfeel of a well-made crème caramel. If you don’t think tofu can be indulgent, then you need to get your mouth around this silky, umami-laden mixture.
When at a Cantonese restaurant, fried seafood is a must. Skip the calamari and go for the Crispy Fried Balmain Bugs with Spicy Salt ($48) instead. Not only do you get the impossibly light and crisp batter experience, but you also get upgraded to the juiciest, most buttery of crustaceans. It’s basically like eating lobster but without the hefty price tag – $268/kg the night we visited, yo.
I spent the weeks leading up to dinner at Mr Wong swearing not to get Mr Wong’s Deep Fried Vanilla ice Cream ($25), and denouncing it to anyone who would listen. Because $25 for deep fried ice cream? That’s just undignified for everyone involved. Anyway, I got the deep fried ice cream; I was really feeling it, alright?? I was both glad and annoyed when this turned out to be delicious. Something about the combination of smooth vanilla ice cream, coconutty batter, and sticky butterscotch sauce just can’t be beat. It may simply just be the sugar content, but I won’t complain. And to its credit, it really is a very big scoop of ice cream.
The non-alcoholics here are pretty great. The Garden Spritz ($16) is cool and green, with just the right amount of bitterness. Meanwhile the Lychee Cooler ($16) is all about the tropical summer days, with just a hint of the exotic from the floral notes of rose.