Chinese dumpling and hand made noodle restaurants are popping up all over Sydney, the better ones serve up deliciously authentic Chinese fare in a relatively attractive and comfortable environment. As a customer of Chefs Gallery pretty much from the day it opened, it was obvious to noodlies, Sydney food blog that founder, Kaisern Ching has much, much grander ambitions for his restaurant. Chefs Gallery makes fresh, mouth-watering dumplings and hand made noodles that are cooked to order from the large open kitchen, but Ching’s prize is always something greater.
That ambition is now realised with an extensive new dinner menu that includes gourmet dim sims and a Tapas-style Chinese menu; smaller portions that are perfect for sampling and sharing. These new dishes join some of the most popular existing dishes like noodles (soup and fried), dumplings and roti. It’s obvious, Ching wants Chefs Gallery to rise above the rest and he delivers with an amazingly extensive menu that is innovative and exciting.
Gourmet prawn dumplings with fish roe and caviar looks stunning. Beneath the bright colours of each dumpling is a succulent, freshly steamed prawn wrapped in a firm translucent shell. Despite the bold look, it’s not a shock to the taste buds – it’s relatively subtle taste with everything yielding to the delicate prawn flavour.
“What? Are they serving up Peking prawns“. Well actually, yes. Torpedo prawns served with Peking pancakes set eyes and brain buzzing. The prawns are encased in a fluffy batter and doesn’t deliver the punch of duck flesh. But once wrapped with side vegetables in warm pancake and dipped in the spicy sauce, it delivers a satisfying experience managing to be both delicate and flavoursome.
Inside the thick bread rolls are tender pork fillet made extra tasty with the addition of pork floss. These Macanese mini burgers are so naughty but oh, so right. Too more-ish, this is one of my favorites of the night.
Again, traditional meets contemporary; roast duck without bones and cooked with lychees – traditionalists may scoff, but this dish challenges common pre-conceptions about Chinese food. I suspect that’s exactly what Ching has deliberately set out to do.
The simplest dish in our order; here, the tender texture and beefy flavours do most of the talking. Be warned, the serving of wagyu beef is huge.
The ‘his and hers’ piggy buns, served in a bamboo dim sim steamer, have been one of the stand out successes of Chefs Gallery. Pristine white on the outside with the exception of cute pink features, these buns contain a delicious hot and gooey black sesame centre. Here, they’re the main feature of an all-edible farm yard. The marshmallow ‘totoro’ covered in desiccated coconut is a new addition to the menu and replaces the mini pumpkins. I’ve always liked those pumpkins, but am obviously in the minority.
We’re here on a Thursday night and the place is packed with the line going out the door. In a Sydney scene full of good dumpling and handmade noodle restaurants, Ching’s ambition just might just be the secret to its stellar success.
Chefs Gallery Restaurant
Shop 12 (facing Bathurst Street)
Ground Floor Regent Place
501 George St
Sydney NSW 2000
(02) 9267 8877
Noodlies, Sydney food blog and guest dined as a guest of Chefs Gallery, Sydney.