Mr Wong's, a dumpling dynasty I have been drooling over for months looking at photos and reading about it in magazines and blogs everywhere. Now, with my new office just a hop, skip and peking duck away, I made sure I arrived at 5:30 on a Tuesday to beat the crowds (they don't take bookings for small parties, be warned!). The fit out is nothing short of amazing. Down the back of a very Melbourne-eske alley, this dumpling dungeon is a modern regeneration of an old space with a traditional chinese twist.
Perched up on the bar I was able to see the chefs at work, pumping out dishes faster than you can say 'fried-rice' and roasting the variety of meats in the mammoth sized oven. If you're curious about what type of meats I am referring to you can have a look for yourself. Hanging in the glass cabinets you will find ducks, parts of pigs (oink!) and chickens, they even follow you right to the bathroom where the "draining" process is taking place... quite fitting I guess.
Now, to the important stuff! To celebrate the fact is was Tuesday afternoon and my arrival at Mr. Wong's I ordered the strawberry and mint cocktail, a chilled, fruity concoction l perfect for summer. Watch out though, these go down like liquid gold and they don't come cheap! To start, it was imperative we order the dumplings, so we did just that. At lunch you can order them how you like in true Yum Cha tradition, but for dinner you only have the option of ordering a platter of 8 inclusive of 4 of the best dumplings which changes daily. They were all perfect parcels and Cantonese creativity but my favourite was definitely the prawn and chive.
We were stumped when it came to the mains so after some consulting with our very friendly waitress we decided on half a roast duck, kung pao chicken and special fried rice. The fried rice was perfection - the perfectlymixed fresh pea, shallot, pork and king prawns tumbled through it and cracked egg to complete the dish. It was absent from the gluggy, greasy rice you find in so many chinese restaurants. It was the perfect foundation for the kung pao chicken, which was the highlight for me. The tender chicken pieces were wok tossed with shallots, died chillies, pepper sauce and the roasted peanuts.
I had high hopes for the duck, and although it was delicious, it was too much hard work for me. But by that time, my bloated belly was a good distraction from the disappointment. Until of course, the waitress suggested Mr Wong's deep-fried vanilla ice cream with butterscotch sauce... How could I possibly resist? Cracking open the crisp exterior and watching the creamy, melted goodness ooze into the rich, caramel butterscotch sauce was like watching XXX rated food porn. I felt looking and feeling like a pig, but I figure, it is good practise for Christmas!
The bitter: The Duck a lot of money for a lot of fat and bones (i recommend getting the pekking duck pancakes instead!)
The Sweet: Cocktail - amazing. Fried rice - perfect. Kung pao chicken - exquisite. Deep fried icecream - life changing.
The damage: Considerable but worth it. Our bill, including too much food a few drinks came to $180 for 2 people.
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