Mr Wong

3 Bridge Street, Sydney, 2000, Australia

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Finding Mr Wong is a bit tricky. Near the top of Bridge Street, at the front of an industrial brick building is a little pedestrian alleyway. Follow this down and turn left and you will see Mr Wong on your right ahead of you. The premises were once a warehouse, and later became a newspaper printing press. After a fire the building lay abandoned for some time, then was turned into a nightclub. In the summer of 2012 it was converted into this cavernous Chinese restaurant, with open kitchens and 240 seats across two floors and numerous sections. It has become a dim sum institution, and even at 11:30 on this Saturday morning was already pretty much full. There is a display of ducks by one of the kitchen areas, and you can watch the chefs working from many of the tables. The dim sum menu operates until noon, when the full a la carte becomes available. A nice touch is that could ask for four dumplings in a portion rather than the traditional three. If you are dining à deux then this avoids the usual tricky negotiations over who is going to get the extra dumpling of the set that you liked the most.

The wine list was unusually lengthy and elaborate for a Chinese restaurant. As well as bottles such as Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2017 at AS$90 compared to its retail price of AS$42, there were stacks of prestige wines too. If you have the means then you could indulge in labels like Henschke Mount Edelstone Shiraz 2014 at AS$320 compared to its retail price of AS$230, or even Penfolds Grange Hermitage 1990 at AS$1,850 for a wine that will set you back AS$875 in a shop.

Classic har gau was good, the dumpling coating reasonably thin and the prawn filling nicely cooked (13/20). Xiao long bao with its liquid centre of pork and vinegar was quite good, though not the best I have eaten; it is hard to compete with those at Din Tai Fung, for example (13/20).

The least good dish was a steamed morel and spinach dumpling, which would be more accurately labelled spinach with the merest hint of morel (11/20). Prawn and watercress was pleasant, the balance of seafood to vegetable much better than with the morel and spinach one, and the watercress leaves nicely cooked (13/20). The best was a grilled dumpling of prawn and sweetcorn, the prawn filling having some sweetness and the coating avoiding greasiness; this was served with a mild wasabi dipping sauce (14/20).

Although the chefs appeared to be all Chinese, the waiting staff were mostly not. The waitress who served us was better than the one who took our order, who confidently listened to the order without making a note of it, and then had to come back a minute later to ask us what we had asked for. The bill came to AS$44 (£25) per person, with just jasmine tea to drink. In the evening, if you ordered from the a la carte and drank wine it would obviously be a pricier affair. Overall I enjoyed Mr Wong, with its lively atmosphere and pleasant dim sum.

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