As the darling of Sydney’s fast and affordable dining set, chef Dan Hong raised the bar quite high with the likes of Lotus, El Loco, and Ms.Gs, so it was always a big ask for him to beat his own game.
But with the backing of Justin Hemmes and the Merivale juggernaut – and the addition of dim sum chef Eric Koh – he pulled it off with Mr. Wong, from the secret laneway locale to the ambiance and of course the food. Fast-forward a decade, it’s now one of the city’s essential dining experiences.
It should be noted that this is a big affair, but surprisingly for such a large space it still feels remarkably intimate – maybe because they fill the split top levels before opening up the basement space. All evidence of its former life as Tank nightclub is gone, replaced instead with a 1930s Shanghai effect that includes moody jazz, Shanghai girl posters, heavy wooden beams and polished wood floors.
The banquet menus offer plenty of variety, while the bank of barbeque ducks makes a serious display. The menu might feature anything from live mud crab wok-fried with black pepper to delicate seafood dumpling consommé, but it’s the xiao long bao that are set to ignite some heated debate as to whether they’re are potentially some of the best in the city, with the thin casing exploding the soupy contents in one mouthful.
Individual dim sum are available for lunch only, with platters on offer for dinner as part of the full menu. And yes, there’s even deep-fried ice-cream on offer. Most impressively, this is one dumpling den that stays open later during the tail end of the week. So get ready to get your late-night chow on.