Monsieur and I were meant to visit Mister Wong ages ago, but wanted to wait for the fame to cool down before visiting.
So we’re in early, on Sunday morning, and seated right at the entrance. This allows us to see what’s going on in the kitchen, which is quite nice as Monsieur spotted their secret ingredient for BBQ pork buns, but the street is smelly (which is very Chinatown like) and today’s a windy day, so these seats also have some downsides…
Monsieur declares that Mister Wong has his favourite char siu bao AUD 9.80 for 3 ever a, so he gets the 3rd one and I get to have the baked venison puff AUD 10.80 for 3 twice.
The reason why he loves it so much is the inside, he finds it very very moist… We found out later, that they were actually injecting sauce in the char siu bao buns right before they were served, hence the unusual level of moistness in there. Monsieur’s a bit disappointed. “Oh no, they’ve cheated, they put sauce in” he said.
The Venison puff are very peppery inside, and the pepper actually tones down the gamey flavour of the Venison. Balance of flavour is quite nice, but the puff are dry vs the BBQ pork buns (probably because injecting sauce in them must be hard eh!)
The next dish to come is the Prawn Har Gao AUD 9 that we eat… but realize we actually haven’t order in the end, when going through the menu.
It seems they’ve swapped it for the Chicken mushroom dumpling that we never had in the end (or someone else had it?) Bit of a mix up in the kitchen, but the Prawn dumpling is good enough for us to say we don’t mind. Turns out they didn’t charge us for that one in the end anyway.
The Har Gao is great, prawn is fresh, and the pastry wrapping it is very thin, but not falling apart in any way, so these are definitely freshly made.
Next to come are the Xiao Long Bao AUD 9 for 4 . The pastry is thin but solid enough to keep the juice trapped (though Monsieur’s first Xiao Long Bao bursts due to his fat fingers hehe;)) I love it, but the ginger flavour isn’t strong enough to me, and I still much prefer the Shanghai dumplings from Din Tai Fung or those from East Ocean.
The Pork Cheung Fun or Rice noodle Roll AUD 10.80 is not the typical Cheung fun I’m used to have, and Monsieur points out why. The filling isn’t “merged” with the rice noodle roll, it’s dryer and I suspect that they use far less tapioca as the rice noodle roll appear to be far less sticky than the classic one. They’re catered to please Kweilo’s (caucasian’s) palate as Monsieur thinks he likes them the Mister Wong way better. I much prefer the classic one, and if we were to reorder again, would have gone for the noodle roll with the crispy dough.
Next to come is the Turnip Cake AUD 9.80, which used to be my father’s favourite yum cha dish. That one is very salty, and the flavour of seafood a bit overwhelming. The Pan Fried factor isn’t as strong as what I hoped for, because the crust that I usually love is a bit weak. There’s some fancy shaved dried scallops on top, but this doesn’t make up for the poor balance of the flavours. We certainly won’t recommend that dish.
In fact, had we had the choice to go back in time, we would have ordered the beijing duck to share. We saw it coming on other tables, and think this looked awesome. Shall we head back to Mister Wong, we will go for the duck!
We waited a while for the Chicken Mushroom dumplings that never came, cancelled it, and ordered the Fried Vanilla Ice cream with butterscotch sauce AUD 14. This definitely wasn’t the healthy option, but the butterscotch sauce was amazing, and was the true wow factor to that Vanilla Ice cream, but if it weren’t for that sauce, I doubt the dessert would have been a stunning one. Monsieur loved it though, and was more than happy I let him a tiny bit of my half
Overall, the bill came down to AUD 72, and though we’ve left full, I’m pretty sure we would have had a better quality yum cha at East Ocean. Granted, the view and décor in your usual Chinese restaurant isn’t what you’d come for, but the yum cha is always great at East Ocean… I felt part of the price we paid was more for the Merivale franchise, and the flavour weren’t as genuine as I’d hoped for. We will be back for the duck though, and probably the lobster Mei Si roll which looked quite good on other tables! Too bad they do not have Dou fu fa and egg tarts, this is a staple when it comes to Yum Cha!