The Unbearable Lightness of Being Hungry | A Sydney Food Blog

Mr Wong, Bridge Lane, Sydney

August 13th, 2012  |  Published in Restaurants  |  5 Comments

Mr Wong, Bridge Lane, Sydney

Mr Wong on Bridge Lane is next-level great – it’s the James Bond of yum cha restaurants. Whereas other eateries rely on the charm of leaky teapots and lazy-susan spins, this new place has sharp-suited waiters, details revved up to design-to-impress levels and there’s enough exotic glamour to fuel three Daniel Craig films.

Mr Wong, Bridge Lane, Sydney

And like the heavily hyped instalment of each new Bond film, the arrival of Mr Wong is a big deal. This 240-seater restaurant, which officially opened on Friday, is the latest Merivale venture for Dan Hong and Jowett Yu, who have been doing awesome things at Ms G’s. Rounding out their A-team is Eric Koh, from London’s Michelin-starred Hakkasan, as Head Dim Sum Chef.

Mr Wong, Bridge Lane, Sydney

Even the most clueless person could guess that the food will be great. Yet, every brilliant dish catches you off-guard; you have to take a second to register how truly good the menu is. So when the dim sum arrives, the opening of the bamboo steamers leads to quick plate-piling – each person air-lifting their share of Steamed Barbecue Pork Buns ($9.80), Xiao Long Bao ($9) or Dumplings ($9) encasing mushrooms or asparagus and scallops – and all this activity turns our table into an echo chamber of “that’s amazing!” and other remix versions of such praise. Tom not only talks up the Baked Venison Puffs ($10.80), but endearingly calls them Asian sausage rolls. Also, as if we would not use this dim-sum-ripe opportunity to say things like, “Amazing buns!” and yet still mean it in the most innocent, single-entendre of ways.

Mr Wong, Bridge Lane, Sydney

In an interview with Hospitality magazine, Dan Hong mentioned how he wanted Mr Wong to offer a “lighter” take on Cantonese food – “We want to steer away from those heavy, thickened sauces that a lot of neighbourhood Cantonese restaurants do” – and that definitely comes across in dishes like the Sichuan-style Eggplant ($18), which usually is super-caramelly and overloaded; here, it’s so light that it could do handsprings – but the flavours are far from erased; in fact, the eggplant is beautifully modulated by herbal and aromatic reveals. This is definitely one of my favourites on the menu.

Mr Wong, Bridge Lane, Sydney

The Wok-fried Cultivated Mushrooms ($26), though, are a total soy bomb, packed with an arsenal of stir-fried enoki, oyster, shimeji and other fungus varieties. I have a feeling it’s a close relation to a dish at sister restaurant Ms G’s, where mushrooms are cooked in an ultra-savoury sauce made with butter and Maggi seasoning. Cathy really loved the Mr Wong version and its heavy-hitting impact.

Mr. Wong’s Crispy Skin Chicken ($28 for half) also got big applause on our table (Tom said any lifetime where you got to enjoy both this and The Dark Knight Rises made for a good existence) while the unassuming Steamed Chinese Broccoli ($12) is like the crack version of the steamed greens you guilt-trip yourself into ordering at yum cha – it’s slathered in this ridiculous mix of oyster sauce and garlic oil that could turn anything into a habit-forming activity.

Mr Wong, Bridge Lane, Sydney

And while dessert at yum cha is usually a functional plate of oranges or a been-there-done-that selection of mango pudding or sticky rice – at Mr Wong, there’s nothing standard-issue about what’s on offer. We ordered every single dessert possible and they’re all meal-ending knockouts: the Cream Cheese Ice Cream ($14) with meringue, strawberries, Thai basil and “more please” macadamia praline was zippy, unexpected and delicious; the surprise element of crumbly, baked streusel really added to the Roast White Chocolate Ice Cream ($14) and its bracing yuzu curd and flourishes of longans and raspberries; the Green Apple Ice ($14) was a lighter, ultra-refreshing option, with osmanthus jelly, water chestnuts and coconut sorbet; and there’s nothing airy at all about Mr. Wong’s Deep-fried Ice Cream ($14), which takes the classic Chinese-restaurant staple, gives you the option of having it in vanilla or chocolate, and then serves it with butterscotch sauce that is equal parts salty-sweet and addictive.

Mr Wong, Bridge Lane, Sydney

Because we ordered with such freewheeling abandon, I was ready for Bill Shock when it came to paying. But the tally was incredibly reasonable (around $40 a head, including tip), especially for the quality of the food. Note, though, if you have eight or more people, you’ll be charged a minimum of $70 per person plus 10% service fee.

One of the restaurant’s charms is its unshakeable atmosphere. The period decor (with calligraphy, inlaid fan motifs and china plates on the walls; bamboo chairs as seating; even the toilets have elegant, Oriental-style doors), plus the jazzy soundtrack and the suited staff all have a time-tripping way of making you seem like you’re somewhere else. “It’s like we’re in 1930s Shanghai,” says Cathy.

In 2012 Sydney, though, I’m happy we have Mr Wong.

Mr Wong, 3 Bridge Lane, Sydney NSW (02) 9240 3000,



  1. so many food bloggers have already been to Mr Wong and it’s only been opened since Wednesday. I am very impressed with what you’ve shown so far. Think it’s time I plan my visit 😛

  2. OohLookBel says:

    Mr Wong surely takes Canto food to the next level. By the way, did you see the burly guy in tux who looked like the doorman at the local RSL – James Bond henchman if there ever was one.

  3. sydneycool says:

    Sure is busy but Mr Wong is worth a look

  4. sonya says:

    I’m taking tony for his birthday in a couple of weeks – can’t wait! now we no longer live in sydney, I pay even more attention to your blog and try and be super strategic with our meals when we do visit 🙂 really hope to make it to the cafe ish burger bar too!

  5. leetranlam says:

    @Sonya – What a lovely gesture. And thanks for your lovely words! Hope Tony has a brilliant birthday there, and hope you both have an exceptional meal at Mr Wong! Ish is fun, too. And if you have a sweet tooth, it’s worth dropping by the Kakawa Chocolates pop-up at Gaffa Gallery.

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Hi, I'm Lee Tran Lam. When not blogging with my mouth full, I'm usually writing, presenting Local Fidelity on FBi radio, making zines, producing podcasts or continually breaking promises about how I really am gonna get through my book pile one day.

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This is a blog about eating and drinking in Sydney, Australia (with the odd cross-border or off-topic detour). BYO appetite.

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