Chefs Gallery

November 4, 2011 at 9:14 pm (Chinese, Sydney) (, )

It only took one photo of the steamed ‘piggy face’ buns to go up on Facebook for pretty much everyone in my friendship circle to want to go to Chefs Gallery; so named on account of the glass windows which allow full view of the kitchen and the chefs working their magic.  It seems like the novelty has worn off over the past year or so because we haven’t had to line up over our past few visits, which is good for us, but a shame for the restaurant really because there’s definitely a lot more to the menu than steamed buns.

There are several items on my must-try list for Chefs Gallery.  Noodles are the first order of business because they are handmade to order and so many tasty options.  The spinach noodles stir-fried with seafood and dried prawn roe are definitely my favourite (although I’m possibly a bit biased since this was the first solid food I had after having my wisdom teeth removed and being on a soup/congee/Up’n’Go diet for a month).

Next is the three egg fried rice; the mix of preserved duck egg and century egg is one of the classic combinations that never fails to taste awesome.  The ‘non-three-egg’ fried rice is pretty bland by comparison.

Spinach and egg tofu is a chef’s special for good reason.  If you haven’t tried it before, egg tofu can be found in Asian grocers; it’s slightly yellow in colour compared with normal tofu and has a texture similar to silken tofu.  Chefs Gallery’s version is made in-house and set with a layer of spinach.  The deep fried portions are crisp on the outside, silky smooth on the inside and topped with a light soy dressing and crunchy ‘choi bo’ (preserved vegetable).

Roti with pork floss is always popular.  The handmade pancakes are crisp and fluffy, much more enticing than dense, soggy shallot pancakes often served elsewhere.  Not so sure about the new ham and pineapple or cheese and mushroom versions though.

The menu has recently expanded significantly to include a large range of share dishes for ‘Chinese tapas’ style dining as well as a yum cha menu.  The mini pork burgers are really cute; slivers of marinated pork in a deep fried sweet bun.  The sweet bun, ‘ngun see goon’, is a traditional Chinese bun that is often served plain with sweetened condensed milk for dipping.  It goes really well with savoury fillings.

The prawn ‘har gau’ are quite good, with plump prawn filling and thin, translucent skins.  ‘Har gau’ filling-to-skin ratios have been dropping noticeably at many restaurants but that’s not the case here thankfully.

We also tried the pan fried chicken and shiitake mushroom buns.  This is the only item I’ve found to be disappointing to date.  ‘San jien bao’ are supposed to be ‘fry-steamed’, like potstickers, but it seems like these buns were steamed and then fried afterwards to crisp up the base.  As a result, they were pretty dry and only luke warm when served.

The old menu had a pretty limited range of dessert options.  And no, I have not ordered the ‘piggy face’ buns; they’re quite over-priced for what are essentially steamed black sesame buns and I doubt the decorations add much to the flavor.  I quite liked the pumpkin dumplings; lotus seed paste encased in an orange, rice flour skin, shaped to look like mini pumpkins.  Sad that these aren’t on the menu anymore, although the new menu has many more desserts, adding a selection of ice creams (including the requisite black sesame, green tea and mango), ‘tofu fa’ pudding, egg tarts, fruit tarts and cute little marshmallow rabbits coated with dessicated coconut (photos from the website).  The rabbits are on my list for next time- they look like little Totoros 😀

All in all, I definitely recommend a visit to Chefs Gallery if you’re in the mood for Chinese.  The wait staff are always welcoming and very efficient.  Food comes out very quickly thanks to the dedicated chefs (although don’t be too surprised if dishes come out in a weird order or even just all at once).  There’s a great selection of dishes, many of which are interesting twists on traditional recipes and, with the expanded menu, it shouldn’t be hard for everyone to find something they like.

 

Chefs Gallery on Urbanspoon

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