Chef’s Gallery has certainly built a gathering of loyal dumpling lovers. The restaurant was kind enough to invite a group of food bloggers to try their winter menu; ten courses (yup ten!) of their modern Chinese offering.
The restaurant itself has a fixed address on George St, although the actual restaurant is located facing Bathurst St. Every time I drive past, the restaurant is packed and there is usually a line snaking its way out the front door. Perhaps that’s why it’s taking me so long to try Chef’s Gallery.
Once you step inside Chef’s Gallery it’s clear quality has not been compromised in terms of design and ambience. High ceilings and huge glass windows separate the chefs and the diners; it’s probably the best seat in the house as you can watch the dumpling masters and noodle kings weave their magic.
The restaurant is quite close to Town Hall train station and bus stops but parking may be a bit tricky.
I’d heard plenty of good things about the dumplings and famous piggy buns for dessert, but the spread Chef’s Gallery put out for us definitely showed they were more than just a dumpling bar.
The trillium prawn dumplings with three-coloured fish roe were definitely one of the most impressive dishes we were served on the day, based on looks. They tasted pretty good too; the skin soft but not soggy and the filling was piping hot.
The dumplings just looked too pretty to eat.
Next up were the mixed vegetable dumplings. A solid effort but nothing to right home about. Again the pastry was fresh and expertly steamed. Great option for vegetarians.
The mixing of cultures was clearly evident in the Peking duck inside a roti. The roti wasn’t as soft and tasty as Mamak, but nonetheless a solid effort. The duck was juicy and crispy and this would be something I would order again.
The next dish was intruiging, as shu mai is normally made with pork but Chef’s Gallery have filled theirs with chicken. Although still tasty, I think I prefer pork. And I wonder if the scallop with fish roe on top actually adds to the dish, or just confuses. Perhaps too much going on with this one.
The prawn and pork wontons in spicy sauce was probably one of my favourite dishes of the day. The sauce had some kick too it but didn’t overpower the aroma and taste of the dumpling. I could eat a whole bucket of these.
Recently, Sydney has been in the grip of a slider plague, with seemingly every up-and-coming restaurant having them on the menu, even Chef’s Gallery. I really liked the fried bread and the filling was okay. Solid dish.
The next dish provided a nice change of pace to our dumpling-heavy feast. Accompanied by a sweet soy sauce, I really liked the combination in the sticky rice, with parcels of chicken, mushroom and Chinese sausage buried inside.
All of the bloggers were invited into the kitchen to see the dumplings and noodles being made by hand. The noodles were really fresh and overall the dish was nice, but perhaps too much emphasis on the salt.
Phew. Nine courses done and dusted. The most unique thing about Chef’s Gallery is their piggy face dumplings; a sweet bun filled with black sesame, complete with an edible garden.
Let’s just forget about what it tastes like for a second; this is really an impressive thing to look at. There’s two scoops of ice cream, totoro marshmallow and shavings of peanut and coconut sprinkled throughout. I’m not a huge fan of dessert but I did enjoy the dessert.
So what do I think of Chef’s Gallery? Judging by the decor, dishes presented and service, it’s clear the place is a well-oiled machine. I loved the presentation of the food, with some of them looking spectacular on the plate. Not all of the dishes hit the spot, but I can say for sure, if you want to impress your friends in looks and taste, Chef’s Gallery can be a sure bet.
shiitake and stuff dined courtesy of Chef’s Gallery.