I’m constantly impressed by just how damn successful Chef’s Gallery is. The restaurant, which has a flagship at Town Hall but has expanded in recent years to places like Parramatta and Hurstville, is constantly one of the busiest dining spots in the area, always commanding a wait list that can stretch to an hour if you aren’t wise enough to show up earlier on the night. The comprehensive and colourful menu definitely has something to do with the high demand; it’s one of the biggest ranges of a pan-Asian restaurant in Sydney and always offers plenty of choice to regulars.
A dynamic kitchen that’s always introducing new dishes doesn’t hurt either. And with the popularity of this place only continuing to rise, it seems a good time for them to introduce one of their biggest menu changes yet, with inventive flavour combos ranging from small to larger dishes. One such example is the flash fried medium wagyu beef ($28.90) which is served in bite sizes with crushed black pepper and a black pepper dipping sauce. It’s got a huge kick to it, and the beef is of the perfectly tender, melt-in-your-mouth variety; an essential starter and one of the best choices for the new menu.
They’ve changed their popular mini burgers as well, which I’m not sure was a good move. Now you’ve got Macanese styled mini burgers ($16.90 for 3) with pork fillet, pork floss, lettuce and a sweet chilli mayo dressing. On my visit the buns were tough (when on previous visits they have been soft and milky) and the pork was dry and flavourless, a move away from the usually sweet and enjoyable burgers.
Much better is the shredded lamb ($17.90) with spicy cumin rolled up inside flaky roti bread. There may be a bit too much seasoning, but the lamb is nice and deliciously soft, all perfectly bundled up in slightly buttery, endlessly flaky Chinese roti. Though anything wrapped up in roti is usually a winner here, like the flaky Chinese roti with cheese & mushrooms ($13.90) which turns it up a notch as far as indulgent amounts of melted cheese go.
The best approach at Chef’s Gallery is shared-style dishes so other strong choices would be the lightly battered King Prawns ($25.90) served up with wasabi mayo and flying fish roe, as well as egg and spinach tofu ($17.90), the surprising show-stealer of the night with beautiful silky tofu that’s been lightly fried and flavoured with house-made soya sauce. It’s a better choice than the dry and disappointing roast deboned duck ($31.90 for half duck) with lychees and chilli plum sauce.
Though some of the savoury items can miss the mark, it seems Chef’s Gallery can do no wrong when it comes to dessert. Their cutesy buns are the most popular alongside with the typical egg pancakes, but the mango granita ($13.90) deserves just as much attention. It’s served up with coconut cream, nata de coco and slices of fresh fruit with crunchy granola sitting on top. Sweet and clean, it’s a gentle, refreshing end to the night.
Town Hall – Shop 12, 501 George Street Sydney NSW 2000
Macquarie Shopping Centre – Shop 402, North Ryde NSW 2113
Bankstown – Little Saigon Plaza Ground Floor – Shop 203, 462 Chapel Rd Bankstown
Parramatta – Westfield Parramatta Ground Floor – Shop 2184, 159-175 Church St Parramatta
Hurstville – Westfield Hurstville, Forest Rd Entrance, Hurstville