Chow Bar & Eating House

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Sydney's dining scene has become a game of musical chairs. A fickle beast, that's for sure. Chef Chui Lee Luk of Claude's fame (R.I.P. and case in point) is the latest to venture into more casual dining, a glaring sign of the times. Chow Bar & Eating House sits flush on Crown Street at the former Bentley restaurant site (who has upped stumps to the Radisson Blu Hotel in the CBD) - it's hard to keep up some times! This is an exercise in getting back to basics.

Drunken mussels with beer, galangal, lemongrass. A very similar dish featured in Claude's - quick, hot and moorish

As with so many venues in Sydney these days the emphasis is placed on beverages (you know what I mean) where the margins are much higher. Food is often an afterthought as a result (fried chicken and burgers get a bit old after a while) but not so at Chow. Luk's menu is an homage to her Malaysian roots and classical French training and technique. Seated at our long table with mahjong tiles inlaid, we soaked up the relaxed Sunday afternoon vibes. And to the difficult task of choosing from the menu, with a good range dishes  for sharing. Happy days.

The interiors by Giant Design remind me of a sort distressed version of the ritzy Mr Wong's on Bridge Lane. A den for drinks and snacks aplenty, this is a parlour without the seedy underbelly

First, some bar snacks to whet the appetite

Cannon Shot Dumplings filled with roast pork, shiitake, yam bean (L). Chilli dipping sauces (R). The dumplings were delicious morsels, delicately fried. So tiny you could easily polish off a bowl yourself but save room for what's to come!

Xin Chow Bao - DIY goat sausage, lettuce wrap. This dish was one of my favourites, a play on the traditional sang choi bao - this version uses goat (but you would never know, to be honest). The sausages are house made and boy doesn't that make a difference; juicy, succulent and begging you to go in for more

The main event

Fried cauliflower, seeds, hot mustard. This came in second for me, the heat from the mustard is a nice combo with the humble cauliflower. However I would have to say some pieces were a bit bitey and undercooked :/

Whole fish, black bean, capsicum, garlic. This dish is a total staple in traditional Chinese cooking. The fish was steamed to perfection and the black bean sauce a perfect complement - this one was gone in a flash

And Sweetie, darling

Avocado blancmange with cocoa jelly, pear, caramelised white chocolate. Wowsers, another beautiful Chui Lee Luk dessert. Thrown together with panache this dish is the perfect union of textures and flavour. The avocado blancmange itself was a  heavenly soft mousse, the dusting of white chocolate just in the right proportions. Miam-miam!

Egg custard tart (dan tat), a dish referenced from the hallowed halls of yum-cha. This Frenchified version served warm is no match to the original I'm afraid

Chow Bar & Eating has its sights firmly set on the bearded hipster Surry Hills set. Not taking itself too seriously and shaking the fusty rep of fine dining, this bar slash diner is all about a warm welcome, fun times and full bellies. Enjoy this one.

Numero uno, the mahjong mats set into the tables. A nice touch along with the joss stick (incense) inspired chopstick holders

Thanks for reading!
xGourmand Chow Bar and Eating House on Urbanspoon


  1. Wow, some interesting dishes on offer. Thanks for sharing - have heard some mixed feedback so far, but will check it out ;)

  2. Ooh shame about the undercooked cauliflowers. The mah jong table surfaces look so cool but I'd be tempted to play instead! lol

  3. oh my! You made me very hungry. Love the spread you shared.



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