So obviously I knew about Chefs Gallery because it’s been around for ages. And I think I’d been before but don’t quite remember when or how or why, or even what the food was like. All I know is that before Cardinal Spin invited me to go, I had always thought of Chefs Gallery as a lesser cousin of Din Tai Fung where you can get dumplings but they’re better at Din Tai Fung so you might as well go there.
Turns out I was completely wrong!
Firstly, we rocked up on a Monday night and were completely surprised at how busy it was. There was a line outside and a waiting list! On a Monday! This place has got to be good then.
Secondly, the menu is totally overwhelming. It’s got beautiful images of every dish (not the usual dodgy Asian restaurant photography) and is massive. So much choice, I wished we were dining with a group of 10 instead of just DS and I! After some minutes deliberating on what we’d get so we would have a good variety, we decided to start with an unconventional fried rice, the Wok fried medium grain rice with three kinds of eggs (chicken egg, salted duck egg and century egg ($16.90). It was good, but not as mindblowing as I had expected and also not as pretty as what was in the menu picture. There’s definitely less ‘egg’ in ours than in the picture, which is a bit disappointing considering it’s supposed to be a three-egg fried rice!
Next up we got 2 more ‘starter’ kind of dishes that are my favourites. The first is a Chinese roti (who knew such a thing existed!) which is kind of like a big open spring roll in crispy roti pastry. We got the Shredded Peking duck with cucumber, hoisin sauce rolled inside a fluffy Chinese roti ($17.90) which was basically like having peking duck pancakes but all wrapped up already in a crispy pancake! My other favourite is what we in our household just call ‘THE BEANS’, a.k.a. ‘four seasons beans’ in Chinese or Wok fried green beans with finely minced pork and prawns ($17.90) in English. Can’t go wrong with these beans really, tasty, crunchy, yummy, they work well in any context.
We thought it would be good to try something new and random as well, so we looked to the menu items that had ‘signature’ next to them and picked out something that is supposed to be a menu highlight. We picked Chef’s Gallery‘s version of Surf & Turf – Lightly fried and salted fish fillet served with a mixed Chinese salad with broccoli, black fungus, red kidney beans, bamboo shoots, shimeji mushrooms, cordyceps flowers and cherry tomato. Crispy pork belly drizzled with a dash of gula melaka flavoured with cinnamon and mandarin peel ($29.90). This was the most disappointing dish by far. It didn’t really look like the picture, the fish was super dry, the meat was really tough and dry as well, and all the vegetables were cold. Like, really cold. Not quite sure if they were meant to be a salad? Surely not with black fungus included? We couldn’t even eat this after a few bites and unfortunately had to just leave it all.
The grand finale was a dessert I’d heard heaps about in the past and was so excited to try. Chefs gallery has been known for it’s super cute dessert buns and in particular creating little ‘scenes’ on your dessert plate such as a Totoro and piggy bun scene in the past. So obviously we had the get the Piggy and Eggy Fairyland – Prince and Princess Piggy (sesame buns) and their friends Eggy and Yolky (egg custard buns) meeting up in the milky way surrounded by magical stars and meteors ($24.90).
Yes, it’s just as ridiculous as it sounds.
DS and I amused ourselves for quite some time with the ‘spewing’ egg buns and just kind of stared in disbelief as this huge plate arrived on our table before we tucked in. It’s way too much dessert for two people, so we just had the buns, a little bit of the matcha and strawberry ice cream and a tiny bit of fairy floss. This is definitely something you’d order more for the amusement factor than anything else!
Overall, we really did enjoy our Chefs Gallery experience and would’ve loved to try more on the menu. They do actually have dumplings (quite a big selection!) but it’s by no means the main thing that they do. I’d be keen to come back for some of the noodle dishes in particular!
Regent Place Ground Floor
Shop 12, 501 George Street
Disclaimer: talk&spoon & DS were invited to dine at Chefs Gallery with thanks to Anne at Cardinal Spin.