A hidden gem that's just as cool as its culinary creations
Johnny Wong’s Dumpling Bar is tucked into that little bit of nowhere on the landing between Kinselas and Middlebar in Taylor’s Square. You’re asked for ID on the way in, which is a bit weird if you’re not thinking of heading upstairs to the bar after dinner, but hey, at least this is the youngest we’ll ever be again, right?
It’s a small space that seats only around 25 of Darlinghurst’s best-dressed party-goers at a time, so be prepared to wait a while if you’re here during peak hour. An incredible, awesome neon sign adorns the wall, the sides of the kitchen are plastered in Chinese newspaper and it’s bright, clean and pulsing with colour, kitsch waving-cat figurines and Frank Ocean from the speakers.
The food menu is small but concise and there are a few specials that change now and then to bulk it up. As the name suggests, they’re slinging dumplings, which are on the whole tasty and make for great drinking food. The pork, Chinese cabbage and garlic- chive boiled dumplings are a little soggy, but there’s a good filling-to-dough ratio and a nice hit of ginger.
The same pork mix finds its way into the pan-fried Shanghai-style buns which are a winner with a crunchy golden base and fluffy top. The filling inside the vegetable and coriander steamed dumplings is fresh and light, but the house-made dumpling skin on these (and luckily only these) is so claggy that it sticks to everything: the plate, the roof of your mouth, your teeth and probably your intestines. But the doughnut-shaped pan-fried shallot pancakes are nicely dense and perfectly savoury with crisp edges – they're best dipped in black vinegar with a dollop of dark and thick chilli oil.
|Venue name:||Johnny Wong's Dumpling Bar|
383 Bourke St
|Opening hours:||Fri, Sat 6pm-midnight; Sun 6pm-10pm|