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Chef's Gallery

 

CG_02I must admit I am more than a little partial to some magic with my meal. And pure unalloyed wizardry like this should come with an entry ticket!

How can a lump of dough, no matter how carefully made, be swung and passed hand to hand, looped and handled like a skein of wool, until it becomes - lo and behold - a skein of silken, absolutely precisely even noodles that are then cooked on the spot and transformed (before your very eyes) into your meal?

I have to admit to loitering brazenly in Bathurst Street, Sydney outside the kitchen window of Chef's Gallery, mesmerised by the beauty of the team's actions as they loop and stretch and loop again. Loop and pass hand to hand. Loop again. OK, you get the rhythm.

So of course I couldn't get inside quickly enough to try for myself what people are talking about. Most of the heads bent low over noodle bowls and tables at this new eatery on the outer perimeter of Chinatown, look to me to be 'of Asian appearance'. Good sign.

I order noodles of course just to see 'my' noodles being made. It's as much science as art, I am told. A piece of the 'mama dough' is first twisted off to form the 'baby dough'. It takes approximately two minutes to pull one serve of noodles, with a cooking time of 20 seconds.

The quantities need to be exact: 150 grams of dough equates to 128 strands of soup noodles; while 180 grams of dough equates to 64 strands of fried noodles. Once cooked, the lifespan of a batch of noodles averages only 60 seconds.

The staff at Chefs Gallery (all of whom come from China and Thailand) are at pains to ensure the noodles are served speedily and - here comes my responsibility .. customers are encouraged to enjoy them just as quickly.

That part is not hard as these are the freshest, tastiest noodles I have eaten and that goes for everything else I try the day I visit- cucumber salad with chilli, pork belly rolls with vinaigrette laced with 11 secret spices, carpaccio-thin Shanghainese beef, and a Chinese new year dish of radish cake. Delicious! 

Then there are crumbed Australian wild-caught prawns with fermented rice, roti with pork floss (how do they do that!) and shallots - like a sort of Asian pizza. I try an addictive northern Chinese condiment, a mix of vinegar and house-made chilli oil that has almost a coffee flavour. 

CG_01Executive Chef, Edward Zhao, and his team have thoughtfully selected over 100 dishes to reflect home-style northern Chinese food with a modern twist - from dumplings, wontons and traditional Chinese pastries to meat, seafood and vegetarian dishes.

We lift our heads after the meals and sigh happily, absolutely satisfied. And this is all without desserts! We refuse them, but 'just in case' a couple of the cutest little piggy-face steamed buns filled with red bean paste appear on our table.

Chefs Gallery lives up to its name. With museum-like décor, the restaurant features contemporary interiors and the largest open kitchen in a Chinese restaurant in Sydney. Seating 110 patrons, Chefs Gallery showcases ancient replicas of age-old bronze ware and original Chinese calligraphy which have been sourced and sent from China.

It's a busy place, made busier by the dozens of waiters and the constant activity of the cooks behind the plate glass viewing window. Noodle magic.

Chefs Gallery, Shop 12 (facing Bathurst Street), Ground Floor Regent Place, 501 George Street, Sydney, 02 9267 8877

Open 7 days, Lunch 11am-3pm, Dinner 5-10pm

www.chefsgallery.com.au

 

 

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