I had the privilege of being invited to attend TANG HUI close on two months ago from the delightful Naomi on her last outing with Zomato. I have been putting off writing my review for it because I knew it would be a long one. When you visit a venue this good and are given a royal-styled tasting feast and take hundreds of photos the venue needs the respect of a feature article.
TANG HUI is located in World Square Sydney and is the most opulent, the largest and the most elite venue I have visited in Sydney this year. You cannot miss the venue, it has a 3.4m high Terracotta Warrior standing guard outside the front door.
TANG HUI is spaced over two huge floors. The decor embraces the most opulent that can be had in a venue. Recently undergoing a SEVEN MILLION DOLLAR fit-out TANG HUI is sublime to be inside. It is one of those venues you can imagine Richard Attenborough sitting in the corner proudly declaring “no expense was spared.” The kitchen is stunning and mostly surrounded with a large koi pond, in the middle of the lower level, it is surrounded by glass so you can watch the chefs at work. There are further motif terracotta warriors throughout the venue and specialty tables and rooms placed strategically.
You can’t help appreciate the feng shui principles adhered to in the layout. The entry area is splashed with red and guarded, the kitchen is like a dwelling with water at its front and strong support behind. There are splashes of gold everywhere and private rooms that all adhere to similar principles. The flow, positive chi and layout feel auspicious and the only thing I had going against me was that I sat with my back to the door.
From our tour of the venue the most auspicious table, and what I would consider a culinary marvel, would be to experience a meal at the special “chef’s table.” A special red table (pictured below) that sits separated from the main dining area at a side entrance to the kitchen. I am unsure if this is an invite table only or a special booking request to be spoiled by the chefs themselves.
Towards the back of the venue we were shown another auspicious table that, if memory serves me correct, was known as the “love table,” there is a painting with Chinese characters on it that sits above the table, I am unsure of the meaning but it was explained there had been quite a few engagements proposed at this table.
In the upper levels are private rooms that can be booked for varying sized functions. One room we toured had a high back seated table that I believe seated eight people. I believe this room held a minimum spend of close on $3000- but the experience would encompass the cost.
Everywhere I looked in TANG HUI I was spellbound by the epic layout, just stunning.
TABLES AND SERVICE:
Above was our own table for the Zomato blogger’s dinner. We all had scrolled menus in front of us (I kept mine), they came bound in a beautiful red ribbon (see below). Again no expense was spared. The bottled water on the table was Tasmanian Cape Grim bottled water. It’s the only bottled rainwater in the world, with the purest rainwater harvested on days of the absolute highest air-quality in Tasmania.
Below is the Chef’s Table – I need to eat at this table one day – it just looks fantastic – eating at the side of the kitchen.
The service was 5/5 and could not be flawed in any way – considering we were also eating with heads of marketing for the company I can’t see the service had any option to be anything but perfect.
Below is the menus that everyone got, I loved it so much I read someone elses’ and kept mine as it was. It sits above my home computer.
TANG HUI FOOD:
The menu is very expensive, it is not a place one simply goes for Chinese food. Instead you visit here for special occasions.
“Chef Shuchuen Lee boasts an impressive pedigree with decades of experience in the most demanding kitchens of China. He has built up a vast repertoire of recipes, which combined with his intimate knowledge of superior products, result in inimitable dishes of great refinement.”
Like the decor the food has had no expense spared. One way to judge their food is to look at their signature dish. The traditional Peking duck is prepared according to a time honoured recipe with a process taking nearly two months – I REPEAT TWO MONTHS. The painstaking steps to create this perfect duck have been mastered over many years and result in a distinctive dish. Served with selected condiments and traditional pancakes, this is a dining experience not to be missed.
Sadly our extensive menu for the Zomato blogger’s dinner was all sample dishes, while the duck was mind blowing it was incredibly small, watching them carve it up at the table was impressive but never have I wanted to stab ten other bloggers so I could eat the entire duck to myself :).
THE SALMON AND THE CURRY:
Above was the first dish, the Smoked Salmon and Baby Rocket with Creamy Sesame Dressing. It was still being prepped in this shot so the dish wasn’t complete. As a complete dish it was delightful and I LOVED the stone plates, stunning in presentation. Even better in taste.
Below was one of the most incredible main dishes of the evening; Mild and Fragrant Curry with Prawn Cutlets, Zucchini and French Chestnuts. On the menu this dish is $58-. That should be your example of the cost of items. But seriously worth it for this dish. It was sublime. Fresh, aromatic and so moorish.
Following was the Lightly Pan Fried and Grilled Glacier 51 Toothfish with a Tropical Fruit Puree. Again as a reminder, this was a sample dish, the actual meal would be much larger and much more satisfying. The toothfish was a majority table favourite and paired with the puree created a foodgasm mouthful.
The next was one of my faves and a dish I would blow a week’s wage on. Pan Seared Canadian Scallop with Snow Peas and Homemade XO Sauce. It was criminal I only got one of these, as much as I kept on filling Naomi’s glass she never got pissed enough to allow me to plate steal. Damn you Rheinberger.
THE BEST DUCK I HAVE EVER EATEN:
Here it is ladies and gentleman, the Signature Peking Duck being deconstructed for serving at the table. Following is TANG HUI’S own story on the Peking Duck – FYI – Portion of a duck is $49 – an entire duck is $98-.
The origin of Peking duck dates back to the Ming Dynasty, a time when chefs from all over China travelled to Beijing to cook for the Emperor. It was a prestigious occupation with only the best chefs permitted in the imperial kitchens. A top Chef was even able to reach the rank of Minister. It was in these kitchens that dishes of exceptional quality, such as Peking duck, were first created and perfected by palace Chefs.
Tang Hui is the only restaurant in Australia using white feathered Peking duck to prepare our signature dish.
Authentically prepared using a time honoured recipe with a preparation requiring skill, attention to detail and time. The ducks are roasted to perfection by our Master Chefs in our specially designed ovens resulting in a crispy, beautifully lacquered and tender duck that will delight your palate with every bite.
Combined with our special selection of condiments and traditional pancakes, the result is an experience not to be missed and one that will have you returning for more.
There aren’t enough superlatives to describe the tender remarkable flavours of this dish. Serving them in a pancake seemed nearly blasphemous but this dish is about subtle brilliance, not a KFC face stuffing. To grab a leg and chew on it would ruin the flavours. Flavours that require delicate eating and respected the way it was cooked.
To be honest I am unsure if the below is the Homemade XO from the scallops or one of the condiments from the duck – regardless, I love the look of the pic.
Another sample dish for us to indulge in was a taster of TNAG HUI’S Marinated Slow Cooked Boneless Beef Ribs with Mustard Seed Sauce. It melted in our mouths. It was a sensational dish but I couldn’t order it again. Compared to all that came before it paled in foodgasm delight.
There were a couple of dishes I did not post photos for but were still amazing.
- Crispy Fried Salt and Pepper Squid – a beautiful standard that I will always have as a starter.
- Wok Fried Pork with Sweet and Sour Sauce, garnished with fresh fruits.
- Assorted Mushrooms & Black Truffle Paste Fried Rice. This dish is basically truffle rice and anything truffle makes me your bitch. I could not get enough of this dish, a meal highlight. But you have to be told – this rice dish is $42-. A worthy price for its greatness but something on my salary I would struggle to justify buying. $42 for rice.
The wine is on par with the food, it is grand. They have about seven reds and seven whites on the by-the-glass menu. Cheapest by the glass is $10- and most expensive is $18-, in comparison to the food this is really cheap. I really want to return for a glass of their 2013 Girabaldi Langhe Nebbiolo Conca Dʼoro – a grape I would nearly kill for. Following on from the by-the-glass is their Reserve Wines, these are drinks I dream of. The 2014 Earthworks Barossa Valley Shiraz is their cheapest bottle at $35- with their 2008 Dom Dugat-Py Gevrey Chambertin Premier Cru at $575- making me weak at the knees and short of breath.
Our dishes were paired with a 2012 Simon Gilbert Riesling from Orange, NSW then a 2013 Holly’s Garden Pinot Noir from Whitlands in VIC.
As for the cocktails they are a separated world from the food. Their head cocktail alchemist rules the roost on these and they appear more modern than the culinary side of the menus. All of the cocktails are seasonal and they do embrace a somewhat Asian inspiration. Don’t let the menu stop you – this guy is a master, he can make anything. Cocktails are all around $20- which is completely acceptable in pricing. Above is the MINT PATTIE: English Harbour 5 yo Rum / Mint / Chocolate / Orange & Angostura Bitters. Very satisfying.
Below is the MY BITTER X: Ketel One Vodka /Aperol/ Blood Orange Sorbet / Bubbles. Delish. And to the left I believe from memory it’s the PRESCRIPTION SOUR: Scotch Whisky / Apples / Cammomile / Honey & Ginger / Citrus / Activated Charcolar / Whites.
Things that really entice me are the cocktails with Popcorn Rum, Corn Flakes Bourbon and Beetroot Gin. It really is some alchemy. Less sweet, more experimental and unique.
But wait – there’s more…….
The TANG HUI menu offers four desserts, they also have a few dessert drinks in the drink menu. Our dessert is not on the menu. We had a TANG HUI Dessert Platter. This dessert platter was a sampler of all the desserts. It contained samples of their Walnut Cake, Sweet Tofu Macaron, Sugar Covered Cherry Tomato and 5hrs Steamed Pears with a touch of Chinese Rock Sugar. The Cherry Tomato was very interesting – that is it below – covered in the fairy floss. You MUST put the entire thing in your mouth at once as that cherry tomato is going to explode on the bite. It was a different experience having sweet and savoury in one.
I would not order the Walnut Cake as not sweet enough for my tongue but it is something my mum would love. The Tofu macaron did little for me but those pears, GIVE ME THEM ALL!!!!!! Loved them.
Base it on my Western Palate used to a world of sugar but I do find Asian desserts all a little odd. By odd I do mean different to what I am used to, it was a nice experience trying things out of the comfort zone.
TANG HUI is definitely the most high-class Chinese restaurant I have eaten at and also the most high-class venue I have visited this year. For a weekend date meal it is out of my price range but this is something I would definitely save for a special event. The service, the food and the venue is all out of this world. If my parents play their cards right we could be here for a Xmas present from me. Again – “no expense was spared.”
Tang Hui Deets:
Phone: (02) 8317 4361
Sunday – Wednesday: 12pm – 3pm 530pm – 11pm
Thursday – Saturday: 12pm-3pm 530pm – 12am
*** JK (and any guests of Spooning Australia) were invited guests of the establishment. However, as always, if it was shite I would happily tell you as such.