Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Chef's Gallery & Azuma Patisserie, Sydney CBD

When I was visiting my friends at their Lumiere apartment last week, I noticed that a new dumpling restaurant has opened up where the short lived Malay Italian fusion roti restaurant, Bonta Vita used to be over a year ago.

There is a note near the entrance advising that they are only able to accommodate a certain numbers of customers only, which was a little bit odd but then we figured out why later during the dinner.

"Aquarium" Kitchen

Like Din Tai Fung and other dumpling eateries, the kitchen is like an aquarium where you can see all the actions in the kitchen. There is non stop actions of la mian (literally translated : pulled noodle) & dumplings making throughout the night.

La Mian Making

Handmade Noodles in Double Boiled Chicken Soup

We usually don't order noodles when dining in a dumpling restaurant as it just unnecessarily take up the stomach space that is better used to store something else.
But we just couldn't resist ordering a bowl this time after seeing all the la mian actions in the kitchen.
The noodles was really good, silky smooth with a slight bite to it. The soup was even better, full of flavours and just perfect for cold windy night. 
There are of course other soup noodles option that comes with various toppings and one even with some carrot based soup ! But I think I would order it as it is, just noodle and the chicken soup - yumm....

Chef's Own Golden Snowflake Chicken
Lightly crumbed chicken fillet, very crispy, tender and moist

With name like "Snowflake Chicken", we were expecting something fancy. Instead we got a quite sad looking piece of deep fried chicken. The chicken fillet was thin, very salty, oily and it tasted a little rancid. 
I'm actually quite surprised that the oil they used to deep fry the fillet would be rancid, considering they have only been opened for 2 weeks. 
Din Tai Fung's fried chicken beats this version hands down, no doubt about that !

Zheng Jiao Zi
Steamed Pork Dumplings

Thankfully the dumplings made up for the disappointing chicken :)
The skin was perfect, not too thin and not too thick. The pork filling was seasoned well and juicy. 
Beside pork filling, you do have a choice of chicken or vegetables as well. We originally wanted to have the vegetable but was told that the vegetable option is not available to our surprise.
Luckily we are carnivores, so that's not a problem.

Jian Bao Zi
Lightly Pan Fried Pork Buns

What a plate of pretty looking buns....smooth, white and perfectly rounded.
I couldn't help feeling how smooth they were  V^_^V
The buns are equally delicious like the dumplings. Soft with a slight sweetness in it, the pork filling was juicy as well although some of us found the filling a little too soft, not much bite to it. 
The pan fried buns will take about 20minutes to come out (we were already told in advance when we placed the orders), if we had known that they will taste so good we would have ordered more ! Next time :D

Nicely furnished and decorated dining area

After we finished our savoury dishes, we had to wait a good half hour for our Piggy Face Buns dessert. We counted at least 10 waiter + waitresses checking up our docket and then checking with the kitchen what is taking them so long !!! Yes...we were wondering about that ourselves....
But we were kept entertained by the staff who were flustered and keep checking the status of the piggies on their headsets. 
The conversation went like this almost throughout our dinner "Where is the jian bao zi (earlier in the evening) and then piggy face buns (later on) for table 53 ? Roger roger !"
I couldn't help feeling like in those HK cops movies, "Roger, Sir "!!  ROFL !
Beside the buns taking so long to come out, they delivered the wrong order to our table ... 3 TIMES !!
We said amongst ourselves, if there is a 4th wrong dish arrived at our table, we are keeping it !

Steamed Sesame "Piggy Face" Buns

Oinks !!! Aren't they sooo cute !!! >_<
We squealed when the lid of the steamer was lifted up ahahahahaha....Perhaps it is taking so long to come out because they have to make the ribbon for the girl piggy ? LOL
I don't know if it's coincidental or on purpose, but the girl piggy is bigger than the boy, just like in real life !

Girl vs Boy

Closer look at the piggies - arrghhhh  !! Too cute....the perfect snout, ears and ribbons.....

Inside the Piggy Face Buns

Inside...nothing too special, it was just sesame paste bun :P Perhaps we have left it too long before we eat it (photos photos photos) as the buns were quite chewy although the sesame paste has the right level of sweetness.
The table next to ours ordered some pumpkin dessert that has been beautifully crafted into a mini pumpkin. They seems to put a lot of effort into their desserts as they all looked so beautiful.

Oinks !

Chef's Gallery seems promising, the noodles, dumplings and buns we tried were delicious. 
The service needs major ironing out, friendly but too many confusions going around. 
Wrong orders being delivered and there are times when the staffs are arguing right next to us.
Staff A : "I double ordered the dumplings for Table 20 !" - shoving the extra basket of dumplings to Staff B.
Staff B : "Why are you giving it to me ? What am I gonna do with it?!?"
Staff A : (grumbling to himself and return to the kitchen with the extra basket of dumplings)

We just listened and kept ourselves entertained that way throughout the night LOL

Now I know why the put up the notice near the entrance, as it seems that all hell will break loose if they open up the restaurant to full capacity at this stage :P

I'll definitely be back again, maybe after a month or so after they have settled down :)

Since we are already at Regents Place, might as well stopped by Azuma Patisserie for second round of dessert (and change of camera from compact to SLR hehehe...didn't feel right to whip up a big camera in the dumpling place earlier :P)
They had this special deal going at the moment, a slice of chiffon cake and a hot beverage for only $6.90 !!

My friend got her Houjicha Tea & Green Tea Chiffon Set....


Green Tea Chiffon

While I opted for Matcha Latte & Earl Grey Chiffon Cake Set....
The Earl Grey chiffon was really good, the smell of the earl grey is distinct and the cake itself is really soft and fluffy.

Matcha Latte

Earl Grey Chiffon ; Thick slice of chiffon cake :D

Azuma Patisserie on Urbanspoon

Chefs Gallery on Urbanspoon


  1. Wow - great find, especially those perfect pan fried buns! I've been wondering what was going to open here after the 'rizza' place... :)

  2. how cute are those piggy buns. I would not have been able to eat them!

    I love Azuma Patisserie. The Black Sesame Chiffon is marvellous.

  3. Tina : that's right !! it was called rizza !! I was trying to dig through my hopeless memory :P

    Amy : that's probably why they have dried out when we finally ate them lol too cute to eat !

  4. Those piggy buns are so cute! All of the steamed buns and dumplings look so perfectly formed. Will have to check this place out :)

  5. Jacq : should check it out, I went back there a few days after and the service has miraculously improved by 100% ! No more incorrect orders and the food came out very quick :D

  6. i passed this place last night and wondered what it would be like. was really popular and people waiting outside. thanks for the review. certainly sounds like the service needs to be improved. those Piggy Face Buns are pretty cute although i would have thought they would have been for the pork buns instead of the black sesame seed inside.

  7. simon : LOL !! The RSPCA will probably hunt them down if the make the pork buns as piggy faced bun ! hahahaaha

  8. Went to this place last two weeks , its bad the piggy face bun was the dish I ordered too it was also chewy. service was terrible.

  9. Excellent review! I agree about the chicken fillet, the name conjures up all sorts of wonderful things that don't quite eventuate! :)

  10. Lorraine : thanks Lorraine, so I assumed you ordered the lovely named snowflake chicken too and was dissapointed :P

  11. despite the fact it sounds like Faulty Towers, I'm still looking forward to going here sometime.