It's a classic case of east meets inner west as hospitality heavyweights Merivale open modern Cantonese restaurant Queen Chow at Enmore's Queens Hotel. Located at the back of the first level of the old pub, the new eatery serves Hong Kongese street food and yum cha-inspired delicacies in a glamorous old-school imperial dining house.
As usual, Merivale has the very best in kitchen staff — this time it's executive chefs Patrick Friesen and Christopher Hogarth from Manly's Papi Chulo, as well as dumpling master Eric Koh (ex-Tim Ho Wan and Mr Wong). Their menu, which can be ordered throughout the venue, includes dim sum, barbecued meat platters, live seafood and decadent desserts — definitely not your usual pub Chinese (and thank God for that).
After 30 years of pastry parcel packing, Koh has his dough down to a fine art. His dumpling menu features a range of more-exotic-than-usual fillings beyond the basic pork and chive, including jade seafood, crystal pumpkin, Alaskan crab, and lobster and asparagus, each one pleated and pinched to perfection ($12-16). The dim sum menu also includes plenty of deep-fried goodness such as crispy duck spring rolls ($12) and the cloud-like pork and prawn 'footballs' ($12) made with chewy gelatinous rice flour and coated in toasted sesame seeds. In sport speak, this dish really kicks a goal.
Beyond the bamboo baskets, highlights from the menu include a peppery black Angus beef, baby king oyster mushroom and potato stir-fry ($32) — the restaurant's clever take on a pub steak and chips — and the South Australian pippies in a garlicky swamp of black bean, chilli and Young Henrys Natural Lager ($36); the smooth rectangular shells make the perfect spoon for slurping up leftover sauce.
For large groups it makes sense to order the combination roast meats platter ($75), which includes their signature roast duck and honey-glazed pork neck and spare ribs. It's the perfect middle-of-the-table dish for picking and sharing, although I can't guarantee that it will last very long.
Need a drink to wash it down? Forget the Chinese tea, this is Young Henrys territory. The front bar serves a respectable selection of tap beers and aromatic wines from $8 a glass. From the cocktail menu, we recommend skipping the apple and rhubarb Chow Sour — which, for the restaurant's namesake cocktail, is overly sweet and unmemorable — and going for the Genghis Can ($17). More than just a gloriously punny name, the bloody mary-inspired bevvy contains Wyborowa vodka, tomato juice, hoisin sauce, Sriracha and shiitake juice served in a tin can. For a larger selection of drinks and an enchanting garden rooftop terrace, head one level up to The Smelly Goat, The Queens' cocktail bar.