Work­ing out nicely

This cool Asian restau­rant popped up and de­cided to stay

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - Best Weekend - - PLANNER - Re­nata.gortan@news.com.au Twit­ter: @Re­nataGor­ton

Name: Work In Progress Ad­dress: 50 King St, City Ph: 9240 3000 Cui­sine: Asian Bill for 3: $60

Apop-up is a great mar­ket­ing ex­er­cise, a way to test the wa­ters be­fore com­mit­ting to a full-blown restau­rant. A culi­nary ver­sion of try-be­foreyou-buy, if you will. If all goes well, it can re­main open, but if things don’t go quite ac­cord­ing to plan, you can pack up with­out hav­ing risked it all. Luck­ily, it was a case of the for­mer for Work In Progress, but it prob­a­bly didn’t hurt that Merivale was be­hind the venue.

Pa­trick Friesen took a break from Merivale’s BBQ smoke­house Papi Chulo, to cre­ate foods that chefs like to eat — and judg­ing by the menu, that’s fried chicken and noodles.

Ph­nom Penh wings come with lime and white pep­per ($16), there’s fried chicken with gin­ger and nuoc cham ($16), fried chilli chicken with peanuts ($16) or go the combo — half chilli, half gin­ger — ($18) for the best of both worlds.

The chilli sauce is nice and sticky and it’s good to see the rice flour bat­ter holds up well and doesn’t dis­in­te­grate when lib­er­ally doused. Like all re­spectable fried chicken, it’s on the bone so it’s all about eat­ing with your hands. To aid in this pur­suit, the ta­bles are set with handy wet wipes next to the chop­sticks.

The plain chicken has no sauce, so there’s ex­tra crunch fac­tor, the nouc cham dip­ping sauce has a good kick to it and comes with a side of kim­chi, pick­led daikon and gar­lic cu­cum­bers.

The noo­dle dishes — in­clud­ing won­ton mein, egg noo­dle, port and prawn won­ton, supreme broth ($16), Sichuan duck and tofu lo mein ($16) — aren’t the mam­moth bowls you get in Chi­na­town. Th­ese are smaller so you can fit in a few other dishes, and are heav­ier on noodles rather than broth. Cur­ried wagyu brisket lo mein ($16) is thick and rich but the meat could have been softer.

From the name, it’s easy to see that agedashi-ish tofu ($14) won’t be what you’re used to. For one thing, it’s a mam­moth serve, not just a few cubes in dashi broth, and we’re happy the kitchen has been heavy-handed on the gar­nish: loads of bonito flakes plus creamy globs of Kewpi may­on­naise.

Won­tons ($12) are also a win­ner, the silky skins fat with a juicy pork and prawn fill­ing, topped with peanuts and sesame seeds.

Merivale is still call­ing this a pop-up space, but with no plans to close and talk of more to come from the venue later this year, it’s safe to say it’s pro­gress­ing nicely.

The funky in­te­rior of Work In Progress in the heart of Syd­ney’s CBD (main); and (above) the clev­erly named agedashi-ish tofu ($14) is a huge serve with plenty of gar­nish. Pic­tures: John Fotiadis

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.