Mahjong Room
312 Crown St
Surry Hills, Sydney

The Mahjong Room has recently commenced it's new Open Rice Open Table venture. Open Rice means to start a meal in Cantonese. Open Table simply means to start or open up the table for a game of mahjong - and you can play here too if you want! The concept of combining both is great. The food is billed as a combination of Chinese yum cha and hawker-style  street food and it's very fresh and very tasty.

I was dining with D as Mlady wasn't available for this. The place is deceptive. It seems very small until you discover it has several other rooms at the rear and even one upstairs. Unlike many yum cha places you order from a menu by simply marking what you want. You can of course add extras as you to as well.

We started with the rice roll with XO prawns which was in the section on the menu headed Steamed Cheung Fun and Others.

I wasn't sure what we would get to be honest but what did arrive was so fresh and tasty.

Two rolls with plump prawns inside were delivered. They hadn't skimped on the filling either.

They were nicely presented.

They were clearly freshly made.

They were delicious as well.

It's almost impossible not to get something deep fried when you have yum cha. At least for me it is! Yes I know there is this thing called will-power - or so I'm told. One day I'll find it somewhere I'm sure.

The deep fried prawn and chicken wontons sounded good on the menu and they turned out to taste great as well.

The wontons were crisp but not over cooked to the shattering stage which was good.

The filling was juicy as well and had nice flavours.

Presentation was again well done and the tangy sauce went well with the wontons.
One of my favourites at most yum cha places is the garlic chive and prawn dumplings.

When I saw the spinach and prawn steamed dumplings I thought that was close enough. Clearly they aren't the same dish but I love dumplings with prawns - they go so well together as the prawns stay juicy and the dumpling doesn't overpower the sweet taste.

These plump juicy dumplings exploded with juicy flavour when we bit into them.

They were really nice.

The next one (in fact the next two dishes) was amazing.

This is a must order dish here - trust me you wont regret it.

Its described as roasted pork belly on steamed buns. Simple but so understated.

What arrived were two buns with the most delicious pork belly inside.

The skin was beautifully crisp and the flavours went so well together.

We both could have eaten a few more plates of this dish alone!

Then there was the next dish - another must have one again!

This time it was roast duck with cucumber on steamed buns.

I loved both the "bun" dishes - as did D - but for me the duck was slightly better than the pork - but only just. At least mine was for me! If you're a pork lover then you'd probably prefer that one. These were killer dishes though that I'd gladly have all day or night.

Maybe it's just my love affair with duck - I don't know - but it was great.

Again we could have eaten more of these tasty treats.

Finally - well finally for the main meal part - we moved on to the poached dumplings with blue swimmer crab.

The simple description had my attention straight away. Blue swimmer crab is a great filling if done well.

These came in a subtle broth that didn't overpower the dumplings. I liked them but they may have been just as nice or even nicer without the broth.

It was great that you could actually taste the crab here - so many crab dishes in places kill the crab taste with heavy handed use of spices.

Of course dessert is such an important part of any meal - at least for me it is!

D and I both liked the sound of the banana spring rolls. Something different we thought. They were. We both loved them. Thin crisp pastry surrounded warm banana with a side of ice cream and fresh fruit. For me the spring rolls alone were everything I wanted and more. You must try them.

Finally we ended with custard tarts. These were also great and arrived warm, fresh and oh so tasty. If you're a tart lover then these tarts are for you!

Throw in a few nice cocktails and a small but reasonable wine list and you get a great experience all round here.

Mahjong Room has vibrant fresh food and attentive pleasant service.

It's one of the few Chinese restaurants in the Surry Hills area and it's worth visiting.

Sir and Mlady dined as guests of Mahjong Room and William Hui.

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