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  • Writer's pictureThe Beagle

Queen Chow lifts the bar for South Coast dining and gains a well deserved hat

Cooking with fire, heightened Thai food and a regional dining boom were key trends at at The Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide 2023 awards on Monday night, returning after a three-year hiatus with a record number of hats.

The awards ceremony at Shell House Dining Room & Terrace in the CBD was attended by 350 chefs and restaurateurs who snacked on lobster rolls and oysters with finger lime.

Winning the very first HAT for a Narooma restaurant was Queen Chow.

Narooma's Whale Inn is the host venue of "Queen Chow",the third outlet in the Merivale suite that sets out to bring the best of Hong Kong to the table. Sydneysiders have long been able to enjoy "Queen Chow" in Manly and Enmore however, the recent acquisition of the Whale Inn in Narooma by Merivale presented an opportunity to bring the flavours of Hong Kong to one of Narooma's most celebrated venues. The restaurant is restyled to provide comfortable lounge space for a cocktail or two before transitioning to your table. Much like the cocktails serve at the sister venue "The Quarterdeck" the opportunity for a palette cleanser is highly recommended. The other parallel worth mentioning before going on to the food and menu is that, like The Quarterdeck, the attention to service is commendable. From the moment you arrive you can feel the lift in the surrounds that affords understood delivery of considered hospitality at a level we rarely see on the coast. In itself, to see Merivale bring this level of service to its venues, will hopefully inspire other venues to meet the bar that comes sound training and great teamwork between front and back of house (the chefs). At its heart the menu comprises simple, well-executed dishes created by Tal Buchnik (formerly Mr. Wong) and Queen Chow Manly’s Toby Worthington featuring our own local produce. And what joys await. The following is an unpaid, honest review by the Editor of The Beagle. Delectable mouthfuls, one after another that began with steamed dumplings prepared by dumpling master, Eric Koh. The mushroom dumplings are divine.

Next came the sashimi, mandarin ponzu, chilli, green shallot oil. If the chef is reading this review then PLEASE bottle that mandarin ponzu sauce!! At the very least enter it in the Moruya Show where it will deservedly win Sauce of the Show.

The Balmain bug omelette, fragrant chilli oil and fried bread was an unknown but so worth the menu selection. The bug was delivered in a fluffy egg white cloud drenched in a chilli oil that you wanted more of, searching the bottom of the bowl for the very last drop. Again this chilli oil is a take home opportunity, if only it was bottled.

Next came the Kung pao chicken, peanuts and garlic shoots. The chicken, marinated in the classic sweet-sour-salty Kung Pao sauce accompanied by a serve of fried rice was the perfect end to a diverse lunch that started with perfect dumplings and ended with the joys of spicy lips.

There were times during the lunch when I was happily taken back to the Cantonese street vendors in temple Street or Tg Pagar Road in Singapore. In all, an enjoyable lunch with friends enjoying the essence of Hong Kong delivered with style overlooking the Narooma Inlet. Today Hong Kong didn't feel so far away. NOTE: My meal was NOT paid for, nor is this an advertisement. This review by The Beagle editor came as a surprise to the restaurant (as it should) and everything said above is exactly how it was - Yum, professional and most of all enjoyable. I chose to write it because I appreciate the fact that we have Queen Chow on our doorstep and I want to celebrate the fact. Lei If you want more information on Queen Chow you can find their website HERE


NOTE: Comments were TRIALED - in the end it failed as humans will be humans and it turned into a pile of merde; only contributed to by just a handful who did little to add to the conversation of the issue at hand. Anyone who would like to contribute an opinion are encouraged to send in a Letter to the Editor where it might be considered for publication

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