Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Me Wah Marque II

I really had to give this some thought. And why the rush? Me Wah's own website (http://www.mewah.com.au/) doesn't have their Hobart restaurant listed and even their Hobart online Yellow Pages ad shows an interior of the Launceston flagship.

It took me three visits to come to write anything, and then I'm still not sure. Here are the main things to consider:

1. This is a classy joint. More staff than you can poke a chopstick at. Crisp linen on the tables. Gorgeous silver rests for spoons and chopsticks. A wine list (and after dinner drinks trolley) to get rather excited about (even if your wallet chokes).

2. The service is very attentive. Shared dishes are not just plonked in the middle of the table, but served out to each diner. White wine is stored in a grand ice "bucket" (more a ceremonial-style bowl) in the centre of the room once opened.

3. Enclosed banquet rooms are just asking for trouble. Delightful (on the whole) decorations indicate money has been well and truly spent. Even the toilets are a treat.
4. Food? That's where I get stuck. Have been for dinner twice and lunch once (no yum cha ... sorry gang). On each occasion the meal averaged $100 per head (including wine). Not cheap. But that's silver service, isn't it?
Here's what I've sampled:
Soups - Have tried the Shark Fin Soup and the Duck Soup - both awesome
Wild Harvest Scallops - Average (better at Golden Harbour)
Jumbo Oysters - Over the top, should be experienced at least once
Seafood Medallions - Best avoided
Crab Dumplings - Beautiful the first time, subsequent samplings good but didn't repeat that standard
Duck Sang Choy Bao - Great (if somewhat OTT)
Vegetable Curry - Terrible, very "maggi"
Salt & Pepper Prawns - Not great (better at Golden Harbour)
Whole Fish - Snapper? Who knows? Disappointing regardless
Peking Duck - Delicious even if serving size disappoints
Dessert sampler - Amazing. Fantastic bird-shaped pastry thing stuffed with red bean paste (not to everyone's taste), and other delights
And more ...
To be brutally honest, I think you will get much better food (on my experience, others beg to differ) at Golden Harbour. For about half the price or less. Naturally you will not get the same experience though.
Me Wah is a "special occasion" restaurant. It plays this card for all it's worth. Lions at the door, wait-staff saturation, gorgeous decoration, and so on. Go for a treat. But unfortunately this won't become your Friday night regular (or your Sunday lunch hangover cure). Will I go back? Shit yeah, but it will be for a cashed-up banquet. None of this dicking around with the al a carte menu. Banquet options start at $65 per head.
To be fair, this place is based on the reputation of an outstanding Launceston Me Wah tradition. It is a grand enterprise in its infancy. There are enough elements to give a hint of Little Bourke St. I say, let's give it a chance to find its feet. Be patient.
GW

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well said, and have to agree- I think we were waiting for Little Bourke St to come to Hobart and maybe had our hopes up a little high?
Chinese food doesn't really lend itself to silver service, but having said that the whole thing would work better if the kitchen just lightened up a bit...a bit more bustle (sort of slapdash but more purposeful), which while not heard by diners, would still be experienced by them on the plate. If you get my drift!

Anonymous said...

Where do we find good dumplings in HobartTown?

Anonymous said...

ar well, I must say that different people have different opinion. It depends what kind of level are you in, I'll prefer service = food. No matter how good the food is, if the service is shit, then that's it. I agree, let's give them a chance and see if "Little Bourke St" can happen in Sandy Bay.
p/s Been to and had Golden Harbour food. Wasn't as great though.

Anonymous said...

did anyone check out Piccalilly's GP review in the paper today?? sounds pretty good!

Anonymous said...

yeah...I wonder how much they paid him? somethign dodgy has to be going on for GP to write a review that good.

Anonymous said...

it ain't that good. in fact very average, but that's GP to a tea.

Anonymous said...

I went to Me Wah, S Bay and was v disappointed. When I walked in the overall appearance and ambiance of the place was impressive, very palatial but the food didn't quite live up to the standard I expected. I had the hot and sour soup for entree, which was very nice, but my main was average. I had the pink ling fillets deep fried with sweet and sour sauce. It was fine, but not worth the price. The sweet and sour sauce looked and tasted like it came from a bottle - the kind you get in a shopping centre food court. My friend ordered the king prawns in a fragrant curry sauce - it was really bad. the prawns came with an interesting combination of potato and cucumber in what seemed like a corn flour thickened stock with a hint of curry powder. As for the wine list, we decided to stick to beers. The service was over the top - we had five different staff come up to us during the evening. I would go back again, but only if cashed up. I've heard good things about the Bund of Shanghai up the road - I'll be trying that one next.

Anonymous said...

Recently dined at piccalilly and come to relise that G.P. may be enjoying his wine too much! Food over priced, too small portions and service that thinks it knows everything. What interest does G.P. have in this place seeing he wrote the wine list for ONBA and didn't say anything in his article last sunday apart from that it has a "great wine list" did someone say "conflict of interest"

Anonymous said...

You're right last anon. He consults everywhere, in fact his fingerprints are on the menu at Peppermint Bay of all places & why do you think they haven't been reviewed?

Anonymous said...

I'll stick to chopsticks at Kingston. Bullshit is never on the menu there.

Anonymous said...

Just experienced "Me Wah"...

standout from our outing was the cantonese steak with broccoli... (we thought King Island Beef was tender!!!)

and having that many wait staff was kick ass... nothing like being offered another beer while swallowing the last mouthful of the one you have...

bit hexy though... ching ching...

Anonymous said...

After hearing the 'so so' comments about Meh Wah, I was feeling nervious about a birthday dinner which had been booked in weeks ago. PLeasantly surprised with how the evening went after all the slightly negative publicity (ie. 'service and atmos great, but food nothing to write home about about'). We must have lucked out with our ordering as all the meals were delicious, especially the dumplings and stirfried mushrooms. I was keen for the $65 banquet that looked like good value and took the pain out of choosing but others on the table weren't so into it but its a good reason to go back. Great service and lovely staff. Wasn't cheap but at a place like that you just have to forget about the cash and go for it. Although only came out at $60 a head for table of six (some people weren't drinking). I'll be back!
Speaking of yum cha - so sad Hobart doesn't have any anymore! Except for asian vegetarian cafe in bank arcade has yum cha at Saturdays - its delicious! Also Steve's Kebabs on Liverpool has great big japanese section with sort of yum cha-ish menu - er..except its japanese!(sushi buffet, bento box, etc). Dumplings especially yummy! Had bad wonton soup at asian place next to Red Herring on Liverpool - and friend's stirfried beef had that suspicious tenderness that only comes from dodgy meat marinated in bicarb. Oh - the endless quest for good dumplings/wontons continues.

Anonymous said...

There is a yum cha restaurant (open everyday except Tuesday) in creek road, main road Moonah called The Castle. Food is sensational, service is 'so so' but it's definitely worth a try!

Anonymous said...

ate at picalilly recently there new menu is a blinder. kidneys are a must and the cola spider desert is stuning

Ricktas said...

Dined at Me Wah (Sandy Bay) Friday night and was very disappointed. We order at 7.15, at 9.00 our entrees arrived, it took till 11.00 pm for our mains to turn up (some didnt land on the table till 11.40)

Went with 9 friends and we were less than impressed with the sloppy and at times non existent service.

Our complaint saw 30% removed from the bill total. So they must have agreed that we were treated less than standard.

Food was devine, but i won't be going back for restuarant meal. Might consider Take Away. Flourishing Court in Macquarie Street, Hobart runs rings around Me Wah.

Sadly disappointed.

Anonymous said...

We have been to Me Wah at least 6 times now, and have not been disappointed. We don't mind paying a little extra! The service and the food presentation and choice of wine is worth it.
Can highly recommend:
Assorted steamed dumplings
Wild harvest Tasmanian scallops steamed with ginger and shallots
Peking Duck
Duck Sang Choy Bao
Fried Squid Pan tossed with Spicy Salt
Imperial Lamb
Roast Duck
We always order the special fried rice and vegetables

Liam said...

Having just moved to Hobart from elsewhere in Tas I was keen to try Me Wah. As still unpacking and renovating we tried take-away. Food was average and the roast duck, although quite nice, was a tiny portion. I'll take the Bitch's recommendation and try Golden Harbour.