“The sauce is quite good,” I say, gesturing at the Burnt Cabbage ($18) with fish sauce butter. “It is. What do you think about Kiss,” my dining companion snarks, “it’s Chinese Ester, but at least Ester gives you the full half cauliflower.” The eclectic (and often inappropriate) music is not solely responsible for his mood. Our meal got off to a shaky start when, after arriving twelve minutes early for our short hour and forty-five minute sitting, we were studiously ignored by the kitchen for three excruciating minutes. It put us in our place – the restaurant is called Master after all. Chef John Javier makes many dishes with minimal ingredient costs – the small mound of pickled Watermelon ($12) with preserved mustard and nori is another (albeit tasty) example. The mostly biodynamic wine list is hard to find value on, and selections like the 2014 Jean-Christophe Garnier Chenin Blanc ($75) won’t be for everyone. The highs, like Salt and Pepper Veal Sweetbreads ($24) studded with dried chillies and accompanied by chilli sauce, are soaring. And Puffed Beef Tendon ($5) could well replace pork crackling for me. It’s also a bargain when compared to tiny Xi’an Lamb Buns ($8/each); however the fried ice cream disguised as A Roasted Potato ($10) is so next level, cough up for one to yourself.
368 Crown Street, Surry Hills
Ph: (02) 8065 0838 masterdining.com.au
Modern Chinese $$$