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restaurants guide


Address :
368 Crown Street
Surry Hills  NSW
Phone : 02 8065 0838 
Email : info@masterdining.com.au
Web-site : masterdining.com.au
Opening times : Dinner : Tuesday - Sunday from 6pm
Cards :
MC V eftpos 
Licensing : Licensed
Cost range :
$50 (per head for 3 courses plus coffee)
Restaurant rating :
Special features:
I said to the owner when I visited and loved the food that if he kept the volume & style of music that he wouldn't be there in six months ... he isn't. CLOSED

A very modern take on Chinese food drawing on classics and refining and reworking them while retaining the integrity of fine ingredients. It's smart and creative and offers some interesting results in a small but balanced menu of very untraditional Chinese food that draws on the vastness of that country for inspiration. The sweets are fascinating, with a choice of two, and worth saving space for.
It's a downstairs/upstairs split with all the action around the open kitchen, with bare tables and white-painted walls broken by wood-block graphics. Smart and appealing, and professional staff are delightfully friendly and apologetic about the music. The music - or should that be MUSIC? - due to the volume of (mostly) aggressive rap that assaults you from the moment you enter. I'll make a simple statement: if they persist with the MUSIC, Master with not be around in six months time, which would be a pity.

WINE : Quirky, interesting, very short list that misses little for its brevity with its food suitability. This also makes a statement but this time it works.


The music hit me as I wandered into this lonely shopfront on the empty stretch of Crown north of the Marque/Besser restaurants - not just the volume, but the aggressive rap-ish tone that communicated "fuck-off, this is not for you!" I asked if I could venture upstairs rather than the original tiny table by the wall. It was almost as loud upstairs as I sat in solitude it the rather cool looking room with white-washed bricks and dark timber tables. The waiter was gracious, and apologetic (a refugee from Marque's kitchen just up the street) so I decided to await my date with a glass of quirky Jo Landron sparkling Muscadet "Atmospheres" before deciding whether to vacate for a more ambient noshery.

A discussion with the waiter about how small the owner wanted his market pool to be led to a slight adjustment to the volume and seemingly the tone of the music. The menu looked enticing - we stayed.

"Scallop Silk" looks like draped thick cloth dressed with XO sauce - fascinating flavour and texture set off by the sharp sauce, and a lovely beginning. Cold Cut Chicken, White Soy, Sichuan Spices is a take on Hainan white chicken, beautifully cooked to make chicken breast worth eating, and the spicing judicious. Salt and Pepper Veal Sweetbreads is unusual but donýt fear the plateful of dried chillis as the dish is otherwise mild. Peking Pork Jowl, Pancakes and condiments is a cheeky pork take on Peking Duck with everything including pancakes more rustic, and simply moreish ...

Sweets are worth a dabble. Actually they are a must! "A Roasted Potato" revealing itself as ice cream and "Congee, Pear, Coriander" a fascinating take on rice pudding.

This is food with a sense of whimsy and fun, without losing sight of quality and integrity of produce.

The wine list is a short list of twenty-odd very interesting wines with a strong French bias, with lots I'd be happy with at the prices charged.

I'm a great believer in having faith in a good product, setting the ambience and being true to it. I've also sailed enough ocean to know setting a course into the wind will always be hard work. The quality of truly interesting food, professional, charming staff, and a good wine list are the basis of potential success here. Adding the element of musical style at the volume initially played here (as reported elsewhere) will deter many and attract very few.