If you have ever been to Town Hall, you would no doubt have walked past Chef's Gallery. With it's big glass windows showcasing the mastery of their well trained noodle chefs, it's quite hard to miss, as they transform their pieces of dough into beautiful strands of noodles. There's something particularly mesmerising about the process, the speed at which a thick piece of dough becomes elongated and multiplies right before your eyes.
I've always wanted to learn how to make noodles myself, so when the opportunity came up to attend a short noodle making masterclass with chefs at Chef's Gallery, I didn't hesitate to sign myself up.
To avoid the bustling crowds, visit in the morning just past opening and you'll find yourself in a pretty quiet restaurant (it doesn't take long for the restaurant to fill up though!). There are usually only a handful of seats by the kitchen where you can watch the action, however there's no need to fight over a nice spot today, with the chef wheeling the cart over to pull his noodles right in front of us.
The Chef who is demonstrating today has had over 14 years of experience in noodle making, and his skill is apparent the moment he starts working with the dough. Moving quite quickly, we watched as he skillfully pulls and twists the dough into a pliable one, before pulling and folding the dough repeatedly to make many strands of noodles. And whilst I've always thought it's one type of noodles that the chefs keep making, it turns out this isn't the case. By pulling the noodles a couple more times, the chef makes a thinner variety of noodles, like angel hair. By flattening the dough before pulling, he also make a flatter variety of noodles, like fettucine.
I could have easily spent the next couple of hours watching the chef pull different varieties of noodles, however it was time for our turn! It's definitely a lot more difficult than it appears, as the dough is stretchy but doesn't seem to stretch evenly nor is it easy to twist. Although we were all able to create strand of noodles, we all ended up with quite uneven and many broken strands. But definitely lots of fun and I would love to give it another try again!
After the masterclass, we're treated to a delicious lunch, showcasing some of the restaurant's signature dishes
Prawn and pork wontons in a Shanghainese spicy sauce ($10.90)
We start of with the wontons, which come swimming in a dark spicy sauce. The prawn and pork dumplings are very delicate, with a very smooth and soft wrapper, with a good ratio of pork to prawns to give it enough of a light crunch. We can't get enough of the sauce which is made on a base of smoky black vinegar with a perfect balance sweetness and spice added to it
Macanese style mini burgers ($16.90)
The Chef's Gallery take on Macanese burger is quite a unique concept, with a deep fried mantou bun replacing the baked bread roll, not only adding a delightful crunch and sweetness to the burger, but also making these the cutest macanese burgers I've ever seen! The juicy pork fillet is delicious enough to have on its own, but it's the addition of cheese, pork floss and sweet chilli mayo which really take these to the next level.
Modern san choy bao ($19.90)
I'm not usually much of a fan of san choi bao, but I'll make an exception for this one. The basil is a welcome addition to the chicken mince mixture, and makes it taste almost like a Thai stir fry.
Chef’s own handmade salt and pepper spinach tofu. ($19.90)
The chef's homemade egg tofu is ridiculously silky smooth, the addition of egg adding a slight richness and masking the soybean taste of regular tofu. The texture contrast is spot on, with the outer batter delightfully crispy whilst the silky interior remains quite moist. The layer of spinach was quite unexpected, but hey- bonus serve of veggies!
I'm a huge fan of tofu, so this was always going to be a favourite, but even if you're not usually a fan of tofu, I'd urge you to try it- it's definitely a winner!
Spinach handmade noodles ($18.90)
And we could not leave without trying the pulled noodles ourselves- not the ones we made of course (they didn't make the cut). We tried the spinach version, which despite the bright green colour, has a very mild spinach taste. It comes wok fried with prawns, mussels in shell, baby calamari tubes and Chinese shitake mushrooms and it doesn't disappoint! All the pulling with the dough certainly pays off and the noodles have a delightful firm and bouncy texture.
Piggy and Eggy Fairyland ($24.90)
And just when we thought we were done, there was dessert!
The cute piggy buns are almost a signature dessert of Chef's Gallery, but now they also have a dessert platter. You know, just incase piggy buns weren't enough cuteness already!
The platter consists of Prince and Princess Piggy (yes, they are different), which are steamed sesame buns, and their friends Eggy and Yolky which are custard buns amongst a milky way of fairyfloss complete with stars and meteors. They're almost too cute to eat, especially the egg custard buns which are designed for the custard to ooze out of the 'mouth'.
The buns are soft and fluffy, and not too sweet which was a great way to end the meal. I think we can all agree that we left feeling very full and satisfied...and a newfound appreciation for the skill of the noodle making chefs too!
Von dined as a guest of Chef's Gallery