What do you get when you crash a New York alleyway into an Asian slushee machine, wrapped up in a Sydney red light district? Ms G’s!
Contrary to popular belief, Ms G’s is not named after myself, boo! It is in fact a little cheeky joke… see the glowing pink sign? It says six two one, the numbers for mono sodium glutamate. MSG. Ms G’s. I’m hoping that’s because they don’t use that stuff!
Run by the Merivale Group and headed by Dan Hong and Jowett Yu (formerly Lotus), Ms G’s was massively popular when it first opened over a year ago. I had been to Ms G’s once before, with some girlfriends, and it was by all accounts a great night out, plastic slushee cups with phat straws and delicious cocktails.
Squishing past the main communal table on the ground floor dining level we were cheerfully greeted by the host who said if we could wait 20 minutes, there would be a table available for us. We started on our way to the upstairs bar, but were offered a spot on the communal table on the mezzanine level. We decided to grab this opportunity…
Still being eye-balled by the girl sitting opposite (communal table manners please!!), we look at the menu. There were so many delicious items on the menu that it made it hard to choose…. Salad of Husband & Wife ($14)… which sounds very interesting…Yellowfin tuna ceviche “Vietnamese style” ($18), Jow’s Sweet & Sour lamb ribs ($23), which sounds very much like the NY/Asia crash previously discussed and one that I am busting to try, but instead we opt for the Calamari & Snow Crab salad, yuzu & miso ranch dressing ($18), the daily special of Prawn & Scallop Wantons ($16) and the Braised Wagyu Beef Shin Curry served with a Crunchy Baguette ($25), with a couple of Crisp Pork Belly Mini bánh mì ($6ea) as starters.
We also ordered the Mull It Over (Beefeater gin, pomegranate liqueur, mulberry vinegar, orange, lemon $14) and the Silver Cloud Fizz (Belvedere Citrus, white mango tea, St Germain elderflower liqueur, lemon $16). Both were ‘unpackaged’ and free from plastic containers (although all cocktails are made fresh at the bar).
The Pork Belly mini bánh mì look like tiny little hamburgers you might get at a trendy function, but are way better and are munched up before the cocktails arrive. Which is ok, but personally I like to sip on my cocktail for a bit before any food is served. The Calamari & Snow Crab Salad arrives almost simultaneously with the cocktails. The salad is amazing!! Crunchy little noodles combined with juicy crab meat, calamari and coriander. I am most incredibly un-lady-like and fight chopsticks (me) with fork (Oscar) to get the last little bits.
The cocktails are wonderful, but mine wins hands down over Oscar’s! I am so glad that I took the waitress’s suggestion. The Mull It Over is sweetly sour and heaven sent. I can’t even remember what Oscar’s was like… (He tells me ‘good’… but says that’s not fair as he tasted mine, and mine was ‘amazing!!’… he only got one sip..!)
Now we had to wait a while here, but when the Braised Wagyu Beef Shin Curry arrives, it is worth it. (Oscar has dived in and broken the Baguette whilst I was getting the camera ready… tsk.. tsk.. I look away for one second!!) The beef is so beautifully cooked it falls apart when poked with a chop-stick, so I eat this dish chop-sticks in one hand, bread in the other. The baguette is perfect for soaking up the fantastic curry sauce (similar to a fragrant Massaman), and a welcome diversion from boiled rice.
We also order 2 glasses of the 2011 Rosa by KT Clare Valley, SA (Tempranillo/Grenache) ($10/gls). It bursts with ripe raspberries, cherries and strawberries although lacks a little acidic freshness. It tends to linger sweetly in the mouth, instead of finishing dryly, which is what you might expect from the tempranillo/granache combo.
Eventually we ask after our Prawn & Scallop Wantons – the waitress returns to say that unfortunately they were missed from the order but will be on their way shortly. She is sincere in her apology and explains that normally they should have come out before the salad and beef – we agree.
When they do arrive, they look lovely, and the wantons themselves are very tasty, but the sauce is very salty and overpowering… It tastes over-reduced. It is a poor finish to the meal and I wish we had stopped at the beef. We look at the desert menu, but feel uninspired preferring to steer clear of the “Stoner’s Delight 2.0” (doughnut ice cream, peanut butter, raspberry jam, candied bacon, potato chips, mars bar slice, banana fritter $12). We order a coffee only to be told that the coffee machine thermostat was broken, so no coffees for us that night! Hmmm…. things have started to spiral towards the car crash scene.
Looking around at the decor, there is obviously some serious cash behind the fitout, despite it’s effort to look like a NY dumpster alleyway/Thai girly bar, which I hear can be achieved for a lot less. Graffiti on the walls, a rope feature that screams “Hello Sailor!!”, food cookbook murals plastered over the bathroom walls, (along with tin buckets for sinks), post-Mao pop art, neon signage and beer cases converted into bar seats.
The floors and ceilings are painted black, the difference being that the ceiling has squares of hessian coffee sacks stuck all over it. Lighting is minimal and the whole place is very dim, punctuated of course, by pink neon.
When you combine this with casually dressed staff with their long flowing blonde hair out and a DJ that was playing music that sounded like gorillas stomping around in gumboots, the whole thing feels a little trashy and unprofessional. I really don’t feel qualified to say that sort of thing, but look, if I feel this way, I’m sure that others will as well.
I understand that the whole thing is meant to be trendy, mish-mashy cool, but somehow it just felt gimmicky, like a Tex Mex bar gone east. What else can I say? Great fun at first, but tragically disheveled by the end of the night…
The food is still amazing though. Go with a bunch of friends, sit at one of the communal tables, get riotously drunk on spectacular cocktails and chop-stick fight over the last scrumptious morsel!
Don’t bother with class, embrace your inner trash-tart…
LOVIN’: Calamari & Snow Crab Salad
NOT LOVIN’: the gimmicks…
BRING: a bunch of mates who like to eat, talk and be merry!!
HOW MUCH: $$$$$
WHERE: 155 Victoria Street, Potts Point 2011
Friday 12pm – 3pm
Sunday 1pm – 5pm
Monday to Sunday 5pm – 11pm
Bar opens until late
Bookings Friday & Sunday lunch only.
CONTACT: (02) 8313-1000