Introducing the newly opened restaurant in Rhodes, Mama's Wok.
Rhodes Shopping Centre has found itself a new up and coming restaurant, taking a modern spin on classic Chinese cuisine. The elements you may have once been familiar with when visiting a typical Chinese restaurant, such as clean white tablecloths, intricate patterns of bamboo or Lazy Susans, have all changed as a result of the ambience and environment set inside Mama’s Wok.
The recently opened restaurant finds itself on the ground floor, attracting customers with thanks to their trendy, inviting atmosphere. Unlike other sophisticated Chinese restaurants, Mama’s Wok presents a casual dining experience, with wooden pillars and timber floors creating this warm, modern twist to what is usually expected of Chinese restaurants. Colourful stained glass décor also finds its place inside the restaurant, which though was created and inspired by the rustic looks of Southern China, also keeps in tone with the trendy atmosphere.
Matching plate and bowl set, decorated with a blue flower pattern, and chopsticks on the side.
Upon entering the premises from inside the shopping centre, you’ll discover two areas of dining. To the right, the main dining area can be seen as a result of the wide open window located at the front entrance, which creates a more open ambience and gives passers-by a sneak peek inside. Red leather seats stretch along the rustic brick wall, with arched window mirrors hoisted up against it. The seating is quite casual with matching wooden tables and chairs, and the occasional seat with tanned leather cushions. More hints of red continue to stand out among the wooden, rustic atmosphere, as a red frame divider is placed in the middle of the restaurant.
One of the large round tables in the private dining area. Beautiful artwork behind.
To the left of the entrance, two large group tables are set, providing a touch of privacy for larger groups who wish to dine separately from the main dining area. It is in this area that customers are intrigued by the wallpaper artwork that is splashed across the brick wall. Divided into smaller rectangles with wooden frames, the artwork adds the traditional Chinese look that sets it apart from the other décor in the restaurant. Patterns of flowers, birds and leaves spread across the paper, all of which can be seen from sitting in the comfortable, ash-grey cushion seats. Hanging above, a small light feature drapes down from a frame created of steel bars and a wooden frame.
Mama’s Wok’s menu encompasses a mix of both traditional and modern flavours of Chinese cuisine. The menu is laminated and filled with colourful images of dishes on the menu, which is comprised of Chef’s Specials, Hot Pots, Iron Plate Dishes and Soups, just to name a few. As a new restaurant, the menu is still being customised, so diners can expect changes to the current menu as the restaurant continues to grow.
Pork and Prawn Shao-Mai, served in a bamboo steamer.
Whether you choose to start with the entrée or skip straight to the main, it’s always ideal to order a serving of dim sums and dumplings when you dine at a Chinese restaurant. The Pork and Prawn Shao-Mai ($8.80) is served in a bamboo steamer with five pieces to share. The egg pastry wonton wrapper conceals the pork mince and pieces of prawn together, keeping the shao-mai delicious and juicy as it is cooked and steamed. The sizes of the shao-mai were decent, and the flavours were just right, mirroring a typical Chinese shao-mai.
Fried Rice, Yang Zhou style with BBQ Pork - great to have alongside other dishes.
Accompanying the dishes is of course, a plate of fried rice. Mama’s Wok’s Fried Rice, Yang Zhou style with BBQ Pork ($12.80) is served on a beautifully intricate plate, comprising of a heaped serving filled with a variety of ingredients commonly found in the dish. Pieces of baby prawns, chopped spring onion, egg and cubes of BBQ pork are tossed altogether with the rice, which though is eaten with other dishes, is also delicious enough to eat on its own.
Wanton Noodle Soup - egg noodles, soup and delicious wontons.
If you’re in the mood for soup, the Wanton Noodles in Soup ($12.80) will fill you right up due to its huge serving of egg noodles, wontons and Chinese broccoli. The noodle soup is served with six pieces of prawn and pork wontons, giving the soup a touch of extra flavour to accompany the broth and noodles. The soup delivered a good amount of flavour, and while the wontons were tender and juicy, the noodles could perhaps have been cooked just a little longer in order to create that soft, delicate, slippery noodle texture often found in a Wanton noodle soup rather than an Al Dente texture.
Deep Fried Crispy Skin Chicken - perfect for the kids.
Children will definitely enjoy a piece of the Deep Fried Crispy Skin Chicken (Half, $19.80), served on a bed of shredded cabbage, a wedge of lemon, and a small pinch bowl of salt and pepper. The skin of the chicken is just as the name suggests – incredibly golden and crispy, lightly salted on the skin to give it extra flavour. The chicken is tender, juicy and cooked perfectly, overcoming the obstacle of possibly having dried chicken despite being deep fried to create that golden crispy skin. Whether you’re a young child or a grown adult, this dish will definitely be a hit around your table.
Sizzling Szechwan Beef - sweet, sticky, spicy, and full of sizzle.
The Sizzling Szechwan Beef ($19.80) is just one of many dishes in the Iron Plate specialties. A mix of beef slices, onion, red and green capsicums are served on top of a sizzling hot plate, and smoking as it arrives at the table. The dish was tossed in a sweet, sticky sauce that was mildly spicy, making it an ideal dish for those eager to try something with a little punch of spice. Sizzling dishes are always entertaining; however, while the Szechwan beef was very delicious, it wasn’t served with a loud sizzling noise or puff of smoke that is typically witnessed when ordering a sizzling plate.
Having opened only at the beginning of April, Mama’s Wok has a lot of potential to grow into a popular lunch and dinner restaurant. There is something quite different about dining at Mama’s Wok, with its trendy ambience, soft background music and casual environment. Though the prices of the dishes do appear slightly higher priced for a shopping centre restaurant, however, the unique atmosphere and intertwining of the modern and traditional makes the restaurant worth visiting.
Look up from your seat to see more trendy, rustic decor.
Where: Mama's Wok, Shop 47, 1 Rider Boulevard, Rhodes NSW.
Why: A very different casual dining experience that sets it apart from the typical, formal arrangement at most Chinese restaurants.
Cost: Moderately-high price. Mains from $16-$30, Noodles and Soups from $9-$20.
When: Mon-Sun 11am-10pm.