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chequers

September 24, 2009

Certified toe-sucker. That’s me. And hoi! You! Get your mind out of the gutter! The only toes I’m sucking belong to a chicken. Multiple chickens maybe. Skinned, chopped off at the knee and braised in a sweet and salty black bean sauce. Mmmyum!

It was the Saturday before Father’s Day when the family & I decided to descend upon Chequers. We’d usually head out to Rhodes, but there were things to do, places to be and assignments to complete (the sister, not me). And besides, it had been a while since our last visit, a couple of years in fact, and we were curious to see how time had affected this once lauded joint.

braised chicken feet

braised chicken feet

Back in the day, Chequers didn’t just serve yum cha in Chatswood – it was yum cha in Chatswood. The epitome of elegance. The height of quality. All of it awaited beyond the green marble frontage and the dark wooden doors. Sure, it was a little more expensive than your average dumpling joint, but oh! For a celebration? Why not?

refreshing cool towel

refreshing cool towel

The restaurant has since changed hands (multiple times if I’m to believe what’s said) and, interestingly enough, looks a lot brighter than I remember it. Possibly something to do with the curtains being open.

We’re seated promptly (having arrived at 11:45am) and are given a damp face towel in a dish to freshen up with. It’s a welcoming gesture, and is well received by all – particularly me, as I have just discovered some chocolate under my nails. Oops.

prawn and mushroom dumpling

prawn and mushroom dumpling

We start with the aforementioned chicken feet, which are tender and satisfying, and order an assortment of other dishes in quick succession.

The prawn and mushroom dumplings come with a prawn and a half in each, and are made texturally interesting with slippery mushroom slivers and the crunch of water chestnuts.

glutinous chicken rice parcels

glutinous chicken rice parcels

Chicken and glutinous rice parcels (two per serve) and steamed just right. The chicken is flavoursome and the rice is cooked enough as to be tender without losing the ability to differentiate between each grain.

woo kwok

woo kwok

Woo kwok (fondly known in my circles as the “hairy footballs”, not to be confused with ham sui gok, which are simply the “footballs”) are my favourite yum cha dish. Deep fried yam encases a medley of pork and mushrooms and other bits and bobs, depending on the individual restaurant’s recipe.

These are not too oily and have a satisfying crunch to them. Delicious!

crab noodle

crab noodle $26.80

But we are not confined to dumplings. The mother (ever the purveyor of the yum cha “a la carte” menu – this, despite our cries of “But mum! We’re at yum cha! Can’t we just order… the yum?”) has spotted braised crab noodles for four and promptly orders a serve.

They take a little while to arrive, but soon a soup tureen containing a glistening orange and yellow goop lands on our table.

crab noodle

crab noodle

A waitress, who is clearly well versed in all things efficient, systematically doles out ladles of noodles and broth into waiting bowls. And we, who are clearly well versed in all things eating, dig in.

The broth is lighter than I expected – and wonderfully sweet from the crab meat, which is scattered in chunks throughout. The orange roe of the crab provides a gritty, rich contrast in flavour and texture, and the gai larn refreshes the tastebuds.

It is tasty, to be sure, but slowly becomes almost monotonous in flavour. Turns out there is only so much pure unadulterated sweetness that I can take. (Not so the mother, who clears both the sisters & my leftovers).

scallop & spinach dumpling

scallop & spinach dumpling

I have moved on to the far greener pastures of dumplings. Greener in a literal sense as these are filled with spinach and scallop. It is a welcome, and familiar relief.

egg tarts & char siew so

egg tarts & char siew so

But my eyes have alighted on the dessert tray, and greenery is forgotten.

After five minutes of unsuccessfully attempting to make eye contact with the girl-with-the-tofufa-bucket, we settle for egg tarts and char siew so.

The egg tarts are lovely and warm, with a wobbly eggy custard and a flaky pastry. Just the way I like them. I’d put these ones up there with Ho’s. And that’s saying a lot.

The charsiew so is equally well received – flaky pastry, sweet porky innards – and a delicious end to a “Father’s Day” lunch.

And the cost? $76.20 for four – which is not bad at all.

the crowd at chequers

the crowd at chequers

Chequers Seafood Restaurant
221/65 Albert Ave
Chatswood NSW 2067
ph:
(02) 9904 8388

Chequers on Urbanspoon


  • #1
    September 24th, 2009

    I love yum cha. I guess because I love small bite-size things since you can sample a lot more flavours. 😀

  • #2
    September 24th, 2009

    love chicken feet, but as I get older I lean more towards the (white) garlic, chilli & vinegared variety.

    and I love the ‘hairy football’ term – I have a friend who refers to ‘ham sui gok’ as footballs as well!

  • #3
    September 24th, 2009

    Wow I’ve been back to chequers for a long time! It is my old haunt when I used to live right behind Chatswood Westfield! LOL. I see the quality hasn’t changed that much. I think I still prefer the yum cha places in city though. But the woo gok… gimme!

  • #4
    Chik
    September 24th, 2009

    The best thing about Chequers is being able to book a table, and on a weekend too…

  • #5
    September 24th, 2009

    Ohh yes, I remember when Chequers had HUGE queues, way before Kam Fook came along! I prefer Kam Fook these days, but I agree with you on their egg tarts, they’re really decent!

  • #6
    September 24th, 2009

    Ahhh Chequers (is it still Chequers? the Chinese name has changed)… we used to frequent this place but ever since they changed chefs and one of the managers left *cough* the better one *cough* it just went majorly downhill.As Steph mentioned there used to be huge queues but now most of the time the place is empty :S

    But I are craving egg tarts right now mmmmm

  • #7
    September 24th, 2009

    Oh man yum cha! Everytime I go in a yum cha place I always imagine all the food I’d be eating and everytime I step out I always regret all the food I ate – because of pigging out guilt and an ever expanding waistline. But, I must confess, I’m a toe sucker too. HAHAHA. Yum cha is never complete without the compulsory chicken feet. *high five*

  • #8
    September 27th, 2009

    Man I haven’t been to Chequers for ages! I think we used to go there a lot but when since it’s changed hands we’ve only been back once. The crab noodle looks pretty good though – never seen that before on a yum cha a la carte menu!

Shez