I remember visiting The Argyle a few times over the last couple of years for birthdays, graduations and other gatherings. When it comes to food back then, there was the pub grub and then it went through a Spanish tapas phase. This has changed in November when The Argyle hired former Red Lantern's Michael Nguyen and Sake Restaurant's Shaun Presland to take over the reigns of the kitchen to create a Modern Asian-influenced menu full of hawker-style eats including dumplings, gyozas, salads and a few well-known classics including the salt and pepper squid and the peking duck pancake. They even got ex-Shady Pines Saloon's Daniel Mussen to look after the drinks menu. Sounds pretty awesome eh?
While most of the furniture inside the Argyle remained the same there was a spot close to the counter near the front that changed to an Asian-inspired decor with Chinese symbol signage, cutlery, lanterns and seating.
The reinvented Argyle menu actually creates a modern, contemporary twist on the dumplings and gyoza flavours. There are quite a few spicy steamed dumplings especially the firecracker prawn which packs a punch to your taste buds. You can be surprised and curious by some of the flavours in the Gyoza menu such as the cheeseburger gyoza and the Nutella rocky road gyoza for dessert. Perfect hangover food after a crazy night of drinking and dancing.
The Argyle Menu
Complimentary Fortune Cookies
With its red, thin pastry, you would have expected a spicy hit in these seemingly innocent dumplings. At first taste, you don't feel the spiciness but it does hit your taste buds eventually and quite drastically too.
Firecracker Prawn Dumplings ($8.00 for 4) - Hot stuff!
The cheeseburger gyoza screams dude food. Given the setting, I can imagine this to be a hit for those heading to the Argyle at night. With its fillings consisting of beef, onions, cheddar, ketchup and mustard; it does taste like an actual cheeseburger with an Asian-fusion touch. Quite sneaky actually since I had no idea about this dish when I grabbed a piece.
Cheeseburger Gyoza ($9.00 for 5)
BBQ Pork Belly 'Pancake' ($15.00 for 3)
BBQ Pork Belly
If gyozas or dumplings do not tickle your fancy, The Argyle also offers a range of salads on the menu. The prices ranged between $10-$13 but the servings appeared to be a bit more decent. Great to have on a Summer day while chilling out at the Courtyard.
Crispy Pork and Papaya Salad ($12.00)
I loved eating vermicelli-wrapped spring rolls for yum cha. These versions are perfect for the strict non-seafood eating vegetarians and they are really tasty for the meat lover like myself. It was crunchy and messy to handle and loved the sweet chilli sauce on the side.
Vegetable Spring Roll ($6.00 for 4)
For those who have a sweet tooth, the Nutella Rocky Road Gyoza sounds too good to resist. Very sweet and messy to eat but it was a treat in testing your tastebuds with something you don't usually see in other restaurants.
Nutella Rocky Road Gyoza ($7.00)
There were plenty of drinks that kept everyone entertained throughout the night including more than a few glasses of champagne and a refreshingly sweet cocktail that seems to be a hit with all the patrons. While most cocktails were priced between $17-$18.50 max, it was interesting to note that the Bonsai juice was only $12.00! Plus it's really cool and sweet to drink.
Bonsai Juice - Belvedere Vodka, Apple, Mint, Coriander ($12.00)
Loved the Chinese Lion Dance entertaining us throughout the evening as part of the launch.
By this point of the night, I was still hungry yet the drinks keep showing up. Yes I was quite tipsy! Curious at how the xiao long bao dumplings compared, I knew I had to order these morsels. The dumpling pastry wasn't as thick as Din Tai Fung's though it still has that slippery texture. The pork inside was also pretty tender with a bit of soup inside. There was also (what I believed to be) vinegar and ginger on the side that you would expect with this dish. I gobbled these up instantly without much thought.
Xiao Long Bao ($8.00 for 4)
The prices aren't too bad considering it is a bar and restaurant in The Rocks area with the most expensive dish on the food menu listed at $15.00. If you want to try lots of dishes, I would recommend bringing a few friends to share the plates. Overall I was pretty satisfied with the menu changes, layout and the hawker-esque food that The Argyle now serves. Wouldn't mind coming back for a quick lunch, work drinks or a chill out session with the friends at this venue one day.
Disclaimer: The Random Foodie dined at The Argyle Launch Night as a guest of The Cru Media and The Argyle. The Random Foodie also ordered and paid for the XLB dumplings independently. Opinions remain personal.
NB: Please also note that the prices listed on this blog were valid at the time of the launch. The prices have since changed as of mid-December according to the Argyle website.
18 Argyle Street, The Rocks NSW 2000
(02) 9247 5500
Mon-Sun: 11:00am - late