Darling Quarter dials up the festive season as Mumian brings sophisticated Cantonese dining to Sydney’s southern playground

MuMian Bar and Restaurant

With so much happening around our city, sometimes we forget to rediscover places we used to go. Darling Harbour has always been a favourite of tourists. We all fell in love with the upmarket Barangaroo development, but its southern sister, Darling Quarter has a lot to shout about, it’s a drawcard for culture, music, art and business.

This Christmas a new range of activities are happening across the Quarter. We arrive on a Saturday lunch time following a night of World Cup revelry as crowds had gathered to watch the match on the big screens. We walk past giant green cubes which are living Christmas presents, with red bows wrapped around them. The plants will be available for purchase in the new year with all proceeds going to charity. In the main lawn area, Santa’s grotto is springing to life as people are enjoying the fun and even pooches are sitting on a lifesize Christmas baubles for their insta profiles!

Our focus today is newly launched MuMian. It is the sister restaurant to the much loved Tao restaurant in the city. Situated along the eastern dining strip MuMian is recreating Cantonese cuisine with modern and traditional touches. It’s a sytlish fit out with a glowing bar, beautifully dressed tables, soft lighting and alfresco dining outside, if that’s your chilli jam (or cranberry sauce). Three private dining rooms on the main dining floor are cleverly integrated into the restaurant in atmospheric way whilst retaining privacy.

The menu is swoon worthy; all our traditional favourites and then a number of unique dishes not seen before. My dining partner and fellow DA writer Michelle is gluten free and the staff help us work through the dishes. Whilst only a few dishes are marked up GF, the kitchen will knock up GF versions of most of the menu, so don’t let that put you off!

We start with a classic, Prawn Jade Har Gao. It arrives in a traditional steamed basket. It’s perfectly executed with soft chewy folds leading to juicy prawns, nowhere to hide, just technique and good sourcing of prawns. I an never go past a prawn toast on a menu. Four sesame crusted fingers arrive. They are wrapped in pastry, so it’s more like munching on spring roll but much finer. A single bite, dissolves the parcel into sweet, soft prawn mince, not overly cooked or packed, so it has a lovely smooth velvety texture.

Glacier 51 Toothfish, braised eggplant and garlic prawns

We move onto mains. The steamed Glacier 51 Toothfish can be cooked three different ways. We opt for the ginger and spring onion sauce. It’s a unique fish, with strictly controlled licences from Antarctic waters. Tasting its clean, petal-like flesh is an honour. The delicate sauce contrasts with its firm structure and rich flavour. Sizzling King Prawn in a garlic butter sauce almost feels more Italian than Cantonese, but again, the kitchen has a light touch, the sauce is clean, not cloying and the creamy-ness just means you can’t help but tuck in again prawn after prawn.

Two equally delicious eggplant dishes have us umming and ahhing over which to order. We decide on the braised eggplant which arrives in an iron skillet. It has a savoury kick thanks to the chicken mince. The Szechuan chili jam amps up the flavour. It works so well. This is comfort food but without the heaviness you can find in some Cantonese menus. We add a bowl of “Yang Zhou” Fried Rice, Prawns, Berkshire Pork Char Siu & Asparagus. Again the freshness, skill and flavours just pop. Not a grain of rice is stuck to its neighbour, like a good board of directors each has its place and independence!

With food this good all that’s needed is a Tsingtao Lager or perhaps a Cantina Trevigiana Pinot Grigio from Veneto Italy. Both compliment the flavours of the Orient beautifully.

Darling Quarter will have a busy start to 2023 following MuMian’s launch with new openings such as Dopa by the crew who brought us Devon by Dopa and Dopa’s Milkbar & Donburi along with Kürtősh (home of the iconic chimney cake), Chatime (the bubble tea people) , Goobne (Korean oven-roasted chicken, yum!) and and Singapore street food favourite Killiney Kopitiam.  That’s a lot of fun, food and feasting ahead.

MuMian, 1 – 25 Harbour Street, Sydney,2000 NSW –
Menu – https://www.opentable.com.au/r/mumian-dining-sydney

For more on Darling Quarter – https://darlingquarter.com/

About the author

Karen’s corporate job back in the UK had included entertaining clients in some of the best restaurants. This ultimately sparked a curiosity 'Just how do they do that?' (she confesses she was brought up on meat and vegetables, so this was all very exciting). Currently a Mr & Mrs Smith 'Tastemaker', she’s flashpacked around the world, learning about wine, experiencing different cultures and cuisines and had a two- year love affair with it all. Originally from England, she finally settled in Australia and continues to be besotted by food, wine and travel preferring to focus on the luxury end of town (thread count does matter).


The vibe is like going back in time to the 70's and to another continent- to Hong Kong. The space is buzzing, moody, sexy with black and gold chairs, dark floors with red hues and low lighting. The music is pumping as couples and groups of friends share large jugs of happy hour cocktails from colourful teapots. The outside bar has sections of an old movie theatre with lights and overhead daisy chains of fake hanging peking ducks!

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