About Us

Since opening in our original Sydney location in 2008, we have developed a reputation for serving the freshest and most mouth wateringly authentic Hunan Chinese cuisine.

We look forward to welcoming you to The Chairman to experience our famously bold, hot and sour flavours for yourself.


Our Story

Established in Kensington in 2008 as Chairman Mao Restaurant, in 2022 we moved to our new home in the heart of Darlinghurst.

Since opening, we have grown a reputation among regulars and food critics alike for serving fresh, spicy and mouth watering dishes cooked in the authentic Hunan style.

Awarded two Chef Hats by Gault & Millau restaurant guide in 2018, The Chairman has been widely reviewed and praised by not only critics, but some of Sydney’s leading chefs, including Matt Moran who has named it his favourite local Chinese restaurant, also adding “You’ll find that if you ask people like Tetsuya and Neil Perry, they’ll say that it’s their favourite Chinese, too.”

Other accolades include being listed as one of Sydney’s best Chinese restaurants by Gourmet Traveller, one of Australia’s Top 10 Chinese restaurants by Qantas magazine and being listed in WHERE CHEFS EAT – A Guide to Chefs Favourite Restaurants.

Hunan/Xiang Cuisine

Renowned for its hot, sour and spicy flavours, Hunan – also known as Xiang – cooking is one of the Eight Great Traditions of Chinese cuisine.

It is unique in China due to the mountainous geography of the Hunan region, which historically made it difficult to access and therefore less open to influence from the food of neighbouring provinces. In addition to this purity of provenance, Hunan’s location provided rich sources of mountain-fresh, river-fresh and lake-fresh ingredients. All of this contributed to the cuisine’s singular richness and sophistication.

Using premium quality ingredients, and a range of cooking techniques, including pot-roasting, slow cooking and smoking, The Chairman’s head chef, Mrs Ding, prepares authentic Hunan dishes bursting with robust flavours, deep colours and fresh aromas.


Meet Mrs. Ding

The Chairman’s enviable reputation is thanks to the wonderful culinary skills of our head chef and co-proprietor, Mrs Ding.

Born and raised in Hunan, she learnt her cooking techniques and traditional recipes from her mother and grandmother. Importantly for our restaurant, in her move to Australia, Mrs Ding’s cooking lost none of its authenticity: the dishes she creates are pure Hunan cuisine rather than westernised Chinese food.

Paying homage to Hunan’s wonderful food tradition every time she steps into her kitchen, Mrs Ding’s family-style signature dishes include Chairman Mao’s favourite braised pork, pepper chili mud crab and house-smoked meats, among many others.


In the media

The Chairman has received enviable reviews from food critics and chefs in these leading publications

Shop 1, 18 College Street, Darlinghurst