When Kensington’s chef hangout Chairman Mao closed last year, fans of its Hunanese food were understandably concerned. The good news is it’s back, and we’re getting two for the price of one.

Chairman Mao owners Andrew Bao and Dingjun Li have opened Mrs. Ding in Botany, with another restaurant on the way in April.

Chairman Mao was originally slated to reopen at Potts Point, but following COVID delays its owners have decided to instead snap up a space near Hyde Park, where Lotus Dining Group’s Madame Shanghai previously traded.

Andrew Bao confirmed they will drop Mao from its name, which he maintains “is too political”. When it opens next month it’ll be named The Chairman. The new restaurant will be more upmarket than its Botany sibling Mrs Ding, with more seafood on the menu.

The original Chairman restaurant built its reputation on its signature braised pork belly – which one reviewer described as “so indulgently wobbly it melts off your chopsticks” – and Mrs Ding includes it on a menu with no fewer than 12 pork dishes.

The hot, sour and spicy Hunan-style menu also sweeps other meats, with plenty of vegetable and noodle dishes as well.

Bao says Mrs. Ding is attracting a mix of Botany locals and Chairman Mao regulars, with the chicken and cashew an early favourite.

Open Lunch and dinner Tue-Sun.

Shop 1-2, 1366 Botany Road, Botany, 02 9131 8486, mrsding.com.au