Should I NOT go to these Sydney restaurants?
I know there are a whole ton of recommendations for places to eat while in Sydney. I've checked out many of the other threads with their recs and I think I have a good selection picked out. We are there for 4 days of lunches and dinners (free brekkie in the hotel, so not a concern). We want to leave a few slots open for places we discover while there, but we want to have most nailed down.
Here are what we have so far:
Lunch at Quay (we already have the reservation made)
Din Thai Fung for dumplings
Sky Pheonix for Yum Cha
Harry's Pie Cart
GPO Cheese Room (we love cheese)
What I am asking from people who have visited these places is should we NOT go to any of them? While I recognize that there may be better places to go than this assortment (and make suggestions if you'd like, it is appreciated) I want to know if any of these are a bad idea and why.
I'd prefer the china town yum cha spots, rather than phoenix.. from an ambience perspective also (expect fantastically efficient service and persuasive cart ladies). I have enjoyed fish and chips from FishFace, but for such a short visit It'd be a shame not to experience a waterside restaurant.. Darlinghurst is inner city (gritty though newly gentrified) and the fish face restaurant itself is tiny. I can recommend: Sean's Panorama in Bondi Beach, Garfish Manly (get there by ferry), and Bathers Pavillion (both the restaurant and cafe are beautiful). Happy for you in securing the Quay reservation- sublime.
re sean's - he's doing a month-long swap with skye gyngell, running her petersham nurseries cafe in england, while she's at the helm of the bondi digs.
not sure how much longer she's there, think the swap was for september only, but you might want to call and see who's in the engine room.
for yum cha - don't go to whomever got best yum cha in the good food guide more than 6 months after publication (annual). It's a certain recipe for disappointment.
Never been but I reckon there's got to be good Yum cha in hurstville or ashfield - have you seen how many chinese people there are in those suburbs?
Actually I'm not sure if there are any yum cha places in Ashfield, as far as I know. Yum cha is a Cantonese thing, whereas Ashfield is sometimes called "Little Shanghai" owing to the large number of restaurants serving Shanghai style food, often with noodles and dumplings being a specialty (xia long bao!!!! -- Shanghai style dumplings ... the pork-filled ones with soup INSIDE them mmmmm ... still perfecting the art of eating them without them exploding randomly all over my shirt).
As fooftales says, go with the "look for the busiest" rule of thumb. You'll find that there are two places that by far seem to be the busiest on Liverpool Rd: Shanghai Night and the other one across the road whose name escapes me. Haven't been to the latter (can never get a seat when I want one), but Shanghai Night is great and cheap.
Can't comment on Hurstville, have not been there ... Been meaning to check it out though.
Re: the art of eating xiao long bao without them exploding randomly all over your shirt
Carefully place the xiao long bao on the porcelain soup spoon (a ubiquitous Chinese table utensil which you'll definitely find on your table). Gently nibble a tiny bit off the xiao long bao's skin. Let the soup trickle out of the incision henceforth into your soup spoon. Add the vinegar/shredded ginger condiment (if you so choose). Slurp up & enjoy.
P.S. - I didn't come up with this technique. A Shanghainese colleague showed me this after witnessing a xiao long bao exploding all over my tie/shirt during my first-ever visit to a xiao long bao restaurant in Shanghai years ago.
I would also not rate Sky Pheonix high in the Sydney Yum Cha options, I have been a few times, and the food not as good as a few in China town. I would recommend East Ocean as my favorite then Marigold for the full on Yun Cha Experienece, but aim to go before 1pm as there isn't as much variety towards the end of the lunch period.