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Jan 15, 2010 03:30 AM

Chinese in Sydney

In Sydney next week - most meals already taken care of but looking for Chinese - not upscale, watered down, but real

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  1. Upscale, but Kylie Kwong is fantastic. The best Chinese I've ever eaten, hands down. (Although I haven't been to China yet)

    5 Replies
    1. re: grublover

      I would argue about the label upscale for KK, I think it is more trendy than upscale. No bookings just turn-up, put your name on the list and head to the pub. The food is good, but it is "designer chinese" with ethicaly and well sourced ingredients rather cheap and cheerful from a hole in the wall place.

      Spice Temple is probably the really upmarket place, it is owned by top restauranter Neil Perry and is very glam. Neil is a purist when it comes to Asian food and he used to have a great place called Wockpool where Kylie Kwong learned her trade. Some people bag the place, but I suspect that is a reaction to the prices and the glamerous nature of the place (it isn't a suburban restaurant), I have yet to go there so can't comment, but aim to get there soon as Perry's previous places like Wockpool and XO have been good.

      One other that gets good reports is "Chairman Mao Hunanese Restaurant", this is meant to be the real thing and well priced, it is out of the centre but easy to get to.

      Of course there are lots of big Cantonese places around Dixon Street and Goulburn Street, this is Sydney's china town, I have tried a few but nothing has ever really stood out for me. There are also a couple of Sichuan places in this area that are meant to be pretty good.

      1. re: PhilD

        Well, first you need to sort out what you mean by chinese. Every good chinese restaurant is regional, and then within that region it will have some specialities. Don't be fooled by a huge menu at a chinese restaurant, 95% of their clientele will order one of a dozen or so dishes. As Phil rightly says, the big chinatown restaurants are cantonese, often with a seafood bias. Marigold is a well known one, though I've been and wasn't overwhelmed but probably more a reflection on me...

        I am a big fan of Red Chilli for Sichuan - there is one in chinatown and the original in Burwood. The xinjiang places on Dixon are pretty good as well. Both genres are painfully authentic.

        Isn't Kylie's restaurant called Billy Kwong? Have been only once - very smart, very nice, pretty exxy serving nice accessible cantonese with excellent quality ingredients.

        Thanks for the hunanese tip, I didn't realise there was one (none in Melbourne) - supposed to make sichuan look plain and bland.

        1. re: mr_gimlet

          Yes, it's Billy Kwong - named after Bill Granger (of Bills & Bills 2) and Kylie Kwong when they formed the partnership after she left Wockpool. Bill Granger's divested his share in Billy Kwong tho.

          1. re: mr_gimlet

            The Red Chili in Chinatown is very good, if you like Sichuan food (which I do).

          2. re: PhilD

            Spice temple is really a lot of fun and the food is great too. Has been a while since eating there but i remember the tea smoked chicken with vinegar was fantastic as was the pork with 3 flavours, including eggplant and two others i cant remember. Quite sure the menu has changed a bit since then but if mindful of price when ordering then it doesnt have to be a complete blow-out

        2. The Chinatown restaurant which most Asian visitors to Sydney always talk about is Golden Century. The Tasmanian king crab & lobster dishes are good, but not cheap.
          Or you may want to check out BBQ King, Kylie Kwong's fave restaurant when she's not cooking.

          4 Replies
          1. re: klyeoh

            "Or you may want to check out BBQ King, Kylie Kwong's fave restaurant when she's not cooking." - I wonder if that is still true? I visited recently and it was very average. I think it has lost its edge and I understood fewer chefs went there. Although I suspect chefs ate there more because it was open so late rather than anything else.

            1. re: PhilD

              The old stalwart Golden Century is always good. BBQ King has gone down in standard as have most dim sum places in Sydney unfortunately. You could also try Ying's in Crows Nest or Fook Yuen in Chatswood. Some folks like Kam Fook either in Chatswood Chase or Bondi Junction

              1. re: mikey8811

                Sydney Cantonese is only ok - worth getting out to the ethnic enclaves like Hurstville, Chatswood or Burwood if you've got time for something closer to HK/Guangdong. If you're stuck in the city, Golden Century is a safe bet.

                1. re: hengshan

                  Hengshan, which restaurants would you recommend, and do they have any specialities?
                  We are planning a food safari out to Hurstville next weekend, and actually thought of heading to Chatswood today. Thanks.