Billy Kwong Sydney Review

We are in Sydney to chill out this weekend. Made a few restaurant reservations and wanted to try out a few new places as well. We have been to Billy Kwong’s restaurant a few times but never in their new location in darlinghurst. We had to weave through the strip clubs and bars to get to this place and you’d think what a strange location to have one of the most famous chef’s in Australia.

After walking for about 10 mins from Kingscross station, you get to Billy Kwong’s restaurant. The one in Surry Hills was small, which only fitted a handful of tables. You always wonder if they expand of have a second restaurant whether it will kick off or not. Kylie obviously had contingency plans and this was no exception. It was busy but the staff seemed extremely experienced and dealt with everything very well.

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Outside Billy Kwong

Kylie was in the kitchen with her hands free set on to bark orders if need be. She seemed commanding and calm throughout.

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inside billy kwong

The menu is the same old, the cursive handwriting where you have to look twice to make out some of the specials. s usual the deep fried duck and orange and Davidsons plum is on the menu.

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Specials menu

There is a long bar table which probably sits 30 odd people. If you’re lucky enough you get to see Kylie at work. They all have these headphones on, staff gliding through the restaurant keeping an eye on you. They seem extremely experienced and service was impeccable.

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Patrons at the bar

Needed a beer badly and the waiter recommended the in house beer only available at Billy Kwong. I asked is it a lager and he said it’s “in its league of its own”. It was a bit sour, but refreshing & a bit creamy.

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Billy Kwong’s in house beer

We usually order this when we come the Billy Kwong’s restaurant. The tofu is soft and just the simplicity of flavours. I do think there was a bit too much sauce.

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Steamed Silken Tofu – with Kombu, chilli and Shiro Shoyu

Probably our favourite go to dish each time we come. I think the portions were a bit bigger last time but we love the flavours. I stole the duck leg and IK wasn’t happy! Goes well with jasmine rice.

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Deep Fried Caramelised duck with orange and Davidsons Plums

Chinese love to eat their fish whole. I loved these flavours. You could potentially eat the whole fish if you wanted. This time the portion of sauce was just right. Very addictive and perfect with rice.

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Deep fried sand whiting with Chilli, coriander , soy

We also had a dessert ; a pannacotta with ginger sauce. I thought it was average as you get the “skin” of the pannacotta. It needed to be wobblier, softer and smoother. I missed out taking the photo as we were pretty tired.

Overall, it was great to come back to Kylie’s restaurant. It was an essential move to grow and move into a larger premise. The quality was still there but maybe not as good as when we went to her previous restaurant.

Rating : 15/20

Dish of the day : Duck no doubt.

Service : experienced & smooth

Billy Kwong Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

New Shanghai Emporium

I heard about this place from my hairdresser. She knew something about dumplings but couldn’t remember the name. I would have known if Din Tai Fung was coming to Melbourne. So went up to emporium to check it out. Located in the “food court” of emporium ( I know they don’t like calling this). Rather than food court, they like to call it “cafe court”, basically clusters of restaurants, cafes  congregating in one floor. E.g. EARL canteen, Jimmy Grants, Rice Workshop, I Love Pho, Chinta Ria etc. We were lucky there were no one at all lining up here. Theres a glass window where you can peer through and check out the chef’s rolling up the dough to make their Xiao Long Baos. This is our second time coming here, but brought some friends to sample some more dishes. Luckily we booked as there was a massive queue already.

Looking at the menu, found out its actually a chain restaurant based in Sydney. Seems like their speciality are dumplings but also typical Shanghai dishes. Prices are quite reasonable for their dumplings in particular. Xiao Long Bao – $7.50 for 8 pieces!

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Menu

The interior has been done up nicely to mimic old shanghai. With comical posters on the wall and lots of wooden furnishings. Soy sauce and vinegar are a must for the Xiao Long Baos.

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Soy and Vinegar
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Comic posters with random chinese writing on the walls.

Had to have a Tsing Tao with my meal. Reminiscing my time when I visited shanghai ordering beer at a local restaurant.

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Tsing Tao Beer

As with Chinese dishes, theres not sequence to what comes out first. Basically whatever is cooked first comes first.  first comes the Shanghai noodle with shredded pork. Didnt think there was enough pork and was a bit on the oily side. Hu Tong’s Shanghai noodle seems more fulfilling.

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Shanghai noodle stir fried with shredded pork & vegetable – $9.90

Stir-fried beans, another Chinese classic. Again bit oily and lacking some mince.

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Stir fried string bean with dried shrimps & soy sauce – $13.50

Their winning dishes are definitely their dumplings. Pan fried dumplings was crunchy on the bottom, and has nice hot sauce inside. Watch your mouth! What I like about these are that its not just sloppily rolled, but each one are uniform and cooked perfectly.

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Pan fried pork dumpling* (8pcs) – $9.90

This is something we couldn’t order between the two of us. We kept looking what other people ordered and I really think you first eat with your eyes. If everyone is ordering it, you should order it too! This deep fried barramundi had plenty of meat. Again it was oily but had plenty of flavour packed in it. A westerner’s favourite as they love their sweet and sour sauce. Goes well with rice!

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Deep fried barramundi topped with sweet & sour sauce sprinkled with pine nuts & mixed vegetable – $28

Calorie killer this next dish. Salted egg yolk with deep fried tofu. Salted egg goes well with prawns, chicken ribs as well. Never really tried it with Tofu. Very flavoursome but can be a it too fattening.

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Deep fried tofu coated with salted egg yolk – $16.80

We do get extremely picky when it comes to Xiao Long Bao. To this date, apart from when Hu Tong first opened, none of the xiao long bao in Melbourne has got my approval. We used to fly up to Sydney to Din Tai Fung to get our Xiao Long Bao fix. This aint bad, still not comparable to Din Tai fung standard. The skin remains slightly thicker and a bit too much filling inside. However, definitely one of the best you can get in Melbourne.

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New Shanghai Xiao Long Bao – Steamed mini pork bun * (8pcs) – $7.80

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Again, one of my other favourite dishes here. 2 Rules to a good pan fried pork bun. Crispy skin, and nice hot filling with soup inside. ITs hard to perfect it because you can overcook the skin and undercook the meat inside. These massive dumplings are so filling. You really need a couple of friends to join you.

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New Shanghai pan fried pork bun* (8pcs) – $10.50

Slightly disappointed with this dish. The duck was very salty, theres no need to dip it in the spice mix. The steamed buns were nice but thought it was over seasoned.

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Crispy salted and spiced duck served with steamed plain bread (half duck) – $31.80

Very chinese decor inside. don’t know if you’re meant to climb up there or what.

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Inside Decor

Almost demolished our meal.

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Can check out how they roll their dumplings out.

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Overall, I would come here for their dumplings. They have a few good dishes worth trying out as well. If you can’t fly to Sydney for din Tai Fung, its probably the next best alternative.

Tip – Book in advance for a table. Beaware of the opening hours. Stupid really but emporium only opens till like 7or 9pm depending on which day. Also go with more people if you want to try their bigger dishes like the duck and fish. Also don’t over order gluten!

Rating – 14.5/20

Dish of the day – Their pan fried dumplings and xiao long bao.

What doesn’t change ? – the amount of oil we chinese use!

Where else for dumplings ?

Hutong dumpling bar – 14-16 Market Lane, Melbourne. Used to have awesome Xiao Long Baos when they flew the chefs from Din Tai Fung over. Sadly, they couldn’t replicate their standards.

Mr Huang Jin – 525 Collins st, Melbourne. Perhaps the thinnest skin Xiao Long Baos you will get in Melbourne. Rivals to Hu Tong and New Shanghai. They also have the crab meat dumplings as well.

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