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.
Kylie was in the kitchen with her hands free set on to bark orders if need be. She seemed commanding and calm throughout.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Quick review of this trip when I went up to rainy Sydney during easter. I had to spend a night at a SPG property to enable me to attain GOLD membership which is unbelievable. This was from the world mastercard credit card deal from Westpac Altitude which I have – you stay one night and you get gold. You would otherwise need to stay 10 times at a SPG property or after 25 friggin nights!
Gold SPG benefits
3 starpoints per US dollar
4pm late check out
An upgrade to an enhanced room at check in
welcome gift – starpoints, free internet or a beverage
During easter the prices of the hotels were expensive on the saturday night as usual, so we stayed at various locations during our 3 night stay. First night we stayed here at the Sheraton but just on a normal room. The second night we stayed at the rydges world square and 3rd night we came back.
I didn’t think my gold status would be approved and changed over that quickly and was very surprised when i checked in on the 3rd night and the receptionist was checking us in, asking us when we stayed here last etc. I told him, it was for business and I stayed here just 2 days ago. He finished up with me and said, BTW i’ve upgraded you to our executive suite. I didn’t think much of it thinking its just a better view of the room we stayed the other night.
On checkout, we had this rich couple, the lady wearing pink mink and just had plastic all over her complained about getting an upgrade to a suite. long story short – they ended up paying heaps to stay in the same suite as mine. If you’re that rich, just stop complaining already!
Room 924 it was. Looking at the map, rooms were definitely bigger than our previous one!
Opened it up and OMG, got upgraded to a suite! Thanks SPG gold! SPG has become my favourite hotel loyalty group. Along with other perks like transferring points to airline miles (asian miles etc), it is an amazing membership to hold. Not only that, you get 15% off meals when dining at any SPG property.
The suite was amazing. Looking over the park and the size was just out of this world. Huge L shape couch, study desk, on suite, bed and massive bathroom. It was raining quite heavily in Sydney and it was just perfect to do absolutely nothing but lounge around in a suite. I quickly looked up the rack rate for this room for that night and wow over $600 on their website. What a deal we scored!
I read the website about what differences there were, and it said it included access to the lounge! I quickly rang concierge but was unfortunately told that since it was an upgrade, you weren’t eligible for the lounge but eligible for buffet breakfast instead. No complaints there! Other upgrades includes better tea/coffee etc.
Had 2 TVs in this room as well! JAYSUS.
View was amazing.
Bedroom was huge and had another TV as well.
Had a docking station for the iphone/ipad lightning connector
Had Doors which opened out to make the room larger.
Walk in wardrobe with mirrors. Nice for the ladies.
Bathroom was spacious with a bathtub. Executive suite also provides toothbrush and toothpaste, whilst the normal rooms don’t.
Overall, we had an amazing stay at Sydney. I really can’t complain when we paid about $220 AUD and got upgraded to a suite. It really is amazing value. I would recommend it to anyone if they go to Sydney. Other facilities include a spa/pool/well equipped gym with amazing views.
Hotel does look a bit “old” but once you enter the rooms, it feels kinda “modern” as well.
BTW peckish thinks the brekkie was awesome. More on that next time.
Deal of the century – upgrade to executive suite
Rating – 16/20 – haha maybe i shouldn’t rate hotels.
Our friends have been here once and recommended this place whilst we’re up in Sydney. Part of the QT Hotel groups which seem to be focused more on their arts and design. This place is located in the heart of town and is one funky, retro and creepy restaurant. We came as our friend had a Black Priority Rewards Card (part of the rydges group) where you can get 50% off your bill which seems to be an amazing deal. There was a big exclusion which I’ll explain later.
Entrance to QT is like going into a theatre or some show.
The ground floor has all these mannequins dressed in 60s costumes. Even the door bitches were dressed like this.
It’s even a grand entrance to get in. You have to go up the lift and then go up the stairs to the restaurant. The restaurant itself is large, and also has a bar lounge area which was closed on this Saturday.
Just a few more mannequins for you.
There is a large bar when you first enter and a few bar stools.
And a wine cellar on display. I really like the layout, everything is open which makes it looks spacious and big. The kitchen is open and practically you can see the whole restaurant from your table.
Menus were laid out on the seats as they were that big. Menu has quite a few seafood dishes and steaks to choose from, sides, desserts. Modern / some American influence into their dishes.
Pretty packed on a Saturday. Decor was pretty cool
Drinks menu was a bit smaller.
This place was probably ideal for groups. Waiters and waitresses wore slim cut dresses and were funkily dressed.
Elvis on the roof? hmmmm.
Alright we had a group of 6. So we could almost order most of the menu which is great. Bread to start. Food Blogging 101. Camera eats first. Hands off my bread you guys.
First dish – Seared yellow fin tuna “Nicoise Salad”. It has Marinated Ortiz & White anchioves, Duck Egg, Liguarian Olives, Green Beans, Kipfler potatoes, tomato and seeded mustard dressing. It was quite nice.
So we ordered a few starters and a main each and a couple of desserts to share. The next dish was the kingfish carpaccio. Who doesn’t like buffalo mozzarella? It was fresh and a nice dish.
Next up, Tartare spoons of “Petuna Ocean Trout” comes in a spoon for each person, includes soft cooked quail eggs, creme fraiche, avocado mousse, blood orange & chilli dressing. The starters were good, totally no complaints about them.
Onto the mains, IK had the Seafood Pie. She said it was divine. I believed her… Sometimes simple dishes are not easy to make, and she said it was really good – so it must be good! Inside had snapper, trout, scallops with a nice puff pastry over the top.
Quite alot of seafood tonight. My mate had the line caught SA snapper. Pan fried, classic lemon butter sauce, frisee, mint shallot salad. I had a bit and never knew how good grilled snapper can be!
I ordered the beef rib and when this came i thought hmmm…. bit odd. It was for out other friend fortunately this didn’t look as appealing as the other dishes. “Old School Chicago Veal” which was topped with mozzarella, mild red chilli, baked in tomato passata, marjoram, black olive capers, splash of brandy.
10 Hour Cooked Moorish Beef Ribs. This was my dish. What I liked about it? Well it was extremely tender, fell off the bone sorta stuff. I did like the sultanas which gave it the sweetness but the rib itself was lacking taste. This came with a side of macaroni as well. Massive dish.
Side of macaroni as well. Nothing too special about the macaroni. Also ordered a serve of gratin.
Friend’s wife had Lemon crumb pan fried “the king of all All George Whiting”. Apparently it was very good as well. The seafood dishes were spot on.
We also ordered some chips and onion rings as well.
We were pretty full at this stage but again we had to soldier one, peering across the table we saw this some spectacular desserts we could not turn down. Originally our table was only till 8:45pm. We told them I was from the “peckish connoiseur” and they let us stay lol. kidding. They were nice enough to let us have desserts as well.
Fourless peanut butter double chocolate cake. This was so friggin rich, also topped with salted caramel gelato cigar scented peanuts and basil. A bit too sweet for our liking.
This was probably my favourite dish. My Pavlova – Soft and Sticky baked Meringue, passionfruit sauce, sugar bananas, green coconut flesh, candied coconut vanilly chantilly. The combination of textures and sourness and sweetness was superb. Excellent dish.
We also shared a Baked White chilled chocolate pot – A tartare of pickled pears in vanilla and rosewater syrup, salty crispy caramel bits and almonds. Another good dish but the pavlova just hit my sweet spot.
Open kitchen was lovely with some open ovens as well. We had a great meal. Even ordered some whiskys after to cleanse the palate. Thought that we had a good deal too with the 50% off. However, they changed the rules and you have to STAY at the hotel to get the discount. Couldn’t believe it. Well, considering we had so much food for around $80 per head I thought it was a pretty good deal. Teed up with paying with my AMEX reserve and a serve of velocity points booked through their restaurant website, I couldn’t complain really.
Been a long absence over the last few months! Theres still some of my end of year trip I haven’t posted up yet but since I’m in Sydney this long weekend, decided to post some reviews of some new places we haven’t been. On this rainy day we ventured to LuMi in Pyrmont, opposite Star City. Felt a bit like docklands in Melbourne – the only difference is I’d never time at Docklands restaurants. My best mate chose this venue. 1. he was looking for a good deal and 2. he booked via qantas restaurants which means he gets 100 QFF points per diner. Win win.
It was absolutely empty when we got there. but was pretty packed by the time we left at 2pm.
Quite an open area with views of the harbour and decking surrounds.
Lunch consists of a 4 course menu including a dessert. Lumi has some Japanese influence in their dishes fused with what I call ‘modern’ Italian. For $55 dollars, you get the following. 1. Chawanmushi 2. Tonnarelli, candied orange and bottled squid 3. Kurobuta pork jowl w/spinach, cauliflower, kale & quinoa and 4. Ginger Ice Cream, White Chocolate, Passionfruit. You can also order from the A La Carte Menu. All the courses even mains were under $30 dollars which was quite good value, but portions were quite small.
Some drinks to start. I went for a La Mi Bionda Beer. Quite nice.
Had some Starter to start. Rice Chips & Salt and Vinegar. Quite light, yet crunchy at the same time.
First course was the Chawanmushi. Basically looks like the Japanese egg custard, but its Italian. lol No It has parmesan Consumme with Tomato water. It was a perfect starter IMO. they still served this in a Japanese bowl which was a nice touch as well, respecting the Japanese roots of this dish.
Next course was the Tonnarelli, candied orange and bottled squid. Again it almost tasted like miso with pasta, the textures and the al danteness of the pasta was excellent. My only problem with this was, it was too little…. But less is more right!? Definitely a modern italian dish, not the traditional pastas you get.
We were going to order 4 of the same, but my mate had other ideas, wouldn’t let his wife order that and wanted to order some from the a la carte menu. So we ordered Veal Tartare, Tarragon and buckwheat served with flat bread. Again, wonderfully presented, it seemed to have a bed of tarragon puree, layered with the veal tartare and some crunchy buckwheat on top. Divine combination.
I didn’t have the next dish, but apparently it was also a nice dish to have. Amatriciana in the can. And literally, i reckon you can fit the pasta in a can. It was that sort of portion.
For our main, we had pork jowl, quinoa, cauliflower with spinach leaves over the top. Reminds me of our Attica Dish.
Crispy pork jowl underneath. Never was a fan of pork jowl as its quite stringy at times, no crunch, soft usually but I guess if you can change the textures a bit, it makes a big difference.
Our friend had the Striped Trumpeter, black sesame seeds, daikon. Again lots of Japanese ingredients used in this dish. The fish was cooked perfectly and was delicious. Again portions were just too small.
Finally for dessert – Ginger ice cream, white chocolate, passionfruit. Nice dish to finish with some meringue shards on top
Overall, the dishes were lovely, quite a novelty to have a mixed Italian/Japanese influence. And to be honest, I don’t think there are many around. Italians tend to stick to their roots, and as the world changes all the time, its nice to see that it works quite well.
Rating : 15/20
Dish of the day : Go for the pasta
Vibe : Misses something, not sure what, maybe it was the weather.
Most Disappointing part : Still hungry after.
Would I come back : Definitely, maybe 8 courses should do the trick next time 😛