Billy Kwong is celebrity chef Kylie Kwong’s restaurant child that she opened back in May 2000. Considering the competitiveness of the current restaurant market in Sydney, just the fact alone that they have been open for more than 13 years now is a massive achievement in itself. That put together with the fact that there are still packing in a full house on a weekday night, shows that Kylie Kwong’s passion for using sustainable food to create Sydney’s first climate friendly restaurant has paid off.
To start the night off, our friendly waiter brought out a plate of pickled vegetables to whet our appetite. I always find myself hungrier, or at least more “peckish”, after devouring pickles so maybe there’s something behind the whole concept of providing complimentary pickles at some Chinese restaurants. Regardless, I loved their take on the usual carrot/radish pickles at traditional Chinese restaurants by using seasonal vegetables in big chunky forms topped with a thin wafer like cracker.
For entrees we decided to share the steamed prawn wontons and the wallaby fillet sang choi bao. The steamed prawn wontons were large and juicy, with big chunks of prawns scattered throughout the piping hot filling. The skin was gelatinous and silky. The delicate taste and texture of each wonton was then complemented with a chunky topping of minced ginger and shallots. Although $19 is quite pricey for essentially four wontons, it was nonetheless some damn good wontons.
We ordered the sang choi bao dish because most of us hadn’t tried wallaby fillet as a meat. Although the taste of the wallaby was masked by the hoisin sauce that was tossed through the wallaby sang choi bao mixture, the wallaby fillet texture and taste was resonant of being a more tender kangaroo cut.
Definitely one of the better tasting eggs I have had yet. Each piece of egg was covered by a flaky fried batter that was then topped with a very flavoursome tamari and homemade XO sauce. Really delicious and tasty, although all the fried-ness of the dish limits you to how much you could eat.
A thoughtful gesture from the team at Billy Kwong to provide us with a side of complimentary greens to balance out all our proteins.
My highlight of the meal came with the crispy-skin pasture fed duck dish. A large serving size (perfect for sharing with family and/or friends), each piece of duck is fried to a perfect crispiness in the skin whilst maintaining a sweet moist meat section underneath. The sweet sauce is also complemented by a slight tartness from the riberry and is dangerously addictive.
By the time our deep-fried chicken dish came, we were all beyond full. Despite our grumbling stomachs, we still managed to do a decent job almost finishing the generous serving of chicken. Similar to the deep-fried duck, the skin portion of the chicken was wonderfully crispy whilst the meat underneath managed to stay moist and tender. I thought this dish was like a “fine dining” version of shantung chicken.
Overall Billy Kwong provided us with a wonderful night out with friends, experiencing a vast variety of tasty organic sustainable dishes. The highlights of the meal for me was definitely the crispy-skinned duck (probably the best duck dish I’ve had in a Sydney eatery so far… although I still crave the taro stuffed duck dish at Fook Yuen occasionally). We did definitely over order this time round, but I guess we will just need to return another time to try their desserts!
3/355 Crown St Surry Hills
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