Initially, Billy Kwong barely make it into our Sydney itinerary. This is because they have a no-booking policy and there was a high chance of not getting a table for dinner on a Sunday night, a day before Easter Monday (where Billy Kwong was closed). Fortunately, we’ve completed most of the day’s agenda ahead of plan and decided to walk towards Surry Hills. We were there early, actually very early about 5pm. We could see Kylie Kwong (through the glass window) having an afternoon tea, probably taking a break from dinner preparation. We were early because we heard that there will be a long queue from 6pm onwards and were afraid that we might missed the chance to eat at Billy Kwong. As we were (too) early, we decided to have a drink two blocks away at Mille Vini.
Ms. L. kept peeking at her watch, very worried about our entry to Billy Kwong. It was 5.30pm and Ms. L. decided to head back to Billy Kwong to start the queue. Lil’ M. and I made our way later after finishing our drinks and ‘complimentary’ biscuits (see Mille Vini). Ms. L. was the first in line and around five minutes to 6pm, there were already more than 10 people queuing.
Billy Kwong opened at 6pm sharp and we were escorted to our table (Table No. 1!).
We were then provided with menus and were taken through the day’s special. I noticed that the next customer in line was only allowed to enter after our waiter had completed the menu induction with us. This followed on for the rest of the people lining outside Billy Kwong. The specials menu was hand written and I suspect it was Kylie’s – a Chef’s writing indeed. As usual we took awhile on deciding what to order and kept referencing both the specials and à la carte menu. We also consulted our waiter a couple of times and our queries were attended professionally. By the time we had completed our order, our neighbors can be seen scouring through the bottom of their first dish (remember that we were the first customer to enter) – a gauge for you on the time we took to order!
We ordered the Beef Brisket (^) with Cucumber, Spring Onion and Pancake ($36) as our appetizer. I don’t think I have the correct name for this dish as it was not included in the specials or à la carte menu. There were four pieces of the cucumber, spring onion (or shallot?) and pancake on this dish. It also came with an organic soy sauce and sesame seed with chilli salt at the side. This first dish was a good start to a memorable dinner in Sydney. The wrapped-up pancake with all the items on the dish was fantastic. The marinated beef brisket was very tender and tasty. Personally, the combination of the organic soy sauce and sesame seed with chilli salt was the winner.
The first main dish we ordered was the (^) Homestyle Fried Biodynamic Eggs with Organic Tamari and Homemade XO ($21). This dish sounded very technical and to some it’s just fried eggs, but it was the best fried eggs we have eaten. That was what we told our waiter when he came around to check on how we were going. He also told us that it was his favorite dish. The way the egg was fried gave it a crispy-crunchy texture. The sauce was delicious and the spiciness was just right for us. We practically licked up the whole dish!
We also ordered Steamed Jasmine Rice ($3 per person) to accompany the main dishes.
The next main dish was the (^) Crispy Skin Duck with Organic Mandarin Sauce ($52). This was the dish of the day. It boast a very unique combination of ingredients and the resulting flavor was excellent. The skin was crispy (literally) and tasty. The duck meat was very tender and moist, and worked very well with the mandarin sauce. The meat was so far the best duck meat I have tasted and it definitely attributed to the source of the meat used. Highly recommended.
As you may have read, Kylie Kwong uses locally grown, organic and biodynamic produce to create her menu. It is a must-try restaurant if you have not tasted these healthiest ingredients Chinese-style.
I tried to take a good shot of Kylie but failed. She was constantly on the move attending to customers or doing her magic in the kitchen. In addition, the dimmed lighting worked against my high-tech camera! I actually went over to say ‘hi’ and asked if I could take a picture of her. She held my arm and said to me with a smile; “Not tonight … and your daughter is very cute!”. Thank you Kylie for the wonderful dishes.Billy Kwong – Chinese Eating House Shop 3, 355 Crown Street Surry Hills, 2010 NSW, Sydney, Australia 61-2-9332-3300 (between 10am and 5pm) (no-bookings restaurant except for one table, seats 6–8 people, book at 6pm or 8.30pm (6pm booking needs to vacate by 8.30pm) www.kyliekwong.org