Granted you could view this new Westfield Bondi Junction opening simply as an excuse not to schlep into the city from the Eastern Suburbs for your regular Cantonese fix, however if you scratch beneath the surface, there’s more than meets the eye.
It doesn’t feel like a food court restaurant inside a shopping mall, in fact it doesn’t feel like you’re inside at all. Mrs Mi in Chatswood Chase brings the authentic taste of Northern China's Shanxi region into what appears to be a bustling and vibrantly coloured street-side location.
Despite good instructions from enthusiastic floor Manager Quinton Van Schalkwyk, most of my meal is spent debating and creating the perfect cup of tea with my British dining companion.
The signature item at Din Tai Fung is Xiao Long Bao ($10.80), the semi-legendary pork soup dumplings that have carried this restaurant across continents.
The duck pancake is dead - long live the shredded Peking Duck Roti Wrap ($16.90/6 pieces)! It was my highlight of Chefs Gallery’s revised menu, which centres upon Chapas – Chinese style tapas. Before you wince, recall the Chinese have been sharing small dishes - dim sum - all the way back to the Han Dynasty; and reduced portions means sampling more dishes!
Sydney's 2014 Chinese New Year Festival, running from the 24th January to the 9th February, is set to be the biggest in our 18-year history, with over 80 events scheduled. Fashion designer Claudia Chan Shaw, one of the City of Sydney’s festival ambassadors, says: “For us, Chinese New Year has always been about getting together and sharing wonderful food with family and friends.”
A new Asian tapas cocktail bar in the vein of Mamasan has emerged on Bondi Road. Although the darkness inside suggests late night cocktails, the weekend yum cha from 12pm-4pm also lures in curious passers by. I'm a sucker for no-fuss a la carte yum cha and the Den does it well.
Maybe I’ve got a bit of Kath and Kim in me, but I love airports. The holiday starts as I enter the big white open space of a terminal. Once luggage has disappeared, I’m choking in expensive perfume, and eating while jumbo jets take off. It’s my idea of a good time, and at Sydney International Airport, if you bypass the fast-food labyrinth, you’ll find an array of top-notch restaurants and cafés, too.
Sometimes food writers, (myself included), can beat the authenticity stick too hard; failing to notice when something better comes along. Kaisern Ching is a savvy Sydney restaurateur clearly affected by living here.
It’s not just the weather that’s hotting up; foodie events are emerging left, right and centre! This week I’m ignoring the new season cookbooks currently piling skyward on my desk in favour of getting out to eat, and (more importantly) drink, and be merry.