Friday, July 13, 2012

Billy Kwong, Surry Hills

Billy Kwong in Surry Hills is somewhere that has been on my Eat List for what seems like eons. EONS!


Why?  Truthfully I'm a little starstruck by owner Kylie Kwong and I've always been keen to try her style of Chinese fusion cooking made from ethically raised, organic, bio-dynamic and seasonal produce. This type of ethical produce has become even more important to me since I've started learning about where my food/meat comes from and some of the really heartbreaking and inhumane conditions livestock are raised in. I was looking forward to dinner at Billy Kwong where I could go nuts eating ANYTHING I wanted knowing upfront that it the type of ethical food I wanted to support.


The restaurant is fairly small - and until last month it wasn't even possible to book a table.  The queue of diners waiting to get into the restaurant at 6pm was a common sight on Crown Street.  There are probably only 40 seats (stools no less - oh, my aching back) in the whole place and turn over is pretty high.  I was lucky enough to score a seat at the table Viv had booked as party of a charity auction for Starlight Foundation. 

We had $250 to spend on food as part of the charity gig and I was thinking this wouldn't go very far as some of the dishes are quite pricey. Turns out we had more than enough to eat and even had a bit of spare change at the end of the meal.  Infact, I'd happily go back here with a group of four people again - I think we'd get away with spending about $60 each and would leave pretty happy.  Individually some of the dishes are quite pricey, but somehow it doesn't actually add it to all that much for what is essentially a great quality meal with ethical produce.

A never-ending pot of delicious Organic Mint and Ginger Tea ($3.80 per person)
Our food frenzy begins with Crispy Prawn Wontons with Sweet Chilli Sauce ($19.00) and a serve of Crispy Organic Old Man Salt Bush Cakes (from the specials menu)...yes, we like crispy things.  The Prawn Wontons were similar to most other prawn wontons that I've had before, but the Salt Bush Cakes were really special.  The Salt Bush was just every so slightly salty and it was nice to experience first hand what so many of our sheep eat on a daily basis...ha ha. It helped that the salt-bush was encased in a lovely taro-cake and given a whirl in the deep-fryer.



My FAVOURITE entree of the night was without a doubt the Wok-Fried Rice Noodle Rolls with Braised Biodynamic Beef and Black Beans ($25.00). The beef was SO flavoursome and SO tender - truly incredible. The Homestyle Fried Biodynamic Eggs with Organic Tamari and Homemade XO ($19.00) was not at all what I was expecting. Rather than the hard-boiled eggs I was anticipating, the eggs were fried,with a still-runny yolk oozing out over the plate. This dish tasted really great with a spoonful of plain rice.


And onto the mains and the dish we'd all been waiting for - Crispy Skin Duck with Organic Davidson Plum Sauce ($49.00).  The duck was wonderful, crispy skin and not overly fatty...the Davidson Plum sauce was surprisingly tart (so don't go putting spoonfuls of it on your rice like did).  My favourite main however was the incredible Red-Braised Caramelised Black Berkshire Pork Belly with Organic Yellow Box Honeycomb, Organic Meyer Lemons and Fresh Organic Lilly Pillies ($42.00). Wow wow wow! This was AMAZING. The succulent piece of pork belly came topped with an oozy piece of honeycomb that we mixed through the dish to create a delicately sweet flavoured pork. The only problem with this dish was that I had to share it.



Curiosity got the better of us in our decision to order the Stir-Fried Cobbler's Peg, Milk Thistle, Dandelion, Cavolo Nero and Silver Beet with Young Ginger + Shiro Shoyu ($15.00) mainly so we could find out what Cobbler's Peg is. So what is Cobbler's Peg?  It's an introduced weed that has naturalised itself into our environment...and it's pretty tasty.
 


We finished off with the Dessert of the Day - Poached Pear with Macadamia Praline and sour cream - nice and light and I loved the Praline. Oh, and a complimentary serve of dark chocolate to end the night.


Billy Kwong is at Shop 3/355 Crown Street, Surry Hills. Phone them on 9332 3300.

Billy Kwong on Urbanspoon

39 comments:

  1. Yum! I haven't been to Billy Kwong's in years, this makes me want to go again!

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    1. I REALLY want to go again...everything was SO good.

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  2. This meal was SO GOOD. I'm tempted to go back and just order three plates of the beef noodle rolls all for myself. (And maybe the duck as well - it was my favourite main!)

    Thanks again to Viv for letting us tag along!

    --xo.

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    1. You're welcome ^^ so glad it was an amazing meal!

      Love your shots Mel :D and great write-up! Looking forward to going back again

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    2. I'm dying to go back too actually...it was all so good, and I thought it was pretty reasonably price for the provenance of the food. LOVE.

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  3. P.S. Once again, fabulous photos!

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  4. Gosh I need another visit to Sydney :) This looks amazing. Those salt bush cakes sound very interesting and that pork belly...OMG that looks incredible. I wonder who has that beautiful handwriting?

    I am star struck by Kylie too, but seriously her ethical/organic/local attitude is to be admired. Have you read her Its Tastes Better book? I love it. I have been looking forward to this post, more great work Miss Piggy x

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    1. The salt bush cake was GREAT...I kept thinking "gee, those saltbush eating lambs are pretty damn smart". Come to Sydney...we can go an a Billy Kwong eating frenzy together.

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  5. Oh I feel hungry!!! Just your photos were enough to excite me but thanks for the comentary as well. Saltbush cakes? Interesting but I must admit that my brothers and I grew up on a property with abundant saltbush and we ate the leaves all the time!

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    1. I want to try "just saltbush" now...

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  6. Looks like a lot of deep fry... but looks delicious!

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    1. Hmmm, well...yes, maybe (only three of the dishes though). But it was GOOD!

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  7. oh how does that all look! I've wanted to eat for ages.

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  8. oh wow all of them look so delicious esp the pork belly with honeycomb!

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    1. The whole meal was incredible, but the pork belly was my favourite!

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  9. When my mum went, she fell off her stool! Kylie came out to personally apologise, and then gave them free food. I was well jealous. I wished I'd fallen off the stool when I was there...

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    1. If Kylie is there the next time I go I'm gonna fall of my stool - accidentally of course.

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  10. I'm such a sucker for pork belly! This has now elevated Billy Kwong at least 4 places on my 'to visit' list!

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    1. I have a revolving top 5 list...this is at the top of my must re-visit list now.

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  11. ahh I really want to go to Billy Kwongs! The crispy skin duck looks heavenly!

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    1. It was heavenly...but you should try it for yourself.

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  12. I've been wanting to go for a long time too.. sadly I'm still waiting! I love how all the food sticks to what it truly should be. One of the things I look up to with Kylie. Amazing.

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    1. I think Kylie Kwong is a great chef & I really respect her for her sustainable & ethical stance on food.

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  13. What a great restaurant. I love how fresh the food looks and love how Kylie buys top quality ingredients and meat only from animals that have been well cared for. Not sure about sitting on stools but when the restaurant is small I guess stools take up less room and stop you from over-staying your welcome! I have one of Kylie's cookbooks and just love it - she inspires non-Asians that they really can cook like a Chinese.

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    1. I'm not a fan of stools either. Maybe I should bring my old foldable chair along to be-stooled restaurants in the future.

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  14. those rice noodle rolls and fried xo egg looks delicious :)

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    1. They were! I was sad I had to share the rice noodle rolls.

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  15. yum yum! ive been following your adventures on instagram~ love this post!

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    1. I think my Instagram picture was off our empty plates - glad you got to see what was on those plates.

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  16. I'm lucky and I've been twice! I don't understand the infatuation with the duck dish, it's incredibly sweet and tart. The eggs however are amazing, easily my favourite :) the line caught ocean trout is the second.

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    1. I didn't think the duck was overly sweet, but the sauce was very tart - it's meant to be left on the plate I guess - not poured all over the rice like I did.

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  17. I just watched Masterchef yesterday and was amazed by Kylie! Gosh look at her food! I can imagine it would be nothing less than spectacular! I am drooling over the pork belly...

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    1. I loved watching Kylie on Masterchef too...she seems larger than life doesn't she? Oh, and the food! Wow.

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  18. Was Kylie in the kitchen that night? She usually is and is a truly lovely person, one of the nicest chefs I have had the pleasure of meeting.

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    1. She wasn't...I was a bit bummed to be honest. Next time I hope.

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  19. Im yet to get to Billy Kwongs but yeah, its been on my list for ages. I saw Kylie in Surry Hills one day and stood there like I had Beiber Fever lol. Stud was pretty embarassed ;)

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