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.
|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.