Last month my husband and I ate at Kylie Kwong’s restaurant, Billy Kwong. We were in Sydneyvisiting our friends, Nicola and Anthony, and Nicola wanted to know if we’d like to eat at Kylie’s restaurant as she knows I’m a big fan of hers. I first heard about Kylie Kwong from her cooking show, ‘Cooking With Heart and Soul‘, when I still lived in Singapore. At that time Jamie Oliver was the newest kid on the block as far as celebrity tv chefs go. And, as much as I like Jamie’s style and flair, Kylie caught my interest with her natural affection and zeal chatting about her own personal account of food stories while growing up with her Chinese family in Australia. Kylie’s style of cooking is inspired by traditional Chinese recipes but served with a modern look. Billy Kwong happily boasts using fresh seasonal produce, with a preference for organic or biodynamic produce.
We enjoyed everything we ordered (poached Calamari with crushed cherry tomato, lemon & mint salad; Sung Choi Bao of Pork; Steamed Silken Tofu with Zucchini, Mushrooms; Organic Jasmine Rice, Steamed Prawn Wontons with Organic Brown Rice Vinegar dressing….more was ordered but we had such a fabulous time that I can’t recall!). I think what stood out the most was that the flavours were easily recognized and for me, that’s the way food should be. A mingling of flavors and not one that over powered the other.
When planning to go to Kylie’s restaurant, go early to make your booking as you won’t be able to phone in your reservation. The only exception to this rule applies to one table that accommodates 6-8 people.
Arrive about an hour before your intended time to eat, give them your mobile number and head over to the pub across the street for pre dinner drinks. We arrived on a Friday night at 7pm, made the reservation and went across the street to the pub. Doing this will remove any angst or drama and pave the way for a more enjoyable evening. By 8pm the restaurant called saying our table was ready. The menu has a good selection but if you’re not sure what to eat, then I suggest ordering Kylie’s Banquet where you’ll be treated to a variety of seasonal specials. The banquet is an ideal way to experience all the Chinese flavors, textures and aromas. It should be noted that Billy Kwong’s is fashioned like a Chinese eating house so the tables will be small and the seats (stools) don’t have any backs (like any teahouse you’d find in China).
Billy Kwong is fully licensed but you can also bring your own wine for a small corkage fee of $10.00 per bottle. Billy Kwong is open seven nights a week, from 6pm. Last orders go into the kitchen at 10pm from Monday to Thursday, 11pm on Friday and Saturday, and 9pm on Sunday. The restaurant is located in Surry Hills, 355 Crown Street, 2-9332-3300
The Culinary Chase’s Note: The restaurant is small and a bit noisy (a pleasant noise I might add!) but that’s the way Chinese eateries are! Billy Kwong is a beehive of activity and before you know it, it’s time to leave! Kylie’s philosophy at Billy Kwong is: ‘To leave as small and light an environmental footprint as possible, to give back to the community whenever and wherever we can, and to think globally and act locally.’ Kylie is the ambassador for the Fair Trade Association of Australia and New Zealand.