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.
These days he’s turning out a Sydney-specific menu of modern Chinese dishes. His latest initiative, night yum cha, combines the tastes and weekend sleep-in desires of Western diners without betraying the hip Asian youngsters that still flock in. Killer dim sum will set you back only $7.90-$15.90 for visually spectacular options like Trillium Prawn Dumplings with 3 Coloured Fish Roe.
For flavour though, Chicken and Mushroom Shiu Mai with Scallop/Prawn and Caviar win.
Colourful Mixed Vegetable Dumplings are another must-have – gauze-like surfaces barely contain vibrant tangles of veggies.
Long, Long, Long Prawn and Cheese Spring Rolls come with crudités to really stroke the Western palate. Fried Daikon Radish Cakes are totally Chinese, but modernised in a way that will make Aussies gobble them too.
If Phoenix Spicy Prawn Dumplings raise a sweat, ease the pain with the theatre of a delightful Chrysanthemum Tea ($6.90).
These are Mini Fresh Fruit and Cream Tarts with Strawberries - one of three desserts I tried. Of course it was impossible to pass up another serve of the world's cutest Steamed Sesame Piggy Face Buns...
... which of course meant trying to squeeze in the Marshmallow Coconut Dusted Rabbits on a very full stomach! Lucky the house-made marshmallow is ethereally light!
The slower paced meal allowed me time to eyeball the food-related ancient Chinese artifacts - on the right you can see the scroll of the 'wild cursive' rebel script sums up the restaurant quite nicely I think.
On the bar behind me, the container is from the Western Zhou Dynasty - we're talking 1046–771 BC. Kaisern laughs a little sheepishly when I point out it's holding spoons. Apparently he ran out of room for display cases in his gallery style restaurant set-up.
I also got to check out the buff lad dining with Jason Coleman (So You Think You Can Dance) - a satisfying meal indeed.
Even the dining companion seems pleased.
If you'd like to see an earlier visit to this restaurant, look HERE.
Shop 12, 501 George Street, Sydney
Ph: (02) 9267 8877