On my last trip to Sydney I was very eager to get a booking at Kylie Kwong’s restaurant in Surry Hills, ‘Billy Kwong’, lovingly named after her father.
I was not to be more than 15 minutes late for my 6pm booking, the maitre d’ warned or they’d have to give my table up. I arrived at 5:50pm to be first in line and the line grew quickly after me all with eager diners. As I waited I looked into the warm and inviting restaurant watching the wait staff getting into the zone for service, lighting candles and carefully placing cutlery and little dishes of complimentary peanuts in a very zen like manner.
At precisely 6pm the doors opened and my party were escorted past a magnificent vase of fresh blooms to our little table with humble stools. The decor was warm and inviting, a little luxe but also a very communal feel at the same time. I was instantly drawn to ordering the Billy Kwong 2012 Pinot Noir as I had already eyed off the Crispy Skin Duck special for main. There was not a spare seat in the tiny restaurant and passers by who tried to walk in were out of luck.
The dishes we ordered came out one at a time and were placed in the centre of the table. First up the Scallop and Prawn wontons; delightful, creamy little fresh parcels of steaming goodness served with the house XO sauce was a perfect way to start our Billy Kwong dining experience.
Next up came Red-Braised Kangaroo Tail with black bean sauce. With the bone still in tact, and chopped into small bite-sized pieces we were encouraged to use our hands to pick up the bones and enjoy the lovely saucy meat with sticky fingers.
A little Australian Native greens wok tossed with fresh ginger came out next to cleanse our palette before tucking into the best duck I have ever experienced. Possibly the crispiest skin ever achieved with duck served so elegantly with biodynamic oranges and plums in a delightfully sweet and sour vibrant red sauce, presented beautifully with cinnamon quills and star anise. I looked over to another table and a very young Chinese girl was sucking a cinnamon quill after the duck special at her family’s table was demolished, desperate to let the taste of that tasty duck sauce linger.
We couldn’t leave without a sweet finish to tempt us so we opted for the only dessert on the menu, a poached pear dish with candied macadamias and sour cream with a side of the most delicious extra dark chocolate, what a lovely complementary touch to end the evening.
To top it all off, we were lucky enough to be seated next to Kylie Kwong herself. She had a table of guests and much to my delight welcomed them with a ‘hello darl!’.
Kylie and her team have an amazing, unique and special restaurant, I hope they don’t change a thing!
Billy Kwong offer two dinner service times every night from 6pm till 8pm and 8pm till 10pm. Don’t be late, and bring a few mates to enjoy the share plate experience.