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.

Crispy Skin Duck special served at Billy Kwong.

Crispy Skin Duck special served at Billy Kwong.

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.

Billy Kwong on Urbanspoon


I am a professional food presenter and cook who loves inspiring a little gourmet at home. I hope my blog posts and recipes inspire you to get creating in your kitchen.