Every 1-2 years I am in Sydney for a few days or up to a week. This is the first restaurant I go to for dinner, I always have the same thing, the duck with a side of steamed seasonal green and rice. Everything on the menu is fantastic and if I am with a large group I will order many dishes, but if I am running in on my own (perhaps only in the city for 1 night in transit), I will eat the duck on my own and love every bite.
This place is small, perhaps seats 30-40 people maximum in a cheerful, stylish space with a large glass window to a leafy street. The staff are all cool, friendly people with a warm manner and the owner Kylie Kwong is sometimes there in the kitchen, sometimes having dinner herself with friends, and it is a treat when she is actually there herself. I was on my own eating the duck last time I was there and I was so excited about getting the last available table with no waiting necessary that I did not register it was her until she sent a dumpling over to my table "compliments of the chef". It was the highlight of my trip this kind gesture gave me the opportunity to say thank you in person to Kylie for all the wonderful meals I have enjoyed in her restaurant. Billy Kwong's is a gem and she is charming and stylish and an excellent chef and restauranteur.
So the food is Chinese but with a modern spin - I believe Kylie Kwong worked for a time under famed chef Neil Perry. The ingredients are sourced as responsibly as possible - fresh, seasonal, organic and the restaurant has made efforts to reduce it's carbon footprint.
The decor is stylish without being flashy, comfortable, and I guess "modern asian" in aesthetic, like the food.
They do not take reservations (except maybe for the 2 large tables that seat 6 or 8), so generally I arrive at 5.30pm if I have jetlag or just feel like eating early and try to get first seating, OR if thats too early for me I put my name down at say 6.30pm and inevitably there is a 1-1.5hours wait, so I go and have either a drink or dessert next door at Bills. Then Billy Kwong's maitre de calls you when your table is ready - the system is quite easy and efficient and for my favourite duck I will always wait. And I am someone who refuses to wait for a table anywhere ever. Only at this 1 restaurant!
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