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“Organic/Bio/seasonal ingredients, stylish small dining room, Modern Chinese by a skilled chef, friendly efficient staff”
Review of Billy Kwong

Billy Kwong
Ranked #35 of 5,939 Restaurants in Sydney
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: Chinese
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Local cuisine, Special occasions
Dining options: Dinner, Late Night, Reservations
NYC
Level 6 Contributor
114 reviews
82 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 97 helpful votes
“Organic/Bio/seasonal ingredients, stylish small dining room, Modern Chinese by a skilled chef, friendly efficient staff”
Reviewed February 11, 2013

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!

  • Visited January 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank AlastairCookieNYC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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801 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    462
    181
    99
    41
    18
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • English first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
McCracken, Australia
Level 4 Contributor
26 reviews
21 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Chinese with Class”
Reviewed January 31, 2013

I have been a fan of Kylie for some years, after my first visit to this restaurant it won't be my last. The food ambience and service were outstanding. Thank you all.

Visited January 2013
Helpful?
Thank John W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brisbane, Australia
Level 6 Contributor
89 reviews
76 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
“Duck Dreaming”
Reviewed January 23, 2013

13/1/2013

One day when I was watching SBS, I happened to catch Kylie Kwong's "My China" tv series. Ever since then, I've always wanted to try her food. At that time I could almost taste the food through the TV. Her passion for food, her way of cooking was what made me become an instant fan. Seeing her on episodes of Master Chef a few years later only served to confirm my desire to taste her cooking.

So it was with great excitement, knowing I was going to be in Sydney for a weekend, that I just had to book a table at Billy Kwong (Kylie's restaurant in Surry Hills Sydney). Luckily for me, I secured the family table. Billy Kwong can get quite busy from I'd heard, and they have two sittings. One at 6pm and another at 8:30pm. People usually line up outside this establishment hoping to be blessed by culinary goodness.

Billy Kwong is situated in the trendy area of Surry Hills, along Crown Street beside Marque Restaurant (Mark Best) and Bill Granger's "Bill's" Cafe. You just know this area is special when you have highly rated restaurants and cafes all within a short walk.

Upon entering Billy Kwong's, it felt like walking into a family member's house. Very inviting, warm and cosy, a perfect sanctuary from the light drizzle outside. I immediately noticed the nice dark cupboards lined with uniform wine and sauce bottles. Complimented by an array of several asian inspired ornaments. There's also a drum-shaped lantern hanging in the middle of the room.

The tables are smallish, round, with seating stools decorated with tea light candles, peanuts and cinnamon sticks as a centrepiece. The décor, the layout of the tables, seemed in keeping with Billy Kwong's small and simple dining area. The kitchen, where all the magic happens, is partly visible from where we were situated. Couldn't wait to order.

As there were seven of us, (five adults & two kids), we decided to order dishes to share. To start:

- Steamed 'Mark Eather' Ocean trout Shumai with XO sauce (which was recommended by staff)
This was very delicate in flavour with a beautiful XO sauce which complimented the Shumai.

The rest of our order arrived together, with our "mains" including:

- Steamed Silken tofu with ginger, Shaved Kombu, Chilli, Shiro Shoyu and bio-dynamic sesame oil.
I thought this dish was amazing. The combination of the silken tofu and shaved kombu melted in my mouth.

-White cooked Free range chicken with organic tamari, chilli, and coriander.
This chicken is served at room temperature, nice and warm, and again lots of flavour.

-Crispy Skin pasture fed duck with organic quandong and organic orange sauce
This dish was the "highlight" of the night for all of us. Presented beautifully on a plate with Star Anise and Cinnamon Sticks. The flavour was just so good, that its very hard to describe, and wouldn't do it justice. Every duck dish I will ever have will be compared to this one, and I would fly to Sydney just to have Billy Kwong's Crispy duck. I love that Kylie used a traditional indigenous bush tucker with this dish infused with Quandong which tasted like a ball of intense sweetness.

- Stir fried green vegetables (amaranth, nettles, dandelion, watercress, with patrice newells biodynamic garlic and shiro shoyu). A simple stir fried dish, delicious and complimented the Crispy Duck perfectly.

Billy Kwong's might be considered expensive asian cuisine (for some people), but considering its location, the celebrity owner, Kylie's vision of using only the freshest local organic, biodynamic and ethical produce, and the fact that the food is unique, absolutely fantastically delicious; it is worth every penny. If you go as a group, then as the cost is shared, the price is quite reasonable.

Overall the experience was excellent from start to finish. Outstanding service, knowledgeable, friendly, attentive, and always with a smile. Great service was the icing on the cake, and I always appreciate great service. I was hoping to see Kylie in action, but I couldn't see her. Already looking forward to coming back with my husband, as he missed out on such a fantastic experience. In the meantime, I'll keep dreaming of Kylie's Crispy duck at Billy Kwong's.

  • Visited January 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank DiscoverBNE
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney
Level 5 Contributor
77 reviews
45 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
“Yum”
Reviewed January 23, 2013

Great food, just delicious beef! It is hard at times to get a table. The wait staff were helpful. Good for groups so you can share.

Visited January 2013
Helpful?
Thank JillianSydney
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Adelaide, Australia
Level 5 Contributor
85 reviews
59 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“Delicious dining”
Reviewed January 18, 2013

We arrived at the restaurant 15 minutes before opening time of 6pm, we have a booking as it is a Friday night. There were already people milling around and it was still 37°C outside. A man comes out and asks that we form a queue even if we have a booking, so we all get in line. There are about 12 people, which soon grows to 20 by time 6pm rolls around. Groups of people are taken in one at a time and seated, given the menu and specials are explained. By 9 minutes past 6pm the restaurant is full! Service is good, we have our bottle of Frogmore Creek Fume Blanc Sauvignon Blanc 2011 and then the food starts to arrive. First we have steamed prawn dumpling with a chilli sauce which are light and full of flavour and perfectly cooked. Next we are presented with ocean trout dumpling with XO sauce. The trout is a little dry, but the sauce is divine. Then quickly after the trout come old man salt bush leaf pancakes, again served with a great sauce, and were delicious. Barely did we have time to digest all this and our first main course of poached line caught snapper arrived. It was perfectly cooked in a ginger flavoured broth, and was accompanied by steamed rice. The restaurant air conditioning just coped with the heat, or maybe the chilli made us all sweat! The next dish was the pork belly with honeycomb and plums: Red-Braised, Caramelised Black Berkshire Pork Belly with Malfroy's Organic Yellow Box Honeycomb, Organic Fish Sauce ( 100% Natural ), Organic Davidson's Plum & Sichuan Pepper as listed on the menu. What a great dish, and I am glad we had the fish first. Then honey and squeeze of fresh lemon cut through the fattiness of the pork. Delicious! So only an hour had transpired from when we ordered to eating all this food. Wish I had room for more. With so many excellent restaurants in Sydney to choose from, we will definitely be back.

  • Visited January 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Simla_11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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