Vanessa: Last week myself and fellow FFS members, Bianca and Alex, got to tick one of the items of our “restaurant bucket list” by attending a luncheon at China Republic in World Square. Having heard many times over about one said Peking duck, we were delighted to be invited to taste the latest express lunch menu created by head chef, Michael Wong and his team.
Chef Wong has created 3 menu choices that captures the essence of Asian cuisine and priced at only $25, $30 and $35 it’s perfect if you want a bit more of an upscale lunch without breaking the bank. As we arrived, the looming terracotta warrior that greeted us at the entrance of the large, wooden doors instantly gave us the sense that a great deal of emphasis had been placed on creating a modern yet cultural atmosphere.
My immediate impression as we stepped into the dimly lit dining area was that this was a restaurant that had been designed to create a memorable experience for its patrons.
The restaurant itself is fairly large and has a variety of different sized tables to choose from. As we made our way to the table to join the group, the first thing that struck me was the beautiful glass fronted kitchen area which showcased rows of steamer baskets and an intriguing Koy pond running around the side of it.
We settled in at our table where General Manager, Jason Ratcliffe, was on hand to talk us through the inspiration behind the Chinese menu and the newly launched express lunch sets.
First up was a cold dish of poached chicken drizzled with punchy lemon, garlic, chilli and ginger sauce. What a taste sensation this was! It was unanimous that the bold flavours in the sauce complimented the blander flavour of the chicken perfectly. A crowd pleaser and outstanding dish right from the get go. This definitely whet our appetites in anticipation of what would be up next.
We were served an individual bamboo platter which is a standard inclusion across all the express lunch sets consisting of Beijing-style spicy and sour cucumber, eggplant and coriander salad with garlic dressing as well as two spring rolls one being peking duck the other a spicy beef. This was great as it allowed us to sample a number of smaller items.
The next dishes that came out were equally delicious, one being the crispy sweet and sour prawns, the other the wok fried oyster mushrooms with chilli and garlic shoots. Mushrooms are definitely not my vegetable of choice but this dish I would gladly eat again. I also can’t speak highly enough about those prawns. They have got the balance perfectly between the sweet and the sour, not to mention the crispiness of the prawn. The wok-fried wagyu beef with fried garlic and fresh black pepper was a well marinated dish and full of flavour.
We eagerly awaited the arrival of the renowned 10-day cured Peking duck, the signature dish on Michael Wong’s menu. Whilst waiting we sipped on cocktails, my personal favorite being the Rose Knight – a refreshing mix of gin and pureed mango.
When the duck arrived with the accompanying packages and condiments, we were instructed to dip the crispy skin into some sugar. This created a “duck fairy floss” sensation which was a little too sweet for my liking, but I appreciated the novelty. Needless to say the duck was succulent and the perfect companion to the pancake and fillings. My observation was that the portion of duck wasn’t overly large, but satisfying considering we had already eaten a number of dishes. It is definitely a winner all round.
Another note worthy thing to mention about China Republic is its capacity to host larger private events in their upstairs dining area. The space can hold approximately 60 people and boasts a striking feature wall of miniature tea pots.
I would encourage everyone, especially Sydney CBD workers, to check out their express set lunch menu. You can’t beat it for a great lunch venue at an affordable price. We are already looking forward to our next visit!
Photos by Alex
For Foods Sake was invited by Wasamedia. All opinions expressed however are independent.