Happy New Year! My first blog post for 2014 is China Republic - a relatively new Modern Chinese restaurant that recently opened up at World Square. I tried this place out a few weeks ago for my friend's birthday and let's just say...who said fine dining for Chinese food didn't exist? China Republic is an impressive two storey restaurant with stunning modern decors and a comprehensive menu covering a mix of traditional Chinese dishes with fusion influences.
Location for China Republic is super convenient - the restaurant is a close walk from Town Hall Station where World Square resides, situated next to the Ernst and Young entrance on George Street. Seriously, you can't miss the huge stone man.
The restaurant's interiors looked amazing (and expensive)! The general dining area was very dimly lit but illuminated with glows of golden light here and there. Towards the side you could also dine in the hallways where rays of natural light would shine in. Overall a very sleek and ambient and feel! Truly a restaurant where East meets West.
Grand looking statues stand tall as displays - don't stare too long or else it gets a tad scary...
So apparently, China Republic can sit up to 260 people over two levels, with general dining downstairs and function/private VIP dining upstairs. I only found this out through the website! On the night I thought it was just the downstairs level. Upon checking the website images, I must say those rooms look pretty damn impressive. I'm sure they don't come cheap but for a special occasion it might be nice to book one :)
On the menu you'll find all the typical signature dishes you'd expect to see at a Chinese restaurant accompanied by beautifully shot images that makes you want to order EVERYTHING. As a party of 5, we spent a good deal of time discussing how to order strategically so that we can try a broad range of dishes, fill ourselves substantially, and avoid breaking the bank. After all, prices here aren't exactly cheap.
Out of the 5 dishes ordered, 4 of them were listed as the Restaurant's Top 10 - going safe all the way! Oh and did you know that the head chefs were handpicked from Beijing?
Often when I go out to eat Chinese in Sydney, I hardly ever order cold entree dishes. This is unheard of if I was in, say Shanghai. The table is always filled with 5+ cold entree dishes before the hot mains are served. Which is why I particularly enjoyed this White Cut Chicken Served with Spicy Lemon Sauce ($15.00).
The chicken was so tender that I felt as though each bite was slippery in sliding off my tongue before I gobbled it all up again. The creamy lemon sauce was definitely the hero in adding the boost of flavour to the chicken with a slight kick of tanginess. The perfect cold entree dish!
Next up was the highly anticipated Peking Duck ($88). To be honest, initially I was hesitant to order it because it was $88 and you could only pick the choice of having the whole duck. On top of that, all the condiments and sauces came at $2 per person - which is another extra $10 as there were 5 of us. Nevertheless as Peking Duck was one of their signature offerings, we decided to go with the splurge.
The Side Dish ($2 per person) includes the following:
- Sweet Soy Bean Paste
- White Sugar
- Pickled Cucumber
- Chinese Mustard
- Garlic Paste
- Purple Onion
Honestly I couldn't decide whether or not this was funny or cruel - the Peking Duck ($88, two bowls of the below) was served in a duck bowl! 2 to be precise.
It also comes with Two Types of Pancakes - the original flat one and the pocket version where you stuff the duck meat in.
I enjoyed the pocket version simply for the novelty factor!
Overall the Peking Duck was very tasty and well cooked. The skin was slightly oily with a mini crunch whilst the meat was tender and flavoursome. Along with the sauce and the condiments of choice, it was a yummy feed. Was it enough for the 5 of us? Yes it was. But was it worth $88? Probably not.
A considerate brochure was handed to each of us when the Peking Duck was served and I believe it to be an instruction manual for those who are unfamiliar with eating the oh so glorious Peking Duck. Love how each step is outlined by a photo!
Next up was a favourite order of mine for that night! The Chefs Special Sweet and Sour Pork Spareribs ($21) is an absolute signature dish and one that I always order when I go back to China. The people at China Republic have done well for this dish - the sticky glaze over the tender juicy spareribs had just the right amount of balance between sweet and sour, resulting in a tasty bite. Highly recommend!
The Signature Ma Po Tofu ($18) came in the cutest little pot!
I enjoyed the tofu and it complimented well with the rice, which is expected. I don't think I could ever eat Ma Po Tofu without rice...something about the combination of the two that screams comfort food.
Now...the China Republic Hot and Spicy Fish Fillets ($32) was somewhat of an interesting one. Firstly I loved the unique presentation of the dish - novelty is always a key element to intrigue and anticipation.
The fish was delicious...until the chilli numbing effect took place 1 minute after. The numbing effect was really intense as it caused tingling on my lips and tongue. Despite downing lots of water and eating more of the ma po tofu to blur out the strong flavours, it was difficult to shake off the aftertaste and its effects. As a result, I don't think I'll be ordering this again...
Overall, China Republic was an enjoyable experience despite a few disappointments here and there. The staff and service here is impeccable and very attentive. Food is decent albeit a tad expensive, especially the Peking Duck. I did however appreciate the immaculate presentation of the dishes and how the flavours were pretty authentic.
Will you be trying out China Republic?
Labels: Chinese, Modern Chinese