Lovin’ Lamb – Burwood NSW Restaurant Review

I didn’t really love Lovin’ Lamb. I had their signature lamb skewers, and I just didn’t feel like I connected with them. I did ask for them in a mild heat level because my girlfriend is a spice-o-phobe and because we had already eaten that night so I couldn’t justify getting two sets at differing spice levels, but I just felt that they didn’t have much flavour. Even the mild lamb skewers at competitors such Lamb & Cumin have some salt and cumin flavour, if not explicitly chilli flavour, but these ones at Lovin’ lamb left me wanting.

I’m always willing to give places like this another shot, just in case it was my order that was to blame, rather than the restaurant itself.

I’ll edit this post if I ever end up back there.

Lovin’ Lamb
125 Burwood Rd, Burwood NSW 2134

Chinese Groceries

Big John Jumbo Pork Meatballs Classic Shanghai Style – Grocery Review

I am glad that I turned down Big John’s offer to comp me a bag of their fab frozen dumplings after my stellar review, because it leaves me free to write a less gushing review about one of their other products. As someone immersed in the Sydney foodie social media scene, it always makes me feel uncomfortable how many of these influencers are taking money or freebies from industry. I understand that for some this is a job rather than a mere stupid hobby, but I find it very difficult to trust recommendations from anyone who might have a conflict of interest. Even when a review is not directly paid for or comped, there’s a general understanding that if you’re someone who’s a negative Nancy you’re less likely to be invited to collaborate with other brands.

So I’m glad to say that I have no conflicts of interest to declare when it comes to reviewing Big John’s Jumbo Pork Meatballs, Classic Shanghai Style. I had been craving a lion’s head meatball ever since I was reminded of their existence in some kind of Youtube video. My last such meatball was from Taste of Nanking in Waterloo, two years ago, and it was time to have it again.

These meatballs were cooked as per the instructions, in a light broth of ginger and light soy sauce, though I forgot the ginger. I also later cooked them steamed and then another time boiled with just plain water.

No matter how I cooked them, I felt like they were too wet and too loose in their structure. Perhaps it’s because my view of what these balls should be like are coloured by my last experience. Perhaps they’re not even meant to be the same kind, as these are Shanghainese and those were from a Nanjing-themed restaurant. Who knows, not me, for I do not read Chinese. I invite commenters to tell me that I’m comparing them to the wrong benchmark if that is the case.

I also felt, probably related to their structure and texture, that there was too much ginger in the meatball itself, let alone for it to be boiled with ginger as per the instructions. Perhaps if the ginger was minced more finely the ball would stay together better.

Ultimately though, while some may like these, they were not what I was after.

UPC 9356993000017


Chunking 渝人碼頭 – Burwood NSW Restaurant Review

Chungking’s menu sits on a pedestal outside their Burwood restaurant, and while novices like us will peruse it from the outside, likely making a plan or two for what to order before going in, all bets are off once one is actually inside. The walk from the front door to the dining table often provides us with a chance to see a selection of what’s good and popular at a restaurant, and on this particular walk we saw no less than 6 tables (around half of the diners) eating the same thing.

The specialty of the house was the Charcoal Barramundi. There is a choice between frozen and live barramundi, as well as a choice between other barramundi and other fish, including Murray cod. We had a live barramundi, which meant that the dish started at around $50. There was a choice of soup base, and being spice wimps we chose a mildly spicy garlic base. We thought that this would be the end of it, until our waitress told us that we needed to select three additional items at additional cost. We chose the fried tofu, some glass-style noodles, and baby bok choy each at an additional cost of around $5.

Luckily, this dish was actually quite good. The barramundi came butterflied, a bit fried and crusted on top with salt and pepper flavouring. It was supported by a bed of noodles, tofu, and baby bok choy as specified, keeping it crisp and preventing sogginess as we ate. I would probably do this again, but with a frozen dead barramundi rather than a live and then dead barramundi.

This lamb stew hotpot (I want to say, $32?) was the other dish that we got. Looking around the room as we left we found that other tables of two diners essentially just had the charcoal fish and nothing else. That would’ve been the right thing to do. The wrong thing to do was to order this dish as well. It wasn’t even really special. Might’ve been better with some rice.

Chungking Burwood
91 Burwood Rd, Burwood NSW 2134
(02) 8387 7809


1919 Lanzhou Beef Noodle – Burwood NSW Restaurant Review

This is a review of 1919 Lanzhou Beef Noodle in Burwood NSW, and certainly not a review of the similarly named 1915 Lanzhou Beef Noodles, around 100 metres up the road.

There always seems to be a line outside 1919 Lanzhou Beef Noodle, and on our visit last weekend the waiting time happened to be around 15 minutes for a seat. I wonder if the bulk of the waiting time is due to patrons only deciding on what they want once they get into the restaurant, which is a bit silly as they have a very limited and focused menu, easily visible from the outside.

Forever a fan of the classics, I chose the Lanzhou Beef Noodles ($12.80 in small) with the thinner noodle option. I really enjoyed this bowl, and I can see how this simple noodle dish has become a staple not just in Lanzhou, but across China and Chinese diasporas. The clear noodle soup, flavoured with radish, coriander, and a little bit of chilli sauce just felt so clean and wholesome, not weighed down by any soy or fattiness. The lean beef had a light but aromatic flavour to them. The noodles were hand pulled in the store window, but to be honest were not more than a caloric vehicle for the rest of the bowl. I regret only getting a small size, as it seems that the extra $1 for the large gives you a lot more soup, which is truly the star of the show.

My dining partner and also romantic partner, forever the non-classic fool, ordered the Special Dry Beef Noodle ($13.80 in small) with wide noodles. This was probably just fine but didn’t live up to the standards set by their soup noodles. It had a bit of tomato flavour to it and a bit of stewed beef flavour as well. What ultimately brought it down was the fact that the sauce did not quite coat the noodles as a pasta sauce should, even though it kind of ate more as a pasta than a Chinese noodle dish. This meant that at a certain point you were kind of just eating really wide unflavoured pasta.

These pork and cabbage steamed dumplings (4 for $4.80) were alright.

1919 Lanzhou Beef Noodle Burwood
117 Burwood Rd, Burwood NSW 2134
0499 041 919

Chinese Drinks

Machi Machi – Burwood NSW Restaurant Review

This is not really a restaurant, and this is not really a review. It is more of a description of a vibe and a general sense of feeling that I get when I drink a small $9 flask of bubble tea.

I don’t think there’s really any argument about the quality of these drinks. They are tasty, they are inventive, and they actually have a number of elements not found elsewhere. The Grapefruit Green Tea Slush with Fruit Jelly ($8.50) is a good example of this, where these guys experimenting with new ideas, for example putting the jelly at the bottom of the cup and not throughout it, actually changes the experience. It tastes pretty good, but again I’m reminded that we just spent $8.50 on a bubble tea.

This Black Milk Tea with Panna Cotta ($9) was also actually very good. Again a daring move from the mochi mochi team putting panna cotta at the bottom of the drink. Very tasty, and I think better than the option from Xing Fu Tang which incorporates panna cotta as a separate element. The price element comes out again though, even more in this case. One of the other things about these teas is that you’re actually not getting a large 700-800mL cup like you would normally. These are quite compact, slim, hip-flask like situations, so I think ultimately you’re paying around 3x the price for what you would pay for a standard milk tea a couple of years ago.

Whilst bubble tea has always been a discretionary spend Machi Machi certainly takes the idea of it as a luxury good to the next level. I don’t think your average public selective school student or university student really has access to buying and drinking these all the time, but there’s always the international student market.