For most Sydneysiders Chinatown’s Marigold, a yum cha institution of 40 years, needs no introduction. This was not true for me, an ex-Western Sydney local whose yum cha haunts centered around Parramatta and Auburn, and who only heard about Marigold for the first time this year.
We often think about what is in a name, and when one of my colleagues first mentioned Marigold I took note of the distinct lack of the words “Golden”, “Jade”, “Empress”, “Dragon”, and “Seafood” and doubted its legitimacy. How wrong I was.
We dined on a weekday lunch in December 2020 with a group of our learned friends. Around us were tables mostly of middle aged Chinese people, as well as the odd group of young Caucasians. We were the only young group of Chinese-Australians in the expansive level 5 dining hall, and while we were all doctors we probably still disappointed all the aunties and uncles around the room when we ordered in English.
Rather than go through each dish in detail I will tell you just about a general vibe. Every little steam basket and plate of food we had was good. The selection was reasonably varied, and there was nothing that we craved that they didn’t have. Service from the ladies wheeling around the trolleys was a bit pushy, but that’s how yum cha operates and was fine. One of the waiters kindly obliged when I asked for a knife and fork for my chopstick-capable colleague as a joke – and this ended up coming in handy to cut the egg tarts.
On the note of egg tarts I didn’t think these were the best I’ve ever had. They weren’t fresh, and the pastry was not as light as they could’ve been. Marigold was, apart from the egg tarts, one of the better Yum Cha restaurants I’ve been to, and I can recommend it wholeheartedly.
Parking was $9 for 2 hours in the CBD on a weekday. Pretty good.
Marigold 683 George St, Sydney NSW 2000 (02) 9281 3388
We ate at the Haymarket branch of 678 Korean BBQ on a Thursday night after my partner was jealous of me eating Korean BBQ with my colleagues from work the night before.
We thought that it was quite expensive for what you get. The side dishes are quite limited and were never refilled. I have heard that the more money you spend the greater the variety of side dishes but we spent $80 for 2 people and got barely anything.
To add insult to injury, by the time we had arrived they had already run out of many of the beef items.
Overall quite disappointing and I wouldn’t come back of my own accord.
Back when my partner worked in Concord, she would often come home with milk tea from Bengong. We always enjoyed their milk tea, imbued with a stronger tea flavour than most outfits. We were therefore suitably surprised and a little bit proud when we found that they had opened up a branch in Darling Square. The Concord Hospital boba tea shop had finally made it.
I really enjoyed this Tea Cube Milk Tea when I first had it. I was confused when they asked me to choose a flavour, and I chose lychee. I thought it was so cool that they had somehow created this drink where they put concentrated tea into jellies. I went back a couple of days later and asked for one but without fruit flavouring, and the staff member looked at me as if I were crazy but was ultimately happy to oblige. What I got was a simple milk tea with a lot of ice. I was an idiot. The tea cubes weren’t actually tea cubes, merely fruit cubes.
The Wuwu Oreo Sundae was pretty good! Just a soft serve over hot brown sugar and boba syrup, with an oreo on top. It melts quickly so be sure to eat it just as fast.
Bread is bread. This particular strawberry flavoured bread was not that good.
We walked past many enticing restaurants this morning to eat at Boon Cafe, a Thai cafe, restaurant and grocery store in the Sydney CBD.
Boon Cafe has minimal dining space, we counted a total of five tables and not much room for expansion. The tables were small, but somehow able to fit all of our food, condiments, and even some flowers snugly.
We started with a Pork Skewer ($3.50), which was pretty standard fare. I found the skewer a bit too tasty/salty to eat by itself, and think it would’ve been better with some rice (which luckily they offer as a meal) .
I really enjoyed the Chicken and Ginger Congee ($12), to which we added a Century Egg ($3). They got the flavours just right, with a generous serving of ginger. The century egg I would regard as essential for this dish, to add another dimension of umami flavour and texture. We found that the congee was very wholesome and warming, and can strongly recommend this. My girlfriend remarked that as a child she hated congee, but as an adult, getting to eat these wholesome and varied congees has really taught her to love it.
The chicken wings were nothing to really write home about but not bad either. They were a little on the dry side, but the flavours were good, as was the dipping sauce. They were split in half for ease of consumption, which was a nice touch.
The Khao Dtom Sen ($14) is a member of the Winter Special menu, and not to our taste. I thought that the soup had a bit of an undesirable coat-your-mouth feel, and my partner thought it was fishy however I suspect that’s just her brain’s explanation of something she doesn’t like.
I ended up quite liking Boon Cafe, in particular the congee. I would definitely consider going back and just getting more congee! I wouldn’t stray too far from that though (although I can’t speak for the lunch or dinner menus).
This is a handsome little street cat from around the area.
After finishing lunch at Danjee at 1PM my friends wanted to go to Bornga that same evening at 8:30PM. I think this was probably my own fault, as I essentially incepted them by telling them I was having Korean that day.
While Danjee bills itself as Korean fine dining, I think Bornga is more suited to hold that title. Bornga’s interior, with its booths, decorations, and BBQ facilities is actually quite nice. We partook in a mixed meal of Korean BBQ and other non-BBQ dishes.
The side dishes were pretty adequate. They were not refilled on their own, rather we had to ask for them to be refilled.
The Japchae (stir fried glass noodles and vegetables – $23) was delicious. It was a nice and warm dish with lots of umami and sesame flavours. I liked how easy to eat and minimally chewy the glass noodles were. I’d get this again.
Bornga’s Bibim Naengmyeon (spicy buckwheat noodles – $17) was the second serving of Korean cold noodles that I had of the day. Compared with Danjee’s this one had far less soup, though I think there was a separate item on the menu with soup to drink. The noodles were much easier to eat, helped by the fact that we were given scissors to cut them up. Eating this dish helped me to realise that I shouldn’t have been so critical of Danjee’s naengmyeon’s minimal serving of meat – two slices is probably the standard. Not bad.
The Yesan tteokgalbi (grilled short rib patties – $23) was a sliced up patty made of marinated beef short rib meat and rice cakes, served with some creamy mayonnaise-like dipping sauce. It was quite good, fatty and moist and juicy, with a sweet flavour to it. It was reminiscent of a fatty and highly minced hamburger patty. Apparently it is rare to find this dish in Sydney, so if you’re at Bornga and there’s room in your tummy it’s worth a try.
The seafood and green onion pancake (haemul pajeon – $25) was the eggiest seafood pancake we’ve ever had. As you can see from the photo almost the entire exterior surface was covered in egg. My colleagues complained that there was not enough seafood within the pancake, however each slice I had did come with some seafood packed inside – not to mention the extra seafood my partner snuck into my bowl (she loves seafood pancake – hates seafood). I would agree, however, that this does not even reach my top five seafood pancakes that I’ve had in Sydney, and would recommend you not get this unless you have a distinct craving for it.
These are salad leaves. I’ve presented a photo of them here to help differentiate against Danjee, who didn’t give us any salad leaves.
Our ex-surgical colleague cut and cooked our Korean BBQ with incredible deftness. We had the wagyu kkot sal (wagyu short rib – $42), Mansinchang Samgyeopsal (marinated pork belly – $24), Woosamgyeop (beef loin – $23) and Samgyeopsal (pork belly -$22). All the meat was of high quality, though a bit expensive. We were keen to order some vegetables to cook on the BBQ as well, but their vegetables were out of stock. The only vegetables we were able to BBQ were two piece of onion, two of pumpkin, and one mushroom with the Bornga logo stamped onto it.
The Bornga Wagyu Bulgogi ($43 – Korean bulgogi hot pot with beef and vegetables) was quite a large servingf and delicious. It was really packed with a lot of greenery, mushrooms, and noodles. One of my colleagues had a lot of this dish.
.VERDICT $265 at Bornga bought more than enough to feed 4 large Asian boys who often get confused for one another and 2 normal sized women, including a bottle of makgoli to share. Bornga’s food is of high quality, reasonably priced and delicious. I can definitely recommend Bornga as the best Korean I’ve had in the Sydney CBD to date. Make sure to book ahead.