Categories
Chinese

Taste of Nanking (老南京) – Waterloo NSW Restaurant Review

One tried and true formula for naming a Chinese restaurant is rolling the dice on different combinations and permutations of the words “Golden”, “Empress”, “Dragon”, “Jade”, and finishing off with ” Seafood Restaurant”. Another familiar technique is to name a restaurant after one’s hometown and append “Taste of” in front of it. Taste of Shanghai is one famous example. Taste of Nanking is another.

TASTE OF NANKING is located on Gadigal Avenue in Waterloo, a recently developed strip of Asian (mostly Chinese) restaurants and groceries with quite a few gems to find. It is somewhat down the street from U STORE, an expensive but fun Asian grocery store with a wide array of snacks and a good mix of not only Chinese but also Korean and Japanese goods.

Taste of Nanking’s Mixed Noodle with Scallion Sauce and Minced Pork ($13.80) was really good. It is a dry noodle dish with a delicious sauce base and a generous helping of mince. The serving is huge, and I enjoyed the addition of the steamed bok choy which provided a fresh and moist counter to the thick saucy noodle dish. There’s a chilli symbol next to it on the menu, but it has more of a sweet taste than a spicy taste. I can definitely recommend this one.

Crayfish topping on steamed rice (Luxury)

The Crayfish Topping on Steamed Rice dish comes in three different grades – Original, Luxury, and Supreme – denoting the quantity of crayfish topping added. I had the “Luxury”, level with 120 grams of crayfish topping, coming in at $22.80.

My feelings about this dish were a bit mixed. This was my first time having small crayfish like this, and I appreciated the small prawny flavour but wondered what kind of hell it was to have to hand peel these tiny crayfish that I was eating multiple of in each mouthful. Apart from the yummy crayfish, the sauce that swam in was a bit too salty and tasty for me, and in this sense the rice definitely came in handy. The egg was yummy, and the dish did benefit from the addition of extra egg. The preserved vegetables added a sweetness to the otherwise quite salty dish. Again this was quite a large serving and like the mixed noodles we took what we couldn’t finish home. If I had one alteration to suggest I would either only get the Original variation (assuming that with only 90 grams of crayfish topping there would be less salty sauce) or add some additional rice.

Nanking Special Egg

The Nanking Special Eggs ($2) were a little bit special. They are your classic marinated soy/tea eggs, served cold, and really good eaten with the mains.

The Braised Jumbo Meat Ball in Brown Sauce ($6.80) have a maximum order of 1 per customer, which I don’t really think makes sense unless there is a good reason for scarcity – normally more orders mean more income for the restaurant. They are a large ball formed out of minced pork. My partner quite enjoyed their soft internal texture, however I thought that they were a bit too salty to have on their own. They’re not bad, but if you are ordering these balls I’d highly recommend you have them with some rice.

Signature Nanking Soup Dumplings

The Signature Nanking Soup Dumplings (6 for $7.80) were pretty much Xiao Long Bao but without the folds in the pastry. I’m not really sure what else is different – perhaps a difference in the filling, but given the reasonably wide variation of XLB fillings in general I think it still fits in the same spectrum. The soup of Nanjing soup dumplings is also meant to be more prominent, and while these were quite soupy I think again they fall within the same spectrum as the XLBs of Sydney. They are cheap, juicy, and cheerful.

CONCLUSION

Taste of Nanking is not generally well-rated online, but I’m not too sure why. One one star review on Google Reviews was because their air conditioning wasn’t cold enough one Summer day, which I don’t really think is enough to poo-poo an otherwise good meal. Service seems to be another common complaint I thought the guy running front of house was really enthusiastic, although agree that it was a bit odd that we were given one cup to get water from the water cooler between the two of us.

Overall I think the food was good, and any of my gripes about it being too tasty could have been solved by ordering some extra white rice. Portions were huge and the meal was generally quite good value.

4.5/5 – Not for a business lunch or romantic date, but good for a quick casual meal or takeaway.

Taste of Nanking 老南京 Waterloo
1/18 Gadigal Ave, Waterloo NSW 2017
(02) 9313 8450

Categories
Café Chinese

Zensation Tea House – Waterloo NSW Dim Sum Restaurant Review

Zensation Tea House is a nice little two person operation in Waterloo. It is a mix between a teahouse, dim sum restaurant, and tea shop. The interior is decorated in a very cosy manner with all sorts of different tea related decorations and displays. There are a number of different seating options available, and a few different booths in different styles.

The attention to service from the middle aged Chinese man and woman and the toy poodle Goldie made our experience a real treat. We could tell that the lady was manning both the restaurant and the store by herself to start, but she fielded all her customers deftly and with a very kind manner.

We were given a bowl of sunflower seeds to eat while we waited. This was some kind of next level targeted nostalgia bomb as my grandmother and mother would eat these nonstop. (Still alive, teeth not so good now).

The food served was on par on quality with a regular yum cha restaurant. What was special was that they allow you to mix and match your dim sum for the same price. We were able to order 18 pieces of assorted dim sum for only $42, which is quite special. It’s really nice that as we dine as a couple we were able to get 2 each of a bunch of different things, compared to if we had gone to a normal yum cha place and had to get 3-4 of each thing we ordered. This meant that we were able to have much more variety! It would even be very feasible to go alone and get one of each type of dim sum for a cheap price.

A deeper dive into selected dim sum. Most were very good. The har gao was good. The siu mai, both chicken and pork/prawn varieties were good, the chive and prawn was good. The lo mai gai was good. The custard bun was good. The only complaint I have would be about the scallop and prawn dumplings which felt a bit flour-y, and the vegetarian dumplings which were mostly just not to my taste. All in all though very authentic.

Goldie, the shop dog, was not for eating. I got to pet him.

Water was filtered and chilled. We didn’t go for a tea session as we were in a bit of a rush and didn’t have time to stay. Tea was around $9-12 per head for unlimited refills, so we thought we would save this somewhat pricey pleasure for a different time.

I can really recommend Zensation Tea House in Waterloo, both as a nice date, a prolonged tea drinking session, and also for a solo diner keen to have an assortment of dumplings rather than just 4 of 3 types.

5 goldies/5 (peg approved)

Zensation Tea House
Shop 160/806 Bourke St, Waterloo NSW 2017
0418 291 197

Categories
Bakery Chinese

方包 Square Handmade Bread – Waterloo NSW Bakery Review

We happened across Square Handmade Bread after eating at Luckfood Fish Dumplings in Waterloo. It is a small bakery with modern facilities offering high-priced luxury breads as well as some desserts on a pre-order basis. Most breads were $15.80 per loaf, coming to $16.04 after credit card fees. They also serve coffee made from Grounds of Alexandria beans.

We ordered a loaf of garlic bomb bread – garlic bread loaf with cream cheese filling.

The square garlic bomb bread was quite good. It was not like a normal garlic bread, more sweet than salty. There was a lot of cream cheese filling, which I thought was actually to its detriment. I more enjoyed the crusty, less flavoured anterior, than the greasy creamy interior.

While good, I didn’t feel like this small half-loaf sized bread was worth $16.04. I concur with Robert H’s review in Google Reviews in this regard. For this reason, I am giving a 3/5, which could easily be a 4 if half the price.

方包 Square Handmade Bread
Shop 7, 5 Potter St, Waterloo NSW 2017, Australia
0415 353 369

方包 Square Handmade Bread Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Categories
Chinese

China Bowl – Waterloo NSW Chinese Restaurant Review

This review is about China Bowl in Waterloo (Sydney) NSW Australia, not China Bowl in Waterloo Ontario Canada.

The pan-fried pork and cabbage dumplings were minimally fried, with juicy insides and no breakage in the pastry. Pretty good. Also comes in boiled.

shredded pancake with beef

My partner’s order of shredded pancake with beef was not our favourite. It was a huge portion of food, but taste did not meet the expectations set by the other dishes.

The Biang Biang Noodles were yummy, a large portion with lots of toppings. It’s important to eat this with a spoon as otherwise the toppings sink to the bottom and you end up just filling up on noodles. The noodles themselves were very jin dao (bouncy)

cold poached chicken in chilli oil and peanuts

The cold poached chicken in chilli oil and peanuts (口水鸡, mouth-watering saliva chicken) were delicious. My partner’s second favourite dish, even though she doesn’t normally like Sichuan cuisine. It was also a large portion.

All in all China Bowl is good food at a good price. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to a colleague for a quick late night meal, especially if you live in the area.

4/5

China Bowl
5 Gadigal Ave, Waterloo NSW 2017
0432 521 980