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
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

Categories
Italian

Lucio Pizzeria – Zetland NSW Restaurant Review

There’s lot of praise floating around for Lucio Pizzeria. After having dinner there tonight I don’t really think it’s warranted.

The Lucio ($24), Lucio Pizzeria’s signature pizza, is a half margherita half calzone. It is an interesting concept to create a pizza in such a way. While the flavours weren’t bad, I just wish there would be more of everything – more tomato, more basil, more ham. The calzone filling of ricotta and ham was good, but underseasoned.

Campagnola

Lucio’s Campagnola ($24) continues the tradition of underflavouring. While the sausage itself had good flavour, the flavours on the rest of the pizza where overwhelmed with cheese and cheese alone. This was a very cheesy, oily pizza, and a little bit of salt, a little more mushroom or sausage, would have gone a long way.

If I had to give my meal at Lucio Pizzeria an overarching theme it would be that it is underseasoned, bland, yet very oily. My compliments where compliments are due would have to go to the pizza’s thin base. It’s not awful – but it’s expensive, and I definitely wouldn’t travel for it.

The next pizza on my hitlist in the local area is Da Mario in Rosebery. I hope they will not disappoint me as much.

3/5 unworthy of their medals. Simply did not live up to the hype.

Lucio Pizzeria
East Village 2, 4 Defries Ave, Zetland NSW 2017
02) 9697 3028

Categories
Thai Vietnamese

Nam2 (Nam Squared) – Green Square/Zetland NSW Restaurant Review

Nam2 (Nam Squared) is a pan-south-east-Asian restaurant located in Green Square. A quick Google tells me that it is related in terms of ownership and management to Mr Nam, one of my favourite Vietnamese restaurants in the South Sydney area. Nam2 also happens to be co-owned by the husband of one of the people I work with, but rest assured this will be a fully objective review.

Given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic this is a takeaway review.

The Rare Beef Saigon Pho ($14) is very good. The flavours are on point and the beef the perfect done-ness, which is rare for delivery pho. There is an ample provision of bean sprouts and leaves, which is again often lacking for delivered pho. According to my colleague this is a borrowed specialty from Mr Nam. I can recommend this dish.

The Lot Noodle Salad

I enjoyed most elements of The Lot Noodle Salad ($17). It features crispy pork belly (TBH only ok), BBQ chicken (also ok), lemongrass beef (good!) and a spring roll, and while some of these elements are not so strong by themselves, the combination of all four elements is synergistic and ensures one never gets bored. The vermicelli is soft and fresh, and the remaining salad elements – herbs, carrot, and daikon, really bring the dish together. Would recommend.

Nam’s fried rice

Nam’s fried rice ($19) was probably the most disappointing part of the meal. It is advertised to feature spanner crab, brown butter, egg roe, and salted egg shaving, however most of these elements (apart from the tobiko) seemed missing in action. It was difficult to identify any crab or salted egg shavings. The flavour overall was OK, and I did appreciate that it was not too salty, but as the most expensive dish that we tried it was really quite underwhelming.

Saigon Spring Rolls

The Saigon Spring Rolls (4 for $8) were good and I thought much more fairly priced than at Mr Nam. No complaints here.

Nam’s Dry Suki Seafood

The Nam’s Dry Suki Seafood ($19) with glass noodle, egg, mushroom, and “Chinese kale” was good. The flavours were quite nice, and I enjoyed the noodle and mix of seafoods. I didn’t enjoy the mussel but I don’t enjoy mussel in general.

Chicken Nyonya Laksa

The Chicken Nyonya Laksa ($14) is very good. Very similar to Mr Nam’s, if not identical. I liked this so much that I actually bought this for a mate and brought it to work for him for overnight dinner.

Overall I think Nam2 is worth a try. Their food is quite good, and they do have some $10 meal deal specials on weeknights for those who want to pick up the food themselves. I am also glad that there is no markup for DoorDash, which is a rare treat. I will order from here again.

UPDATE, DECEMBER 2020

We had the pleasure of having our work Christmas dinner at Nam2. I won’t go through all of the things we ate but it was a very extensive banquet menu with two courses of dessert that are not pictured here.

The highlights of the meal were the shrimp in betel leaf, scallop on XO sauce and vermicelli, deep fried barramundi, beef skewers, vegetarian stir fry (believe it or not), deep fried shrimp in dipping sauce, the spring rolls, and the egg atop the stir fried beef dish. If you have a chance to order any of these dishes a la carte I highly recommend it. I also take back my previous comment about Nam’s fried rice – I could definitely identify the spanner crab pieces this time.

Nam2
13 Ebsworth St, Zetland 2017
 02 8003 3393