Bun is away right now but far be it for me to deny my culinary cravings and stay home alone. So, I find myself flying solo at China Doll for a lazy lunch.
Sitting pretty on Finger Wharf at Woolloomooloo this Asian cuisine hotspot really has one of the prime locations in Sydney.
What a turnaround for an area that in the past that was considered ‘working class’ but now boasts apartments within view of the restaurant on nearby Lincoln Crescent at 3 million plus.
Today is absolutely gorgeous and with the sun out the area is filled with tourists cruising around and well-dressed 30 something’s heading to restaurant bookings. China Doll sits nestled amongst a row of restaurants that includes Otto and Aki’s Indian.
This isn’t your parents favorite Chinese, as Chef Frank Shek has crafted a menu outside the box which includes Panko Crumbed Sand Whiting with Kaffir Lime Mayo, Tea Smoked Duck with Tamarind and Plum and Crispy Pork Belly with Chili Caramel and Nam Pla Phrik. There is also a whole range of Dim Sum and Medium/Small plates to share, Pork and Peanut San Choy Bau anyone?
As for me, I am a simple man with simple tastes; I’m really hanging for fried rice and have been for days.
Before that though, I begin with China Dolls’ own Pinot Noir from the Yarra Valley, which is as silky smooth as it looks. The waitress knows her stuff and offers a few suggestions, which I take, Vegetable San Choy Bau, Corn and Zucchini Cakes with Coriander Chili Sambal and Barbeque Pork and Prawn Fried Rice, which I order, Vege style.
The Corn and Zucchini Cakes are tasty with a nice crispy consistency but it’s the Chili Sambal sauce that steals the show, it’s amazing.
I go back and forth between the cakes and the veg San Choy bau which is good but would have liked just a tad more sweet sauce as I like my san Choy bau exploding with juicy flavor as I bite in.
The true highlight however was the veg fried rice. Standing on its own it was fantastic as I drilled through, finding shallots, carrots, been sprouts, corn and eggplant mixed in with a bean I couldn’t quite figure out. When I mixed some of the chili sambal sauce into the rice it went to another level. What flavour!
Although I’m tempted by the black sticky rice for desert I shelved that idea as I was completely satisfied and didn’t want to ruin that fried rice taste that I was relishing, knowing that China Doll gave me exactly what I was looking for.
Summary: Asian cuisine retro style in one of the most picturesque locations in Sydney, if you’re tasty buds aren’t tickled by these flavors get some new buds. An extra half-point for that Chili Sambal.
hallymustang rating 4.5/5