New fine dining Chinese restaurant arrives in Sydney

Forget the underwhelming Chinese take away shop tucked away in the corner of a suburban street selling lemon chicken or fried wontons which no “real” Chinese eats…The competition is on for multi-million dollar venues serving the finest top-notch Chinese dishes.

Following the success of Merivale’s $4million Cantonese restaurant Mr. Wong, this month Sydney welcomed the addition of the $10million Waitan in Chinatown and the $7million China Republic at World Square.

As a keen foodie I was eager to try them.

China Republic
Upper Level, World Square, 680 George Street

China Republic

Diners are greeted by a 4m tall terracotta warrior at China Republic

The four-metre tall Terracotta Warrior greeting diners at the entrance off the corner of George and Goulburn Street is unmissable and sets the scene for an intriguing dining experience coupled with attentive service.

Duck Roasting at China Republic

Glass-walled kitchen showcasing the peking duck preparation process

The glass-walled kitchen showcases the two duck roasting ovens that is said to have taken three years of research to build. Here the duck master prepares his famous Peking Duck dish which on the menu said was limited to 20 per day.

From staff uniform, cutlery, glassware to wall and light features, it wasn’t hard to see where the $7million dollars went.

We were amazed at the knife work of the Chef and it must have taken years of practice to shape something as soft as tofu into a delicate flower looking artwork inside the beautiful seaweed soup. All of the dishes we tried were meticulously presented, fresh and simply delicious.

The traditional Chinese desserts were a delight, particularly the Fruit Mash which is a mochi like rice cake filled with a mix of mashed fruits.

Overall a fantastic dining experience and a very welcomed addition to Sydney. Without alcohol, expect to pay approximately $50pp. No doubt we’ll be back.

Waitan
405 Sussex Street

Completely different to Chinatown it is; “The Ivy” of Chinatown, I’m not so sure.

The entrance to Waitan is oddly understated and you’d easily miss it. Spread over two levels, the first features a fine-dining restaurant and the second private function and members only space (membership from $10,000).

Waitan

Dining area at Waitan

Waitan features a strong contemporary Asian theme set in a glamourous 30s and 40s Shanghai style that runs over the two floors.

Like China Republic, Waitan has a purpose built oven made from imported bricks for roasting and apparently its peking duck uses a government-certified marinade and patented imperial recipe.

Kiwi Chef John Rankin who has worked at Quay and Astral is the Head Chef at Waitan, reinventing traditional dishes with a twist. Plating here is certainly different to others in Chinatown, most notably size and presentation.

Dessert at Waitan

Miso Baked Cheesecake with Black Sesame Ice Cream and Black Bean Fudge Brownie

I must admit the food didn’t “wow” but its dessert saved the day. Miso Baked Cheesecake with Black Sesame Ice Cream and Black Bean Fudge Brownie Sundae – YUM!

Perhaps it’s unfair to judge when it’s still so new but Waitan has failed to win me over with their concept. Fortunately, it’s got plenty of backing so I’m sure things will improve in time but I’m in no rush to go back. Expect to pay $60pp without alcohol.