China Lane

Restaurant in Sydney

Asian Restaurant

I liked China Lane as soon as I walked in. Its website says “it could be described as Shanghai meets Madmen” but I would say it is a little more relaxed and less complicated than that description allows.

It has none of the pomp and circumstance of many of Sydney’s modern eateries, but is quiet, understated and very unassuming. As an almost middle-aged woman meeting a group of girlfriends on a Saturday evening, post shopping and pre bar hopping, I was not greeted by a loud trendy crowd or intimidated by serious foodies who often hang out in the fine dining establishments. Everyone was there to eat, laugh, share and chat. Just my kind of place.

After a quick G&T it was down to the serious business of choosing what to eat. Our waiter was helpful with his recommendations on portion sizes, and even offered us smaller serving sizes so we could sample a wider variety of dishes. We started with the Special of steamed lobster and truffle dumplings and the obligatory crispy Peking duck. The dumplings were amazing, and probably my dish of the evening. Chef Ben Haywood has some culinary pedigree having worked under Heston Blumenthal and Raymond Blanc, but has learnt his Asian flair from sister restaurant China Doll in nearby Woolloomooloo. His slightly varied background is evident in the menu, and there is something for die-hard Asian foodies and for those that like a more modern take on pan-Asian cuisine. This definitely isn’t street food, but lingers somewhere between the traditional and modern.

Our main courses of crispy chicken, John Dory and soy-braised pork belly were all delicious, with the pork belly stealing the show for me. We chose a Reisling to accompany the meal, made room for some dessert of coconut rice, sago, parfait and a strange yet tasty liquorice ice-cream/meringue combination. Finished off with an amazing Tasmanian dessert wine, we were happy, relaxed, very full and ready to move on.

My overall impression of China Lane is that it can be many things to many people. It is definitely a top quality dining experience and a place to go to share food, wine and a fun evening out with friends or business associates.  I certainly recommend working your way through the lanes with the birdcage art installations, to discover what China Lane has to offer.

Amanda Ansell is a Sydney based freelance travel writer

China Lane on Urbanspoon

Reviewer's Rating
Cost per head High
Dress Code Smart Casual
Clientele Groups, locals, business, pre-theatre crowd
Cuisine Asian

Additional Ambience Information

Buzzing, noisy but not intrusive, trendy but not intimidating.

Additional Price Comments

Raw & nibbles from $12; Steamed, Wok & Fried from $18; Vegetarian from $14; Desserts from $12. Cocktails from $16; $10-$15 for a glass of wine, $50+ for a bottle.

Last updated on 24-06-2013

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