Sunday, June 28, 2015

China Doll: New Dishes To Try | Woolloomooloo

The charm of dining on Finger Wharf in Sydney’s Woolloomooloo lies no less in the natural beauty than in its historic quaintness. And how many times have I had to rely on spell check for Woolloomooloo. Did you know Woolloomooloo once upon a time was the most desirable suburb in Sydney to live in, being home of judges, merchant leaders, politicians before? In the first part of the twentieth century, Woolloomooloo later became one of the most colourful and roughest suburbs. Now it is gentrified and is one of the most charming places in Sydney to dine any day of the week. In fact, the last time I was here was for a business lunch during the work week. Food eaten by the water always seems to taste better, especially on a weekend when I can dine at my own pace. I lingered over drinks and lunch over the weekend, where Sydney siders leisurely stroll along the wharf. Just as stirring to the soul and appetite are the tranquil waters of Woolloomooloo Bay. At 12pm on a Saturday it's relatively quiet but by 1pm this place is full and just buzzes with guests.

If you are dining with three others, I recommend these shared plates, some of which are new on their menu. Thank you to Linda & Rachel, our wait staffs for the efficient service and who provided this impeccable list of recommended dishes and drinks to try.


We freshened up with a few cocktails and mocktails: The Apply & Jasmine Martini, Papa Don't Peach and Jade Emperor.

Raw snapper is given extra depth with blood orange & yuzu. The orange with the white fish is a great pairing.

Steamed dumplings with prawn and green beans were light and well seasoned and is appetising with red vinegar.

Delicious wontons with pork prawns, shitake with black vinegar and soy. I love how you can put the whole thing in your mouth and the flavours just meld. Simple comfort food and a wonderful appetiser.


The soft sweetness of white pepper scallops work harmoniously well with black garlic. This was a lovely soupy dish and you should use a spoon to scoop out the soup base and pour it over the scallops on top of your rice.

This new snapper dish, a mains, was quickly depleted at my table. This is the Dry red curry of snapper with snake beans and wild ginger. The peppercorns and red chilies in this dish might be threatening to your tastebuds but the flavours were not disguised by the spices, but amplified. Good bite to this dish, cooled by the calmness of the comfortable waterfront setting in Woolloomooloo... this is how to dine well.

This 12 hour slow spiced braised lamb shank was full of flavour and stood up well to the strong flavour of the spices. I’ve tried a lot of lamb shanks and this one was lovely, juicy and tender.

This is Head Chef Frank Shek, originally from Hong Kong, who made these awesome dishes with his amazing team ... how frantic was the kitchen at Saturday lunchtime!


This is China Doll’s addictive Black Sticky Rice with seasonal fruit. A simple dessert with complex flavours. Rices like these bring interest, texture and flavour to the plate. Not too sweet which is great. This is my favourite dessert.

The pearly looking Sago Pudding with Vanilla Coconut Cream and Passionfruit Syrup is a little sweeter than the Black Sticky Rice. It has a buoyant mouth feel that makes it all too easy to eat.

For those who just want sorbet, China Doll also has a variety of sorbet ice creams in a variety of different flavours.

Coffee is awesome here too!

I was just speaking with another restaurant owner the other day about how Sydney does modern Asian cuisines very well. China Doll certainly does modernise the Asian dishes but stays true to the traditional cuisines of Japan, Hong Kong, China and across South East Asia. The dishes at China Doll are not Asian fusion cuisine. Each dish stays true to its roots. I found it a wonderful culinary experience dining at China Doll.

China Doll
Shop 4/6 Cowper Wharf Roadway, Woolloomooloo NSW 2011
Phone:(02) 9380 6744

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1 comment:

  1. China Doll is easily one of my favourite restaurants in Sydney. The view, the food... I've never had a bad experience there. I'd eat that Pork belly every day if it wouldn't make me the size of a house :)