A cool blend of contemporary & retro culture

Relish authentic Chinese in postmodern surrounds

Delcious Chillie Pork at China Republic @2x

I’ll admit it; the night before my lunch date reservation at China Republic, where I’d be dining with two Sydney gal pals, I’d painted the town fairly red. Just as the hangover set in on that Sunday morning, I was having second thoughts about how ‘great’ lunch would be.

But scrap those fuzzy thoughts. Upon entry to this expansive restaurant, my hangover all but disappeared instantly. The lighting is so subdued, it felt like I was at the sober beginning of the night before and, rather than possessing the expected din you get at the usual yum cha restaurants on a Sunday morning, the atmosphere at China Republic was calm, with patrons talking at practically whisper level. Tables are spaced nicely apart, too, meaning if we ever got loud ourselves, our voices wouldn’t clash with other parties’ conversations.

The décor is warm and rustic – the restaurant decked out in traditional Chinese sculpture, while a four-metre tall terracotta warrior greets you at the front door. Indeed, you can see every cent of the seven million dollars invested in putting this restaurant together.

Relish - China Republic Interior

A well-heeled waitress took our drinks order within seconds of us sitting down, and I promised myself that I’d have just one glass from their extensive wine list – with the Matua Sauv Blanc recommended since it would go well with various spicy dishes.

On the subject of good food, China Republic prides itself on presenting traditional-style Chinese cuisine with a contemporary twist. We ordered a couple of your more ‘common’ dishes to share for starters – sharing being the obvious option. I mean, who comes to a Chinese restaurant and doesn’t like to sample a bit of a lot?

The Crispy Spicy Calamari ($26.00), Signature Spicy Beef Spring Rolls ($13.80) and Vegetarian Dumplings ($9.80) provided a good range of tastes for our various palettes.

For mains, we insisted on partaking in the ritual of making our own Peking Duck pancakes ($88 for a full duck; feeds three to four people). The duck itself arrived fully deboned and thinly sliced, its delicate crispy skin only just clinging to the succulent dark meat. And how’s this for a variety of condiments to roll into our paper-thin pastry: sweet soybean paste; Spanish onion; Chinese mustard; garlic paste; pickled cucumber; and even white sugar (I don’t know where these boutique Chinese restaurants get their sugar from, but I want a barrel of it in my kitchen pantry).

Also as part of our mains, we ordered Sichuan-style Braised Pork Belly stir-fried with Garlic Shoots and Dried Chilli ($26.00, pictured). It was so delish, I asked to take the remainder home. While the chilli took a bit of getting used to (there was a lot of it), small spoonfuls of vegetarian fried rice helped cool things down.

Dessert was forsaken, for the sizes of dishes here are bigger than we figured they’d be, hence we didn’t leave room for the sweeter stuff. Suffice to say, the food, ambience and décor of China Republic all add up to one great Asian dining experience, and we’ll be back again to try the dozens of other tempting dishes on offer.

 

China Republic is located on the upper level of World Square Shopping Centre, 680 George Street, Sydney. Bookings on (02) 8081 0888. 

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