Tag Archives: Chinese

Ching Yip Coffee Lounge Review: Hong Kong style cafe food in the heart of Sydney.

Love kitsch?

Love ‘old-skool’ H.K diners that seemed to have froze in time back in the late 80′s?

Then this awesome ‘hide-away’ cafe serving some authentic Hong Kong ‘fast food cafe’ style food is the place to be!

This funky little cafe sprung back into my mind as I was reading one of my favourite blogs ‘Grab Your Fork’ when it mentioned about this cafe I had forgotten temporarily. As I read the review, I was immediately transported back to my high school daze, as though it was  like an old MTV replaying in my head… I remembered those ‘cool’ days, rocking out my ripped Levi 501′s, Hound Dog t-shirt and Stussy skater shoes – when my besties and I would catch the L90 bus out from Dee Why and venture out to the City and make a day of it. I would of course also show them around Chinatown – and how I would introduce them to the retro HK food at ‘Ching Yip’ or better known as ‘Tim Tim’ in Cantonese ( meaning: ‘Sweet Sweet’) Sweet! :) Those were the days…. and revisiting this cafe was almost like stepping back 10 years into time -as nothing looked like it has changed much. Same was the neon pink lettering sign that gives the whole entry a soft and retro glow,same are ‘tacky’ plastic flowers for decor and best yet is the cylinder cake fridge which does not display any cakes – but an ‘artistically’ arrangement of lemons. ( I assume they ran out of space in the kitchen and could kill two birds with a stone by combining storage vs. art) With such a large amount of lemons stacked up – one can only assume these are gathered and used for the very popular HK cafe style drinks which always asks for slices of lemons: ceylon red tea, hot lemon coke and ever popular ‘lemon water’ ( Yes. Basically it is boiling water with a slice of lemon and you add the packet of white sugar…delightful!)

Ching Yip Lemon Tea

Infamous lemon display work of art...

Infamous lemon display work of art...

Now onto the food.

The food is awesome. Nothing spectacular but in every way, comforting in the sense that it appeals to my ‘Hong Kong cafe style food’ liking. It is non pretentious, it is not fancy but just tasty and ‘sloppy’ food. Sloppy, not in the way it is bad – but just how HK cafe style food IS good for and I love that. The Hubby’s order was a ‘Baked Pork Chop Rice’ This is the ‘safe option’ at most Chinese cafes – as it really should be a ‘no fail’ ( Or at least that is how you can test the cafe’s quality and authenticity) So in this case…. ‘Sloppy’ tomato sauce covered rice with all the ‘kitsch’ goodness of the slightly ‘baked/burnt’ marks over the sauce which covers a huge piece of fried pork cutlet that is flavour-somed yet tender and somehow a perfect compliment with the frozen peas and corn fried rice underneath. Genius!

Ching Yip Pork Chop Rice Ching Yip Cafe Soup Ching Yip Cafe 2

This is accompanied by the ‘Daily Soup’ which both The Hubby and I get with our meals. What I also love is the ‘Soup Of The Day’ that accompanies the dinner sets and makes the meal out in this cafe so homely. Tonight the soup is a Chinese styled broth made with generous amount of lean pork and pork bones and some ‘unidentified vegetables’ which was lovely with bites of soft pearly barley for texture. The colour is a bit dull, but this is the kind of soup that taste better than it looks. I love how something as simple as the ‘Daily soup’ can be comforting to me -growing up in a Chinese house hold and visiting my Grandma’s place, being offered a bowl of ‘home made soup’ as you come home from school or from visits to Grandma’s place – soup is like a ‘warm hug’ and that is so nourishing. :)

Although the soup at Ching Yip is nothing as ‘sweet’ or as nourishing as the way my Grandma and my Mum makes her soup – the bowl I was served on this rainy evening, warmed me up none the less.

My friends, a lovely couple from my church who came to dinner with The Hubby and I ordered some stirred fried noodles with lean pork strips and pickled cabbage and ‘Special Set Menu Of The Day: Chicken with special sauce on rice + daily soup. This was the same as what I ordered.

Ching Yip Noodles Ching Yip Chicken rice Ching Yip Chicken 2 Ching Yip Cafe 4

The stirred fried noodles with lean pork and pickled cabbage looked delicious as it arrived promptly to the table. It was indeed ‘ sloppy’ and the sauce glistened with the generous portion of chubby egg noodles scattered with pieces of pork. From the ‘MMmmmmm~!’ coming from Mrs P – she gave the smile of approval and ate the dish happily.

Mr. D’s and I ordered the same ‘Set Menu Of The Day’ and the Chicken with special sauce came out quick and fast.

Our crispy skinned 1/4  chicken with a good cover of a ‘mysterious’ brown sauce was served on a bed of fluffy white rice. The size was very generous and I was thinking I would not be able to finish – yet I dig in and curious to know what the ‘brown sauce’ was. ( We guessed it was most likely chicken gravy seasoned with the ‘Maggi’ sauce)  The taste was definitely as I expected – similar to something I would have eaten at Hong Kong’s most popular chain cafe franchise ‘Cafe de Coral’ ( Hubby and my favourite cheap eat’s in HK on a budget)

Mr. D loved his ‘brown sauce’ so much – he inquired for more from the kitchen. Calling out to the ‘party of waitresses’ standing by chatting, they happily gave us a full bowl of sauce – The Hubby thought he would be as ‘charming’ as people are in HK – addressing the lovely waitresses as ‘ Excuse me pretty lady!’ *cringe* but somehow a bit of flattery went along way, as the sauce we were given was in a large soup bowl, which I jokingly said to Mr. D ‘ I think they are expecting you to drink it like soup with a spoon!’ :)

Ching Yip Sauce

Overall – my re-visit to ‘Ching Yip Coffee Lounge’ was very pleasant and even had Mr. D and Mrs. P wishing to come back again soon to sample more of their kitsch menu offerings. Already we are happy to try out the cheap $6.00 breakfasts of toasts with a bowl of soupy macaroni and choice of hot or iced cold Ovaltine. This is VERY H.K and we all love it!

With our tummies full and smiles all round from our ‘HK cafe’ experience – both from the decent food at a very decent price ( $20 for Hubby and my meal and I think we even got change for it…) Our band of waitresses bid us farewell ( how polite!) and as we take our last glance at the lemon cabinet with a few jokes… we get in the elevator time machine and transport ourselves back to 2009.

For a visit back in time ~ be sure to give this cheesy H.K cafe a visit. ( Sense of humour and an appreciation of ‘sloppy’ HK style food required)

Enjoy!


CHING YIP COFFEE LOUNGE       
L2, DIXON HOUSE, 413 SUSSEX ST, CHINATOWN

Opening

7 DAYS, 9.00AM-8.30PM
P:9281 1591

(No bookings required ~ spontaneous rock up is best!)

The Peking Restaurant Review – Authentic flavours of Beijing with ‘*A-grade service’ at Beverly Hills.

*The ‘A’ stands for ‘Authenticity’… in the warm reception we received upon arrival.

The ‘authenticity’ is in the ‘Asian-style’ service which sadly was the poor management and the ‘warmth’ was the temperature rising within me as I was told we had to wait for the table which we had booked for at 7.30pm.

This was not a good sign.

My family was hungry and we had drove all the way from the North to try out out this place, especially my parents was looking forward to it since they saw their advertisements  on ‘TVBJ’ ( an Asian Cable TV channel)

It was definitely authentic …..

Authentic because like many restaurants in Asia, patrons were literally ‘hovering’ over sitting patrons while they eat as you look down upon them like ‘Table hungry vultures’. This was very authentic indeed. For a few moments, I felt like I was transported to Beijing and was not in Beverly Hills, Sydney. ( I must have been hallucinating from hunger or completely fuming at this stage…)

We had discovered, arriving at 7.30pm on the dot meant nothing for our 7.30pm booking. What added to the ‘rising temperature’ boiling within me was not the fact that  my family and I were made to wait and had to stand amongst the diners in a crowed restaurant …my Dad was at one point squashed next to some plastic pot plants near the entrance- which in hindsight was quite amusing as he looked like he was lost in some ‘plastic jungle’ – sadly didn’t get a photo…would have been funny :) ( Good that we still found this humorous… as it was really getting beyond a joke)

The ‘authentic’ decor – which included a plasma T.V hanging over the cash counter, was playing ‘Australian Idol’  …on mute (?!)It did  managed to distract us temporarily from our rumbling stomach but about 8.00pm,  I was getting pretty peeved off….both at why Kyle Sandilands was still on ‘Idol’ but more so at why our table was still not available!

What really added to my frustration was after waiting for more than half and hour and not given an apology as we got told we would get the  ‘next available table’ -  another family that was hovering nearby ‘OUR’ table – impolitely, very swiftly and totally un-apologetically  *gasp!*sat down!

My jaw almost fell opened – as I was in disbelief in what just happened. While my family had stood for more than 40 minutes crammed up against the wall in this ‘very popular’ packed restaurant…. to witness another family stoop on OUR table! *double gasps!*

What was WORST – is that our waiter and the Manager who had seen the whole scenario take place – DID NOTHING about it!  *What the?!* Barely apologising about the whole ‘table snatching’ we were even advised not to argue with the patrons Table Snatchers – and that they will get us our table within the next 5 minutes….. I was quite over it by then.

I was hungry and I really wanted some food. ( Darn it  how the Peking Duck that was being skinned before us – looked so delectably glossy and moist…. and the food that was being carried out by the flustered waiters was enticing enough for me control my temper…. and stay. Oh how I wished I could have been strong enough….but alas the Peking duck had me in its traps…..I feel so ‘cheap’ ;) *breathe in…..breathe out….* :) )

Thankfully, it was only another 5 minutes as promised that another table was made available. ( I could see the ‘hint’ for each table to leave was the ‘fruit’ they strategically place onto your table with the bill….this I might add is another practice that makes this place ‘so authentic’ ! :) )

My goodness… I just realised I have blogged and about 600 words into my review… and I have not mentioned about the food yet. ( Don’t worry… it is coming and thankfully was also their saving grace…)

So after all this drama – THANKFULLY the food was GOOD.

Upon seating… we get given our plate of complimentary peanuts. ( Temperature of annoyance is slowing cooling off….)
Peking Peanuts

Fried Dace with black beans and capsicums. Very tasty dish - although as commented by my Mum, is a very simple dish to make. This was the first dish to arrive and we lapped it all up in a flash! Mum was also inspired to recreate it at home with a 'childhood staple' of canned 'Fried Dace Fish in Black Bean Sauce' I am normally not fond of canned foods - especially after the health scare from China made goods. However, this dish brings back alot of memories of eating this straight out of the can with a steaming bowl of white rice. I googled and found a cool link to a blog with a receipe. Looks simple enough to try! :)

I ‘googled’ and managed to find a really cool blog ‘Babe In The City’ with a Fried Dace with Black Bean receipe – looks simple and delicious enough to try – http://babeinthecitykl.blogspot.com/2007/04/stir-fried-kailan-with-pork-and-fried.html

Next was my favourite dishes of the evening…. and since the arrival, I have somehow managed to completely forget about the 45 minute wait… and Kyle Sandilands on ‘Idol’….

Peking Mantou2Peking Mantou1

Fluffy soft 'mantous' .... makes me forget about the drama before.... 45 minute wait?!? What was that anyways?...............'Nom!Nom!Nom!'

Fluffy soft 'mantous' .... makes me forget about the drama before.... 45 minute wait?!? What was that anyways?...............'Nom!Nom!Nom!'

Peking MantouPost eating up almost the entire plate of the ‘Mantou’s – the Fish in Chilli Oil comes next………..

This dish arrived at our table and everyone was 'Wow!' and I was thinking ' Thank God this did not just spill all over me as the waitress who was struggling to carrying to the table looked a bit shakey...'Burning oil laden with chilli and fish does not come out easily in the wash...or skin' That aside - this dish was D-elicious and yes... again I will happily wait for 45 minutes for this. I kid you not. The fish was as tender and silky in texture - does not even taste 'oily' considering it was soaking in it ( you get a strainer ladle with the dish to 'fish' the fish out........) The taste is both 'numbing' with the numbing peppercorns and the dried chilli just gives an incredible explosion in your mouth and palette.... fish is almost like 'tofu' but beautiful in the taste.... Amazing. *Be warned - this intense aroma of the cloves, chillis and peppercorn will seep into your hair...clothes...everything! Wear something you don't require dry cleaning if and when trying this dish!*

This dish arrived at our table and everyone was ‘Wow!’ and I was thinking ‘ Thank God this did not just spill all over me as the waitress who was struggling to carrying to the table looked a bit shakey…’Burning oil laden with chilli and fish does not come out easily in the wash…or skin’ That aside – this dish was D-elicious and yes… again I will happily wait for 45 minutes for this. I kid you not. The fish was as tender and silky in texture – does not even taste ‘oily’ considering it was soaking in it ( you get a strainer ladle with the dish to ‘fish’ the fish out……..) The taste is both ‘numbing’ with the numbing peppercorns and the dried chilli just gives an incredible explosion in your mouth and palette…. fish is almost like ‘tofu’ but beautiful in the taste…. Amazing. *Be warned – this intense aroma of the cloves, chillis and peppercorn will seep into your hair…clothes…everything! Wear something you don’t require dry cleaning if and when trying this dish!*

This dish arrived at our table and everyone was ‘Wow!’ and I was thinking ‘ Thank God this did not just spill all over me as the waitress who was struggling to carrying to the table looked a bit shakey…’Burning oil laden with chilli and fish does not come out easily in the wash…or skin’ I thought briefly.

That aside – this dish was D-elicious and yes… again I will happily wait for 45 minutes for this. I kid you not. The fish was as tender and silky in texture – does not even taste ‘oily’ considering it was soaking in it ( you get a strainer ladle with the dish to ‘fish’ the fish out……..) The taste is both ‘numbing’ with the numbing peppercorns and the dried chilli just gives an incredible explosion in your mouth and palette…. fish is almost like ‘tofu’ but beautiful in the taste…. Amazing.

*Warning: – the intense aroma of the cloves, chillis and peppercorn will seep into your hair…clothes…everything! Wear something you don’t require dry cleaning if and when trying this dish! My favourite blazer I wore that night is still smelling like the restaurant……….*cry*

Close up of the tender fish pieces from the Chilli Oil. The 'yellow bean sprouts' that is at the bottom of the bowl of this dish is also very tasty and compliments the soft fish with a nice 'crunch' - as the sprouts also soaks up all the flavours from the oil.

Close up of the tender fish pieces from the Chilli Oil. The 'yellow bean sprouts' that is at the bottom of the bowl of this dish is also very tasty and compliments the soft fish with a nice 'crunch' - as the sprouts also soaks up all the flavours from the oil.

Our long awaited dish..... surprisingly good and worth the wait, drama + everything else.....

Our long awaited dish..... surprisingly good and worth the wait, drama + everything else.....

After our ‘star dish’ of the juiciest and most succulent Peking Duck wrapped in the warm flour pan cakes married with the sweet hoisin sauce and slithers of shallots and cucumber – we were all smiling from ear to ear. Considering the duck costs $58.00 – we were all stuffed and had plenty to share with no one really needing to ‘fight’ for their portion as each had about 4 – 5 pancakes each! Awesome!

Peking duck soup

This was followed with the ‘duck broth’ made from the duck bones from our Peking duck – funny how it came after the meal, but needless to say we had no room on our table – nor in our stomachs at this stage. I take a few spoonfuls anyways just to sample it – it was definitely flavoursome in duck… and the fresh coriander leaves breaks up the slight gamey duck taste. I think I preferred my ‘Hurn Pin’ green tea as a digestive before desert than the soup………

peking desertPeking desert 1

While everyone was rubbing their swelling bellies – I was determined to try their desert that Mum was raving on about. ( She has seen the ad and said one of their glutinous rice desert was a ‘must try’) The Hubby and Dad was pretty much packed to the brim – but didn’t need much convincing for them to eat it as it came to our table looking all ‘chubby’ with the dough all rolled up with red bean paste with a dusting of the ‘bean powder’ Everyone complimented that it wasn’t ‘anything special’ – but I enjoyed it as I love Asian desert with a bit of ‘chewy mochi’ texture… and given this wasn’t too sweet, it was a good way to finish the meal. Afterall, by the time we had finished our meal… the restaurant atmosphere was alot calmer… hence I guess was the reason we never got our plate of complimentary fruit with our bill…..

As we got our bill – my Mum also purchases a ‘duck bone/shell’ for $3.00 as it was advertised in Chinese on the walls. Mum was happy that she can also take some duck bones home to make ‘congee’ with for tomorrow’s night ‘lighter meal’ for dinner. On reporting this the following night – the duck bones was worth getting as there was still plenty of meat on the bones, perfect for flavour with the congee – and enough meat for a ‘pickled vegetable and roast duck’ vermicelli! My Mum is a genius! ( Will post up pictures of her creations soon!)

Love
Eve x

Verdict & hints:

Very poor management and service ( or lack of ) aside – go anyways and experience what it truly feels like to be dining at an ‘Authentic Chinese’ restaurant and taste some of the best duck you will find in Sydney. ( This is in my opinion of course… and my Dad’s who has worked in the Chinese restaurant industry for years and has a stubborn palate for good food.)

- If booking – book earlier and GO earlier. (We found out that a table reserved for 8.00pm – turned up at 7.00pm and they allowed him to take it….*grumble at lack of booking system*)

- Parking in side street as King Georges Road is pretty busy and could be packed most of the time.

- Bring cash. ( It’s authentic…)

- Be prepared to wait or hover… :)

The Peking Restaurant
493 King Georges Road Beverly Hills NSW
Phone: 02 9570 5131
Open Monday to Thursday 12:30-10:00
Friday 12:30-10:30
Saturday and Sunday 11:00-12:00; 10:30-10:30
CASH ONLY
BOOKING DOESN’T NECESSARILY COUNT…. :)

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