23 April 2011

China Doll: Modern Asian, Woolloomooloo (23 Apr 2011)

4/6 Cowper Wharf Road, Woolloomooloo NSW 2011
Phone: (02) 9380 6744

A fulfilling banquet

A celebratory birthday lunch brings me to China Doll for the $69 banquet menu consisting of 8 dishes plus rice and a dessert platter which included 3 choices. To start cocktails were ordered including a refreshing non-alcoholic Younglings ($8) made with young coconut juice and raspberries. My Tanqueray Gin & Tonic ($8) is served in a tall glass but my preference is usually short. The Pomegranate Marguerita ($17) looked good and from all reports hit the spot. A nice bottle of Greystone Sand Dollar Pinot Gris 2010 ($55) slowly turned into 5 by the end of the meal.

The banquet started with White cut chicken salad which packed quite a chilli kick reminding me of the overly spicy salads I’ve had at House on Wentworth Avenue. The Steamed half shell scallops are nice although their bite sized pieces don’t last long and I wished they were a bit larger in size. I really enjoyed the Corn & zucchini cakes with a crisp outer shell and tasty filling. The Chilli salt squid resembling chips are tender and spiced to tantalise the palate although I’m not sure if I’m supposed to taste grains of sugar in the mix. One of the crowd favourites was the Pork belly with chilli caramel & nam pla phrik. Just the right about of rendered crunch combined with juicy meat and a tasty coating. I suspect it’s one of their signature dishes that most diners order time after time. Chinese greens retained their crunch and were well flavoured. The Crispy chicken with yellow bean sauce was OK but some of the breast pieces were perhaps too large for my liking and I was craving more crispy skin. I still prefer the Shan Tung Chicken at Kingsford Chinese Restaurant.

I was impressed with how tender the Penang curry of wagyu beef shin was which fell apart effortlessly and its robust flavoured sauce which went well with the steamed rice. A vegetarian substitute dish of Wok Fried Asian Eggplant & Tofu looked good and apparently was well received. The dessert platter to share included some very nice gelato and vanilla bean ice cream. Sago was quite good with fresh passionfruit and the warm sticky rice was well liked with notes of ginger I believe. My Cappuccino ($5) was not the most robust in flavour but thankfully not bitter too. With a final bill of $1042.50 for nine it's definitely not cheap especially when you start adding drinks. I was pleasantly surprised at the quality and depth of flavour in the dishes and noticed most of the diners were non-Asian. Thankfully the dish sizes were decently portioned so everyone was feeling comfortably full by the end of the banquet.

PROS: Efficient and professional service which was attentive, Water views, Quality ingredients, Banquet menu left most people comfortably full, Vegetarians are catered for
CONS: Can end up being quite expensive especially with drinks, Toilets are upstairs with a highly mirrored entrance which can be disorientating
MUST TRY: Corn & zucchini cakes with coriander sambal, Pork belly with chilli caramel & nam pla phrik, Penang curry of wagyu beef shin

Younglings: Young coconut juice and raspberries shaken with lime juice and coconut flesh ($8)

Tanqueray Gin & Tonic ($8)

Pomegranate Marguerita ($17)

Greystone Sand Dollar Pinot Gris 2010, Waipara Valley NZ ($55 bottle)

White cut chicken salad with Asian herbs & rice vinegar dressing

Steamed half shell scallops with ginger and shallot

Corn & zucchini cakes with coriander sambal

Chilli salt squid

The polite last piece

Steamed jasmine rice

Pork belly with chilli caramel & nam pla phrik

The polite last piece

Chinese greens

Crispy chicken with yellow bean sauce

Penang curry of wagyu beef shin

Wok Fried Asian Eggplant & Tofu w Sichuan Chilli Bean Paste (vegetarian substitute dish)

Dessert platter to share

Cappuccino ($5)

Bill $1042.50 for 9 people including drinks

$69 banquet per person

Table setting

Water views

Feature wall decor

Upstairs and downstairs seating

Open kitchen

Toilet vanity — plenty of paper hand towels

Mirrored entrance to toilet — a little scary and disorientating

Covered outside seating

City view


joey@FoodiePop said...

Glad you enjoyed it Simon, and the pork belly is almost everybody's favourite as expected. :-)

Madam Wu said...

The wagyu beef looks amazing and the desserts very generous!

thang @ noodlies said...

love this place, and in particular the chinoise tiles!

great food!

Jayson James said...

As I was going through each picture of every meal shared on this post, I can't help it but take a second look on each one of them. They are absolutely fabulous.

Thanks for sharing!

susan said...

I keep seeing that pork belly dish everywhere and it makes me want it so bad!

Simon Food Favourites said...

hi joey, i'd probably order again if i was dining a la carte.

hi madam wu, plenty of desserts but perhaps not the most sophisticated desserts

hi thang, had lovely decor to match the food

hi jayson, it's my pleasure

hi susan, hope you get to try it one day :-)

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