22 October 2013

Good Food Month: Citi VIP at Night Noodle Market, Hyde Park, Sydney (11 Oct 2013)

Hyde Park North, Elizabeth Street, Sydney NSW 2000

Noodles without queues

“We're delighted to introduce Citi Concierge for the first time in 2013, providing customers with the opportunity to avoid the queues. Our friendly concierge team will take your order for our Citibank Dining restaurant stalls and deliver it straight to your table.”

Thanks to Cecilia Koong from Liquid Ideas for inviting me as a guest to check out the Citi VIP area at the Night Noodle Market. Not being a citibank member I've always been curious to know what it was like under the fairy light canopy. Not only do you get a bar that's easy to buy a drink but this year members can use the new Citi Concierge to get their food orders from East Ocean, Din Tai Fung, Taste of Shanghai and Citibank Dining Food Truck (Friday nights only). That alone is a winner for me because I hate how long the queues get at the Night Noodle Market unless you get there early or go late. The concierge don't have to queue but order straight from the kitchen through the back door which can save time unless of course the food stall actually runs out of something you ordered which actually happened for the popular Gary's lamb belly in a bun ($15). But the wait was worth it and I could keep drinking and relaxing while waiting anyway. 

Chef Gary Mehigan was on hand for a friendly chat and his lamb belly in a bun menu item was a tasty treat. I'd also recommend the Kingfish Ceviche with Lime & Chilli with Crispy Tortilla ($10) for something a bit lighter and even the Fried rice with shrimp ($12) from Din Tai Fung as a simple comfort dish with large prawns. Another favourite was the Salt & pepper garlic pork ribs and Salt & pepper prawn cutlets to be found in the East Ocean Jumbo Box ($30). I would have loved to just get these separately with maybe a couple of the Duck pancakes which were pretty good too. To capture the moment Citi were also taking free photos of customers which could be printed on the night or emailed — nice idea. I think if the four food stalls on the menu were positioned closer to the Citi VIP it would have helped reduce the travel time for the concierge. Perhaps Citi VIP could think about having their own food stalls attached to the area in the future for even faster turnaround.

PROS: Citi concierge available to take your food order which means no queuing for you, Easy access to bar for drinks, Nice atmosphere and fair amount of seating
CONS: Only available for citibank members, Available seating may get full so arrive early, Apparently cash only, Only four stalls on the menu but they're pretty good ones — more choices would even be better
MUST TRY: East Ocean Salt & Pepper Garlic Pork Ribs and Salt & Pepper Prawns, Gary's lamb belly in a bun
VERDICT: If you hate queuing for food then you'll love the Citi concierge service
Chef Gary Mehigan having a chat with invited guests

Tanqueray Gin & Tonic ($8.50)
East Ocean Jumbo Box ($30) — liked the salt & pepper garlic pork ribs and salt & pepper prawn cutlets the best, duck pancakes quite good too 
Gary's lamb belly in a bun ($15) — very tasty, decent size, tender meat 
Taste of Shanghai: Pan-fry pork & chive dumpling ($10) — quite nice with the bonus of prawn crackers 
Din Tai Fung: Pork dumpling ($6, 4 pieces) — flavour good but skins sticks to the bottom of paper plate
Din Tai Fung: Pork buns ($6, 2 pieces) — I found a bit firm and stodgy in centre
Citibank Dining Food Truck by EAT: Kingfish ceviche of Sashimi Kingfish marinated in Lime & Chilli with Crispy Tortilla ($10) — nice flavours
Citibank Dining Food Truck by EAT: BBQ Beef Brisket in a Bun with Kimchi-slaw & Korean Chilli ($12) — quite tasty, found the meat not quite pulled apart enough so got a bit chunky
Din Tai Fung: Fried rice with shrimp ($12) — simple yet tasty, could have more wok hei and chilli sauce on side though
Let's eat!
Gary, you had me at lamb belly 
Citi Concierge Menu

Citi VIP Bar Menu
Citi Concierge hard at work 
The Morrison helping out at the bar
Bar with no line is a win 
Chef Gary Mehigan with me and my +1 brother
Lovely to catchup with Karen Lawson from Daily Addict
Shoot my dish
Free photos courtesy of Citi

Long queues for food can be a pain — arrive early

Love the asian lanterns

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Trent @ Food Assault said...

We're going this Friday and keen to see how it s compared to last year.

Excited for some of Jackie M & Ippudo sampling along with a few beverages. We'll be with the lower class as we won't be welcomed to the VIP area like some :)

It looks like you had a fun night Simon.

Simon Leong said...

hi trent, all the best for this friday. being one of the last days it will be super super busy and packed so i recommend getting there as early as possible. :-)

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