Smudge Eats: Billy Kwong

[Originally published on Smudge Eats, October 2015]

Restaurant Profile: Billy Kwong, Sydney

- by Camilla Sampson

A vibrant Chinese eating house re-envisioned for its new home in Potts Point.

Kylie Kwong first opened her restaurant, Billy Kwong, in a smaller space in Surry Hills. Fast forward fourteen years and after years and years of success, it was time to expand. She found the perfect business partner in friend and colleague of over ten years, Andrew Cibej. The owner of a trio of restaurants in Sydney and Hong Kong, Andrew’s heritage calls from Italy. This combined with Kylie’s Chinese heritage places food and family at the heart of their values, providing a warmth that can be found in the restaurant itself. There is a sense of community and excitement in the new venue, reflected in its warm colour scheme and, while larger, the space still has an intimate feel.

Their combined passion for sustainable and ethically sourced food made them the perfect pair to team up. The restaurant’s unique dishes stem from a curiosity about food and wine that is found across the Billy Kwong team. Andrew and Kylie’s business partner, David King, shares their enthusiasm. A seismologist by trade, the restaurant allows him to venture into his passion for food and wine. Their restaurant manager, Kim Chen, is renowned for his endless study of anything related to food and wine. It is an atmosphere that is felt by diners when they visit as staff are happy to answer questions and explore the menu with you.

A menu primarily made up of Chinese influences, it is interestingly fused with ingredients native to the Australian bush. Take the red-braised caramelised wallaby tail with black bean and chilli, for example. It sits beside dishes such as the steamed silken tofu with shaved kombu, chilli and shiro shoyu. Nightly specials include plenty of meat and seafood, all with a Chinese spin. There’s steamed dumplings and buns, stir fries, noodles, and wontons. Kylie’s focus is also on locally grown, organic, and biodynamic produce, all reflected across the menu. It is these unique and fresh ingredients which make simple dishes full of flavour stand out against similar counterparts at other restaurants. The unlikely combinations and fusion of Chinese and Australian has made Billy Kwong a popular spot.

Photo by Amanda Davenport

FoodCamilla Sampson