There's always this sense of excitement when there's a new restaurant opening...let's face it, I absolutely love the hype and buzz. Old Town is the latest addition to the Dixon Street Chinatown block and the restaurant is proving to be a popular hit with its crazy extensive yet affordable menu of HK style eats. Think milk teas, BBQ pork and mango sago desserts!
Old Town is across from Arisun on Dixon Street, thus towards the upper end of the strip and close to the Town Hall & Darling Harbour vicinity. I loved the neon sign and the entrance look because it's definitely not like your typical chinese or HK restaurant - very modern and stylish! The menu will definitely be a struggle for those that are indecisive - you have been warned. From Dim Sims to Assorted BBQ plates, Live Seafood, Congee and Fried Rice/Noodles, this is the place to satisfy your Chinese cravings.
The interiors had an interesting juxtaposition between traditional HK style decor (i.e. display of the roast ducks) and contemporary influences with their funky statement walls. It sort of reminded me of Mr Wong but perhaps slightly more casual.
I am an avid milk tea lover and so it's only natural that I'd order the HK Ice Milk Tea ($4.50). It stayed true to its name and was a refreshing drink that was neither too sweet nor bitter.
Thanks to the likes of Momofuku and Ippudo, buns or "baos" have become the latest "it food" - if there was such a thing. We couldn't wait to try the Peking Duck Bun ($6.80) which comes with two pieces per serve. The bun was super soft and glutinous, packed with slices of Peking Duck, hoi sin sauce and pickled green onion. However we felt that there wasn't enough sauce and meat to really bring out the flavours we had expected. Both M & I concluded that although the buns were a cute novelty, ultimately peking duck works best with the traditional pancakes - which you can also order at Old Town :)
The Old Town Pan Fried Pork & Vegetable Dumplings ($6.80) were freaking delicious! Folded in an unconventional rectangular shape, the skin was insanely crispy and each bite was oozing with tasty juices from the meat. After the first one, I formally declared to M that I was taking the 5th one :P
At first we were reluctant to order Roasted Duck ($11.80) because we assumed that it'd just be like the ones we buy from the local BBQ shops. HOWEVER...luckily we changed out mind. This plate was all kinds of amazing. The duck glistened with shine and each bite practically melted in our mouth. It was the kind where you could tell that it was freshly made and slightly different to what you get locally at the shops. They were also very generous with the sauce which I think is key to a scrumptious roasted duck - 2 thumbs up!
What's great about this dish also is that you can order it in various serving sizes - we had ordered the smallest size but there's also three different sizes up - catering for all stomach sizes and appetites.
On the menu, the Stir Fried Egg White With Fish Fillet ($20.80) had a chefs hat recommendation and so we decided to try it out. Verdict? It wasn't too bad but it wasn't super special either. I liked how the egg white was beautifully cooked with the fish however it was slightly bland in taste.
You are meant to pour in some vinegar and mix it up, however I'm not sure if everyone would be a fan of the overwhelming vinegar taste. On the whole a very nice dish for those who are after clean and light flavours, but I probably wouldn't order it again.
The Chinese Milk Dough ($5.50) also came out glossed in a beautiful golden brown - both M & I are crazy for this dish. I loved that it was served nice and hot with a strong crunch to each bite. However it was a little bit too oily for me, to the point where I found it hard to finish the whole thing because it was just so heavy on the tastebuds.
It also would've been better if we got more of the condensed milk but I guess it was enough for the two of us.
Old Town has an impressive list of home made desserts ranging from Herbal Jelly to Sweet Sago Soups and Mango Puddings. It would make any dessert lover (like me) salivate.
I went with my all-time favourite, the Mango Pomelo & Sago Sweet Soup with Vanilla Ice Cream ($7.50). Unfortunately this was quite a disappointment for me because there was so little sago and the soup base was way too sweet and thick in consistency. Having the ice cream as an addition didn't help I guess.
Overall our experience at Old Town was pleasant - sure there were disappointments here and there but nothing major. The dumplings and the roasted duck were amazing and we are still very keen to try the other items on the menu - there are seriously too many.
Location is very convenient and service was efficient and friendly. Both serving size or dishes and prices are reasonable.
The space is pretty cool and I think there might even be an upstairs section - perhaps for functions? Overall, Old Town is definitely not your ordinary Chinese restaurant, it certainly has an added flair of contemporary trendiness that may appeal to many :)
Old Town Hong Kong Cuisine
10A Dixon Street
Sydney NSW 2000
(02) 9264 3888