Today’s Billy Kwong is basically Billy Kwong 2.0. The restaurant opened in Surry Hills in 2000, and slowly grew in popularity until new premises were in order. Today, it’s made a new home in Elizabeth Bay, with interiors by interior architect George Livissianis. Deep and rich, the colour scheme mixes shades of dark plum with metal grey, black furniture and splashes of colour from plants and artwork.
There are different places to grab a seat, from spots on the bar where you can watch the chefs work, to intimate tables dotted through the space. Once settled, it’s time to embrace the menu. Billy Kwong is a place you can feast. The food is a mix of Chinese and Australian that has become synonymous with the chef, Kylie Kwong. An advocate for ethical and sustainable eating, Kylie’s menus are firmly anchored by seasonal principles. So, the menu changes over time. But whatever the time of year, you’ll always find Billy Kwong’s signature crispy duck on offer. The only thing that’ll change will be the fruit – it could be oranges, plums, or mandarins, depending on what’s in season.
Elsewhere on the menu, you might find such location-based temptations as stir-fried Australian native greens with ginger and shiro shoyu, and red-braised and caramelised wallaby tail with black bean and chilli. In addition to the flavour sensations, you can really get a sense of place in every bite. There might be steamed mini pork buns marinated in Wayside Chapel Honey, one of the many local artisans the restaurant has a relationship with, for example. Or crispy prawn wontons, served with a sweet chilli sauce that, like all the pickles and chilli sauces at Billy Kwong, is made in-house. The dumplings themselves are even made with bespoke flour blends. No detail is too small to escape the notice of the chef. And it shows.