Spooning Australia is getting busier and busier, the Sydney and Canberra food scene is out of control amazing and the food to eat is way too much for one person. So it is with a big warm welcome I introduce to you the first additional writer to the Spooning fold. Arvin Prem Kumar is a foodie I have been eating with for quite a while, always a funny partner in indulgence and one with the best foodie faux pas story of all time haha. Arvin is inspirational in his photography techniques, while most of us always lighten and brighten all the shots we take, Arvin works with darkness and he is always embracing dark tones and shadows. He is not nefariously evil, just a photographer.
Arvin will now be attending the foodie events I can’t attend and will help in expanding the culinary reach of the site, please welcome his food insights and fine photography. And it is with thanks to Zomato Australia and I Ate My Through that Arvin attends his first Spooning review at Old Town, Barangaroo. Huge congratulations to I Ate My Through on celebrating ten years!!
The Old Town people serve the best in Hong Kong cuisine and this is their second store following on from their successful venture in Haymarket. Enjoy Arvin’s thoughts on Old Town……….all the best……….JK.
BY ARVIN PREM KUMAR
If there were one thing I miss most about Hong Kong, it would certainly be the food. I still have the moment perfectly carved in my brain when I tried my first ever Peking duck and there was no going back.
Since then, it’s been a tough journey in search of this ever-lasting perfect Peking duck. Then one day, my foodie pal Jason sends me on a mission to check out this new place at Barangaroo, called Old Town.
OLD TOWN VENUE:
Here I was with another ten lovely foodies at “I Ate My Way Through” 10th anniversary event. I must mention how awesome the interior is. It kind of reminds me of a more luxurious form of the oriental night markets I’m used to. The soft lighting is great for a date night with my boo.
We were welcomed by the lovely staff and were offered their Chrysanthemums tea. I’m a big sucker for tea and I’d probably think it was a good idea to have some to prepare myself for the food that was going come and fill my belly. I’m ready!
Nothing compares to this duck…….
To start off the feast, we had the Old Town Peking Duck Buns. Those buns were not on the table for very long. Nah ah they are not your everyday buns, instead they use bao buns. I APPROVE!
The Peking duck was so tender it hit a whole new level. I have tried a lot of Peking duck in Chinatown and Anzac Parade but none of them can even be compared to this duck. It wasn’t too fatty and the beautiful dark redcurrant colored, crispy and paper-thin duck skin just really had all the flavours.
Dumplings direct from the pan…..
Next up were the pan-fried pork dumplings in bird nest. Everyone was pretty amazed when the dumplings were presented in the actual pan. It was pretty epic – we got to flip the pan and see all these amazing dumplings sitting in a bird’s nest of sorts, we then devoured them all. These hand-wrapped dumplings are definitely a must have at Old Town.
The staff then brought the most beautiful soup I’ve seen, like everrr! A chrysanthemum bean curd soup with pipis in their shell, just stunning. The bean curd in the soup was cut so perfectly it was shaped like a Chrysanthemum. Goddamn those chef skills. The pipis go well with the soup as it creates this seafood broth that goes well with the Chinese herbs. Plus I love the extra boost of anti-oxidants from the goji berries.
Fighting for fried chicken…..
Now let’s talk about their fried chicken. I swear when I ate the fried chicken all my problems just evaporated. The meat was super most and the chicken skin got me going nuts. My heart is not going to thank me for this. I was definitely fighting with Taylor from Zomato Australia for the last piece. (I lost the fight btw).
Prawns and the scallops…..
Next up was two dishes, the first being the pan fried scallops (above), delicious. The second the stir-fried chilli prawns served in wok (below), they really had the right punch of peppercorns. The vibrant garlic scapes really gave a nice aroma and tasted pretty good.
Super high-class beef….
Then they brought out the pan fried diced beef with red wine sauce. Presented in a beautifully shaped poppadum, I was surprised by the tenderness of the beef. It was inexpensive but I honestly thought I was having some super high class beef. There was definitely a huge presence of capsicum in the dish that I devoured.
Fave dish of the night….
Just when I believed I was full, the staff brought out this huge-ass pumpkin. Underneath all the sauce we unfolded diced seafood fried rice. The fried rice is first cooked separately and then it is placed in the pumpkin to finish off in the oven. It works its magic, resulting in this somewhat cheesy textured sauce that all the foodies literally attacked for. It reminded me of Lobster Thermidor. They decided to use pumpkin as their base as Australia grows them to high quality, well derr.
Honestly, it’s not something I’d order if I saw it on the menu but it was certainly my favorite dish of the night! It’s really unique and you can’t find this anywhere else in Sydney.
To finish off the night, we were served some mango pudding and a carved fruit platter with mango pancakes. Mango is currently in season so it was a perfect way to enjoy the fruit. The sweetness wasn’t too overpowering and allowed the mango to do the rest of the work.
This will certainly be my favorite stop to sort out my Peking duck cravings. Every single dish had some really amazing flavors. I still can’t get over how good the pumpkin dish was. Hopefully I will make another trip to enjoy their yum cha too. Thank you so much to Zomato Australia and I Ate My Way Through for organizing a lovely event!
Old Town Deets:
Phone: (02) 8317 4365
BYO: Yes – Wine
7 Days: 10am – 3pm, 5pm – 10pm
*** JK (and any guests of Spooning Australia) were invited guests of the establishment. However, as always, if it was shite I would happily tell you as such.
If Arvin Prem Kumar is not at uni trying to study, he’s probably out on the hunt to find the top food places in Sydney. He aims to always bring the human side to food as he believes that food is what really brings people together. For now it just brings him closer to fried chicken and kale smoothies . It’s no wonder why he’s always “starving.” You can stalk his amazing pics and food journey on Spooning and on his instagram – @ArvinisStarvin