Have you ever met anybody who doesn’t like Kylie Kwong? No, you haven’t, because those people don’t exist. With her warm, firm-but-fair manner, she must be one of the most loved celebrity chefs in the land. But what about her restaurant? Is it all hype, or is the food as kickass as they say? Following the move by the new Billy Kwong from its Surry Hills locale to Macleay Street in Potts Point earlier this year, we went along to find out.
First of all, hyped she may be, but nobody could accuse Kwong of shirking away from hard work. We venture into a packed restaurant on a Sunday night, and there she is, just like every other evening, working the pass. She’s at Eveleigh markets every Saturday morning too, serving the crowds some of the best food onsite. This is a chef who actually wants to be in the kitchen, not on the tele talking about it.
The interior has been sympathetically designed by George Livissianis, and reflects everything that Kwong is: the burnt burgundy colour referencing her Buddhist beliefs, memorabilia from her travels decorating the walls. Plants hang from metals baskets over the bar, and the kitchen is totally open, showing that there is nothing to hide. It’s double the size of her Crown Street restaurant, she’s said goodbye to the stools and hello to properly backed chairs, and you can even book your table, so no more queues winding out the door. It is, put simply, the Billy Kwong we, and she, have always wanted.
And no, it is not just hype: the food here