Fo0die dined as a guest of Chinacy and as such, the rating does not give any consideration to customer service.
Opened since April 2018 with one of the owners also the head chef of Chinacy (pronounced ‘China-see’), we arrived at the venue after taking a train from the CBD after work on a Friday night.
On the very first page of the menu, Chinacy sets out their vision and introduction to what the venue is all about, food inspired by Chinese ingredients with an Australian attitude. Coming from a Chinese background, born in Australia, we were both keen to taste what was to come.
On entry, there’s a counter on the left with the dining area and bar with bar seating beyond that. Further at the back are some steps and ramps up and down to the various dining areas which are separated by a wine display cabinet in the centre.
Dark wooden tables and matching padded leather chairs are spread throughout the venue with a good variety of tables to accommodate different party sizes.
And encompassing all of the above is modern decor with a feature chandelier hanging at the centre of the venue. The bar has a blue lighting effect below the bench top to give it that classy but bar like vibe to the area.
The food on Chinacy’s menu is separated into sections such as small bites, soup, wok, plate, large, sides and dessert. Besides the main food and drinks menu, we were also given on separate sheets, a yum cha menu with 5 items that one would find at a typical yum cha venue and a menu that offered a choice of 5 dishes for two people for $65. For this visit, we ordered off the main menu, two cocktails, two small bites, two plates, a main and two desserts between the two of us.
To start the evening, the venue served crispy wonton skins with a sweet chilli sauce which is slightly spicy in lieu of the traditional prawn crackers that one would normally find at Chinese restaurants.
With such a huge bar, it seemed almost impolite to not try one or two of their cocktails from their large range of drinks from their dedicated drinks menu. The sour plum was indeed sour with a good alcoholic punch and very frothy. While the mojito was way too easy to drink although we couldn’t tell there was green tea in there!
We had two items from the ‘small bites’ section before jumping into some mains. The salmon ceviche had a tangy fish sauce dressing. If you have had fish sauce in Vietnamese food, you would know how appetising it can be. While the steamed oysters were just cooked and went well with the cucumber and scallions on top.
From the ‘plate’ section of the menu, we had the dumplings which were wrapped in a wonton skin with the scallops on top. The vinegary sauce that went with the dumplings was familiar, something we use at home for our own home made dumplings, but balanced much better than ours! The pork ribs were crispy and a little dry with a finger licking sticky sauce.
And finally something from the ‘large’ section of the menu, the san choy bau (we got two each). Something that we would never get to order growing up as this was seen as a ‘westernised’ dish and not truly Chinese. I personally have always loved the textures in this dish; the crunch from the perfectly shaped lettuce to the salty filling to the pickled carrot and freshness of the bean sprouts. The addition of Chinese sausage added a nice dimension to the filling which we got to put together at the table ourselves.
There was no banana fritter to be found on their menu (one of my childhood favourites) but the venue’s desserts were still very much the typical Asian standard desserts i.e. these are not overly rich or sickenly sweet. The dark chocolate delice with the peanut butter parfait did not have an overly strong peanut butter flavour (Mr J was very thankful for that) and wasn’t overly dark (just dark enough to know its not milk chocolate but not dark to the point of bitterness).
The coconut panna cotta was an interesting mix of flavours (i.e. not the usual combination of flavours that one would imagine in a single dish). However the flavours did manage to somehow work together; the coffee’s bitterness is balanced off with the sweetness of the honeycomb with the mango flavour coming through as you finish the spoonful. An interesting dish but the chocolate delice took out first place for us between the two desserts.
We definitely felt welcomed like old friends and left with a full belly as per the vision set out by Chinacy in their menu. And exactly as per the introduction in their menu, the food is modern Chinese with familiar ingredients and dishes but not the typical dishes from Chinese restaurants that we have grown up with.
Dishes that make up this review
- Sour plum; combination of whisky, lemon and plum to appease the palate ($22)
- Green tea mojito; Chinese green tea adds a twist to this Cuban classic ($20)
- Salmon ceviche; chilli, garlic, lime, coriander ($7)
- Steamed oysters; brandy, scallions, pickled ginger ($5 each)
- Chicken and scallop dumplings; gingered Chinkiang vinegar dressing ($14 for 6 pieces)
- Sticky stout glazed pork spare ribs with chilli and white sesame ($18)
- Duck and pork san choy bau; bean sprouts, iceberg lettuce, pickled carrot, coriander, peanuts and hoisin sauce ($33)
- Dark chocolate delice; chocolate shards, puffed rice, peanut butter parfait ($16)
- Coconut panna cotta; mango, coffee syrup and honeycomb ($15)