Pop! Canton Kitchen has just opened in Castlecrag. I’m excited too because Head Chef Jason Chan is from Queen Chow, so it’s gotta be good! The restaurant itself is like a Cantonese pop art explosion of cool with retro posters papering the walls.
I was in the birthplace of Cantonese cooking, Guangzhou, just a few weeks ago and just like the super cool city itself, the vibe here is super modern meets tradition. And the buzz and clatter make me feel like I am back there, and that’s a very good thing because I loved the city and there’s loads heaps of cool things to do, see and eat in Guanghzou.
The walls aren’t the only things that pop here, so does the food. I mean you can’t go wrong starting a meal with juicy xiao long bao right? Especially when the skin is perfectly thin and the soup rocks an extra kick of ginger.
But that’s just the tip of the dumpling iceberg. There were perfectly bouncy and delicious prawn har gau with a sneaky kick of spice, and mind-blowing king crab dumplings, which taste like wads of crab wrapped in crab with a slab of crab on top. Booyah!
The next dish was unique to Canton Kitchen Castlecrag. It was like nothing I’ve eaten before, here or in China. These little stacks of soft silken tofu came with a big dollop of vegetarian XO sauce topped with soy bean floss and were off the charts amazing.
I swear eating these dreamy tofu delights is like having a party in your mouth. I went back for seconds. Drool worthy prawns drowning in piles of roasted garlicky paste came next.
Then came hot and numbing chicken wings, which I have to say were exactly as advertised. Boom! These babies were literally covered in dried whole chillies and blew my head off. In the best possible way of course.
Once I got feeling back in my mouth I moved on to Typhoon Shelter tempura, slabs of sweet potato, capsicum and eggplant coated in the crispiest of tempura batters and slathered in roasted garlic crumbs and pepper. Sweet and sour pork was a big surprise, mostly because it actually tasted like pork instead of mystery meat. Chef Chan used yummy Kurobuta pork and in place of the radioactive syrup that you usually get with sweet and sour, it rocked pickled lotus root and pineapple chunks to give it sweetness.
When a big plate of special fried rice studded with squid and chorizo came out my mum, lightweight that she is, conceded defeat insisting she was too full. I had no such problem of course and devoured it… and the platter of succulent fall apart sticky Mongolian lamb ribs that followed.
Black Angus Wagyu beef strips in black pepper melted in the mouth and a stir fry of mushroom, morel, tofu and truffle had my tastebuds doing cartwheels.
And Canton Kitchen’s epic dish of Singapore chilli king prawns was spicy and sticky and utterly brilliant! This is the kind of dish I could happily eat until I burst, which mum says I probably will at some point if I keep eating like an entire stable of sumo wrestlers.
But the best was yet to come. A killer seafood Ma Po tofu with lobster, Alaskan crab and king prawns sitting on a custardy ocean of tofu and sprinkled with crispy puffs of rice was so spicy and so good it practically made me weep with happiness. Even mum dove back in for this.
Ok, how could one 11-year old kid eat this much food – especially when his mother and all the adults around him were falling in satisfied heaps on the floor – you ask? Forget Spidey, Thor and Captain ‘Merica. You’re looking at a mealtime mutant. A dumpling devouring demi god. A super powered super muncher.
Seriously, if the Marvel Universe ever need a superhero whose superpower is eating, they’d sign me up on the spot. But… they’d have to wait until I’d finished dessert.
Especially at Canton Kitchen. I practically dived into the bowl of fried ice cream in coconut caramel sauce, which was crunchy, soft, hot and cold all at once, and irresistibly delicious.
But the coconut sago was the real revelation. It was a textural masterpiece of fruit, lychee, slippery sago, mango sorbet and fairy floss and no exaggeration one of the best desserts I’ve eaten.
It was the perfect poppy end to a bangingly brilliant meal. Unless of course I order seconds… of everything!
Reviewed by Raffles – Aged 11
100 Edinburgh Rd,
P: 02 9958 3288
Disclosure: Raffles was a guest of Canton Kitchen but all face stuffing, culinary heroics and opinions are his own.