Steamed oysters with ginger and shallots $2.80 each
A family gathering of 7 adults and 2 toddlers descend on Keung Kee Seafood Restaurant in Campsie. A familiar shopper in the area, I've rarely taken the time to enjoy a meal here, but the matriarch has heard good things and spotted an ad or two in the Chinese newspaper.
It's quite a big restaurant in the hustle and bustle of Beamish Street, fish tanks lining the front windows and the tables varying from square to large round banquet style. Staff are resonably friendly but a little distracted. We have to ask thrice for wine glasses and then for a corkscrew, despite there being only one other table present in the restaurant.
Sauteed lobster with ginger and shallot on efu noodles $58.50
It's the usual feast of food that follows. The lobster with ginger and shallots emerges first, a delicious jumble of meaty (if a little mild-flavoured) lobster tossed amongst noodles that could have been a tad more lubricated with sauce.
Mud crab with vermicelli noodles $38.50
Mud crab with vermicelli noodles is equally messy for the fingers, the noodles even tastier with a chilli afterkick.
Moist towelettes save the need for finger licking, especially when the giant platter of steamed Pacific oysters [top] arrives, plump cushions sweet with ginger, soy and tangled tendrils of coriander and shallots.
Braised brisket of beef with sinew $14.80
I have a bit of a weakenss for braised beef brisket, especially when tendons are involved. All those cheap cuts of meat are slow cooked to a melting tenderness, a disaster when not cooked long enough, but so rewarding when it is. It's a reward of pure pleasure tonight.
Fillet steak with Chinese broccoli $14.80
Fillet steak is tender if a little on the sweet side, although tempered by the crisp florets of bright green Chinese broccoli.
Baked pork chop Peking style $14.80
Baked pork chop Peking-style is deliberately sweet, a version of sweet and sour pork on the bone. It's a hit with the kids and the kids at heart. I'm definitely a kid at heart.
Crispy skin chicken $14.80
Crispy skin chicken is a touch dry but we have high standards when it comes to this dish, a family staple at any meal we have at a Chinese restaurant. The skin is paper thin and delicately crisp, a lemon wedge provided on the side for personalised dousing.
The hotpot of mixed seafood with tofu suffers from no problems with dryness. Curls of criss-cross scored squid and fillets of fish are cooked to a just-cooked softness. It's a treasure trove of goodies, squares of deep-fried tofu and Chinese vegetables hidden within. A bit like Sydney's restaurant scene - you never know what you're going to find.
Mixed seafood with bean curd $16.80
Keung Kee Seafood Restaurant
269 Beamish Street, Campsie Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9718 0388
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9/14/2008 07:52:00 p.m.