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Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Crystal Seafood, Strathfield

Out for a family and friends meal, we found ourselves at Crystal Seafood in Strathfield. With a strong multicultural mix of locals (almost half its population was born overseas), Strathfield is overflowing with Chinese, Korean and Sri Lankan eateries and shops.

I've been to Crystal Seafood twice before for yum cha. Both times I was rather unimpressed with both quality and service. But we thought we'd give it another go. This time for dinner.

The place is almost full, and it's only 7pm on a Wednesday night. Families of three generations take up most of the bigger tables and there's a happy cheerful buzz to the place.

We end up getting the Chinese banquet. An indecipherable scribble of dishes equating to roughly about $38 per person. Ah... why not... sure beats having to make painful menu decisions.

House soup (pork and vegetables)

This one's okay. A little heavy-handed with the sugar and disappointingly cloudy (someone wasn't watching the pot!). Not enough meaty bones to scavenge on either =(

Steamed scallops with ginger and shallots $28.80 per dozen

Ooh hello! *Excited hands clap with glee*

I'll have the two biggest ones please!
...Pretty please?

Unfortunately I found my scallops a little over-cooked a rubbery. As always though, the sweet soy sauce marinade was very good. Next time I must be more assertive and nab the leftover sauce before it's cleared away--perfect for drizzling over my rice.

Lobster $40 per half kg

Normally when we go out for Chinese we order crab. With ginger and shallots. And extra e-fu noodles.

However the special menu was lobster, and sure it's easier to eat, but it's not as tasty a crab. The flesh isn't as firm nor as sweet. And the whole thing is drenched in some crazy Chinese-style mornay sauce.

Chinese bread rolls

Ahhh now these I did like. I've never had these before but they were most delicious! Inside is a steamed wad of Chinese bread "spaghetti". The bread is light and fluffy and ever-so-faintly sweet. You can get this type of bread very easily in the chiller section (or on the counter) of most Asian grocery shops.

However the best bit was that the whole bread roll had been rolled in some type of egg-flour batter and then deep fried to a golden crisp brown. Kind of reminiscent of the coating on pluto pups I guess (in a good way!).

This stuff was perfect for mopping up that creamy "mornay" sauce.

Fillet steak with black pepper sauce

Typically sweet and heavy on the bi-carb *shudder*
But good for those who like fillet steak this style I guess.

Stir-fried baby bok choy

Yum. Vitamins!

Pork spare ribs Peking style

Ooh back to deep-fried goodness.

These had a healthy handful of rock sugar but (*sigh* like a lot of things in my life) strangely addictive.

Until your teeth started to hurt.

Silver perch with ginger and shallots $28.80 per kg

The guest of honour. What a pity it tasted like whoever cleaned it had burst the gall bladder *weeps* I love steamed fish but all I could taste for much of this was metallic displeasure.

Prawns steamed with egg white and vegetables

This was good. Although apparently they had run out of scallops so they served it to us with prawns.

Steamed egg whites with seafood and vegetables is such an unknown pleasure. Healthy, cleansing and very tasty.

Red bean soup

We tucked into our red bean soup and waited with greedy expectation for our little platter of Chinese pastries and biscuits, as promised on our menu.

But none came.

Only the plate of fruit. Which was good, but we needed closure! Sugary closure!

We made polite enquiries only to be told that "You took too long to eat your meal and now we've run out of pastries."

Full stop.

Riiiight. No offer of compensation. A replacement dessert? Extra fruit? Reduction off the bill?

Nope. Nada. Nothing.

Which pretty much summed up the level of service all evening really. We had to almost stand on our chairs to get our rice bucket delivered; to ask for an extra fork (we ended up getting it ourselves); to get our rice bucket refilled.

So it wasn't the greatest dining experience.
Which left me very disappointed, as I do like to find great suburban restaurants.
I like supporting Mum-and-Dad style eateries.
I like the option of parking.
I like eating in the suburbs.

Maybe this one's out for a duck.

The pictures look good though...

Crystal Seafood Restaurant
Shop 29 / 11 The Boulevarde, Strathfield
Tel: 02 9763 7738
13 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Anonymous on 5/25/2005 10:00:00 pm


  • At 5/26/2005 12:05 am, Blogger eat stuff said…

    How good is seafood with egg whites. I had it at Hung Cheung in Marrickville.

    That's alot of food, pity about the desserts though

  • At 5/26/2005 3:12 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    It's 1 a.m. here, but I can't go to bed cos your yummy food pics are making me drool and my tummy growl.

    Wish I could have the steamed prawns with egg white, the pork ribs (ooh I can just taste the caramel coating on the crispy meat!), the green and crisp baby bok choy, and the lobster! I'm guessing the mantou-like buns must have been perfect for mopping up the lobster sauce.

    The food looks really delicious. Pity about the service, though.

  • At 5/26/2005 10:46 am, Blogger deborah said…

    I've eaten here once, and also found the food to be good at times and then the next course to be not so good.

  • At 5/26/2005 2:08 pm, Blogger Kelly said…

    Service and food quality can vary enormously at Chinese restaurants, even within one sitting! That bread looks really tasty though, and so do the Peking pork spare ribs. I can never decide if I like them or the salt and pepper ones better. (The first [and most handy] Cantonese I learned from my in-laws was "jui-im guat" and "ging-du guat"!)

  • At 5/27/2005 6:38 pm, Blogger Ms One Boobie said…

    Service is important.. i feel.. ! too bad.. the food was also so-so.. and didn't compensate for the so-so service..!

  • At 5/30/2005 11:00 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The best Chinese food I've had in Sydney is at Marigold (across market city). Their yum cha is spectacular especially their prawn chong fan, and the dinner banquets are amazing! Excellent service compared to Kam Fook.

    Aspects of Asia (in Eastwood) is great as well, and way cheaper than Marigold.

    Very Good, BBQ One and K&J (all in Eastwood) are tops for take away.

  • At 7/29/2005 5:29 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I have to say the quality of chinese food can really vary but the number of times i have been to this restaurant, I largely enjoy it. It is the best authentic Hong kong chef style chinese food in the innerwest. Service does vary depending on who's working but there are some really very attentive waiters there. And the food, generally very good. I don't think the "banquet type" menu does the other ala carte dishes justice though that steamed egg white/tofu thing is pretty standard.

  • At 8/26/2008 6:28 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    hi! i regularly eat at crystal seafood and i just wanted to let you know that the seafood with the egg whites dish always comes with scallops (: its not because they ran out of prawns!

    if you ever decide to give the place another chance (which i hope you will!), try the wasabi beef, the salt&pepper pork (i know its typical but its fantastic), the steamed oysters, and fresh prawns.

  • At 8/31/2008 9:57 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Janet - Thanks for your comments and clarification. I haven't had a chance to go back yet, but I will definitely post an update if I do :)

  • At 7/07/2009 11:34 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hi AG,

    I've only eaten here for dinner once, however I'm a regular for their yum cha!!

    Yum Cha at Crystal Seafood on Sundays are always packed and I really really love their chicken feets and tendons! They have the best chicken feets in Sydney (in my opinion - I've tried so many chicken feets in CBD but found that by far this is the best) because it's always saucy and perfect amount of garlic, etc. The tendons are always tender, yum!

    Shame about the service that you had at dinner time, because their service during Yum Cha is pretty good. Even if they can't speak English, they usually direct me to someone who can.

  • At 7/08/2009 8:27 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Anon - Thanks for your comment and feedback. It has been some time since I had yumcha here so hopefully the food and service are now spot-on.

    I do love my chicken feet but I always hanker for extra black bean and chilli!

  • At 8/22/2009 6:23 pm, Anonymous margaret said…

    Just making my way through your reviews and this is the only restaurant I've come across where I have a vastly different opinion to yours.

    My family and I consistently drive over to Strathfield from the north shore just to eat here! I have to agree that the service was a tad below par before (considering you went in'05), but it has slowly become a lot better in recent years.

    I second the point above about the beef with wasabi sauce - it's fantastic!

  • At 8/24/2009 2:39 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Margaret - I did eat here sometime ago, so glad to hear the service has improved! Beef and wasabi is fast becoming a popular dish. I'm seeing it pop up more and more often on menus!


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