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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Regal Restaurant, Haymarket Chinatown

1. Steamed scallops with black bean sauce

EDIT: Regal Restaurant has closed

If there's one thing I tend to avoid at Chinese restaurants it's the banquet option in the English menu. Often the dishes involve too much batter, bicarb and sugar for my liking, and besides I always think it's much more exciting and rewarding to choose and design your own array of dishes. Usually the bill is cheaper too.

But when someone else is paying, and you're an invited guest, well, I can think of worse things than enjoy a free meal. The Deluxe Banquet option had been chosen, and whilst I didn't have high hopes, I was actually pleasantly surprised with the quality of the set banquet dishes at Regal Restaurant. Sister restaurant to the Marigold, both restaurants are considered to provide some of the better, or "classier", feeds in Chinatown.

$35.00 per person (min. six persons)

1. Steamed Scallops with Black Bean Sauce
2. Crab Meat & Sweet Corn Soup

3. Deep Fried Spicy King Prawns
4. Beef Fillet Szechwan Style
5. Peking Spare Ribs
6. Regal Roast Chicken Supreme
7. Stir-Fried Seasonal Vegetable
8. Fried Rice

9. Lychee Ice Cream
10. Chinese Tea

2. Crab meat and sweet corn soup

The entree of steamed scallops was sweet and tender; surprisingly they weren't overpowered by the accompanying black bean sauce which was more a sweet dressing with black beans and shallots scattered throughout.

Crab meat and sweet corn soup was thick with hearty with chunks of prawn and floating tendrils of egg.

3. Deep fried spicy king prawns

Deep fried spicy king prawns were another winner, fat curls of prawn lightly floured and fried until crispy. The tumble of deep fried eschallots, chilli and fresh green shallots were perfect partners with the prawns and mouthfuls of steamed rice.

4. Beef fillet Szechuan style

Beef fillet Szechuan style was thankfully not as spongy as I've had in other Chinese restaurants. Usually tenderised with a sprinkling of bicarb, the slices of beef were reassuringly recognisable as meat, although the accompanying thick batter and spicy syrup of sauce requires an all-embracing sweet tooth.

5. Peking spare ribs

Just in case you hadn't had enough sugar, the sweet beef was followed by sweet pork. I'm not averse to a bit of Peking spare ribs every now and then, which is usually a tad spicier than the common sweet and sour pork. Alas this one was more like sweet and sour pork, more sweet than spicy, and overwhelmed with onion, capsicum, pineapple and more onion again.

6. Regal roast chicken supreme

Regal Roast Chicken Supreme was an impressive sight, with skin that was thin and crisp with an appetising lacquered finish.

8. Fried rice

We concluded with the usual fried rice, stir fried vegetables and lychee ice cream. All in all, a banquet that surpassed my (admittedly low) expectations, although a la carte for me will always win over the banquet option.

7. Stir fried seasonal vegetables

9. Lychee ice cream

Inside the Regal at 6pm (start of dinner service)

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Regal Restaurant
347-353 Sussex Street, Sydney
Corner of Sussex and Liverpool Street

Open Seven Days
Lunch 10:00 am - 3:00 pm
Dinner 5.30 pm - 12 midnight

Telephone: (02) 9261 8988
14 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 3/10/2009 01:38:00 am


  • At 3/10/2009 7:03 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I know what you mean about banquets. You always seem to get given the boring options. It sounds like the entrees were better than the mains in this case.

  • At 3/10/2009 8:03 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The prawns looks awesome! $35 seems ok. The chicken looks like a whole chook portion. How many people did you chow with?

    I had always avoided the chicken supreme dishes as I (incorrectly) assumed that the chicken would be saucy and the skin would loose it's deliciousness. Will give it a go next time.

  • At 3/10/2009 8:06 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    regal? the last image is surprisingly haunting empty inside the restaurant? oh well perhaps u should go back to Lantern Palace in Wamberal to revisit your childhood memories :)

  • At 3/10/2009 8:46 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    We had our wedding reception at the Regal - a 12 course dinner, just a little different to what you have posted :) It was really good! Our (mostly Chinese) guests were impressed which was a relief

  • At 3/10/2009 9:00 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I agree on avoiding the banquet option! It usually contains tourist trap dishes lol

    But for $35 it didn't look too bad ? Was it enough food for everyone ?

  • At 3/10/2009 9:39 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    ditto all above re banquets. you can always find so many interesting things ordering off the menu. that said, the prawns look so SO good... i could do a prawn right now. for breakfast. *ahhhh*

  • At 3/10/2009 11:53 am, Blogger Implosion said…

    Mmmmmm the prawns look heavenly! Yum.
    Ditto on the banquets comment.....

  • At 3/10/2009 1:26 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Glad to hear that it exceeded your initial expectations, as low as they may have been. I can appreciate the pessimistic view on banquets as I imagine they're there, at least in some part, to cater for the lowest common denominator. On the plus side, at least you didn't have spring rolls and fried dim sims for entrees.

    If you have the option to choose what went into a banquet menu, what would you select?

  • At 3/10/2009 8:25 pm, Blogger Unknown said…

    Helen those scallops and the crab and sweet corn soup look sensational. I suppose in favour of the banquet sometimes it can work out to better value and make you try some dishes you would not have otherwise.

  • At 3/11/2009 1:02 am, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Arwen - I always find that entrees are more exciting than mains. I think there tends to be more flavour and liveliness to entrees :)

    Hi Veruca Salt - There were 10 people and most were male so in actual fact there wasn't a whole lot of food. Noone was clutching their stomach, put it that way.

    I don't think I've ever even noticed Chicken Supreme on menus but then we rarely go past Crispy Skin anyway!

    Hi Billy - lol! The photo was taken at the very start of dinner service. I've now added a photo caption so it doesn't seem so incriminating. lol

    Hi Tracey - Oh yes that's right. I suppose I should've have been surprised that the food was good. It was Regal, but the menu just gave me goosebumps about potential nightmare dishes laden with sugar :) And Chinese at Chinese restaurants are always the harshest critics!

    Hi Howard - I agree. I find that banquet options are unusually uninspired or have the cheaper less-quality-ingredients dishes. The amount of food wasn't huge. It was on the lighter end of moderate.

    Hi Shez - lol. The prawns were yum. I really liked the scallops too.

    Hi Implosion - I don't think anyone can resist deep-fried prawny goodness. And ahh so good to see that I'm not alone in my banquet prejudice.

    Hi Simon - I always appreciate fresh and quality ingredients. I don't think I'll design an entire banquet menu but dishes like whole steamed fish with ginger and shallots, or scallops with broccoli and Chinese mushrooms, or tofu with eggwhite and prawn, always go down a treat with me :)

    Hi Gourmet Chick - I actually find that banquet set menus tend to offer less value? Often I'll work out pricing and realise that ordering what you want works out to the same price or slightly less than accepting a pre-chosen menu of which you only like half the dishes? I guess they are designed for large groups that don't have a designated menu orderer. Somehow I often end up being the person in charge of ordering off the menu!

  • At 3/12/2009 1:45 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    hmm....wonder if I can convince my fussy rellies to try a new Chinese restaurant for the next family dinner....

  • At 3/12/2009 4:47 am, Blogger Ulla said…

    We do not get scallops on the shell like that in nyc. Gorgeous! Love Chinese food:)

  • At 3/12/2009 12:19 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Yes, +17 re the banquet as lowest common denominator! It's always difficult when you have a large group, but you gotta just bite the bullet and take charge of the menu at the first mention of the word "banquet". Regal's dim sum is pretty decent for lunch.

    Man with two oyster knives.

  • At 3/13/2009 5:20 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Divemummy - I guess some people just don't like surprises! Sometimes it's better to stick with the tried and true than have to deal with the emotional fallout of disappointed bellies!

    Hi Ulla - I didn't know that scallop shells were so rare in dining rooms in NYC. They do make a gorgeous looking plate. We really are so very lucky to enjoy the food that we do in Sydney and Australia.

    Hi Man with two oyster knives - lol. I'm always happy to hand-select a dinner menu although it can be a little stressful if you don't know the guests very well and understand their tastes and preferences.

    We have had the dimsum at Regal before too. A good feed although we tend to frequent East Ocean out of habit.


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