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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Room 27, Sydney

EDIT: Room 27, Sydney has now closed

Have you walked past this door and never noticed?

Sandwiched between the cheerful yellow splash of Barby's bakery and a clothing store on the other side, is a black doorway simply labelled with Room 27.

Although there's a menu board of Taiwanese dishes at the front, it's hard not to be a little intimidated by the black walls and entrance, made all the more dramatic by the hanging crystal beads that twinkle, and a wall festooned with flashing blue and purple LED lights.

Night club? Strip club? Secret poker den or mah-jong room?

Buoyed by group solidarity, Billy, Minh, Suze and I head down the stairs. I'm flummoxed at first, because Room 27 is not written on a door, but a wall - a sharp left turn required until we meet this...

As Austin Powers might say... Yeah baby!

And doesn't the crystal curtain call out to your inner Masterchef judging panel?

Lychee de coco $3.80

We order drinks as we survey the largely abandoned glamour den. A long rectangular chandelier hangs over the bar area and Chinese music videos flicker non-stop on the plasma screens dotted around the walls.

Whilst there are plenty of alcoholic drinks available, we opt for teas and soft drinks. Billy's lychee and coconut juice comes in a glass which is deceptively made out of plastic. As we pick up teapots and ceramic-looking glasses, and our food arrives in bowls and on plates, it soon becomes apparent that everything is plastic. It feels a little odd, the lightness of our plasticware making me feel like I'm playing tea party.

Deep-fried pork chop $8.80

Much of the menu is fried, presumably why the lingering smell of deep-fried grease hits you when you first round the corner from street upstairs. Fried chicken pieces are a little limp and oily but the deep-fried pork chop has a better crispness to its edge.

Fried chicken pieces $7.80

Fried chicken wings with rice $10.80

Fried chicken wings with rice offers a mixture of flavours. The wings have a spicy coating, its crunchy skin a contrast against the silky smoothness of a mapo tofu that is fiery in heat.

Chinese special noodle soup $8.80

Chinese special noodle soup isn't all that special after all. The soup is bland and flavourless, and the noodles are barely cooked but still a touch cold on the tongue. A small muddle of simmered pork offers some sustenance, and the soy sauce egg, although rich in colour, is a touch overcooked and disappointingly dry.

Taiwanese-style stewed pork foot rice $10.80

There's no shortage of moisture in the Taiwanese-styled stewed pork foot (or hock). It's a glut of fat and skin and morsels of meat slow simmered in an aromatic soy stock.

Two days later, Billy and I are wondering where we should go with Peter G for a drink somewhere that's quiet. Billy and I look at each other and smile. "Room 27!"

Fried plate with jug of beer $27.00

This time it's a $27 special that's ordered, a party platter that's designed for snacking and comes served with a jug of beer (filled to only about three-quarters, we notice too late).

The deep-fried plate is every cholesterol lover's dream. We dig into deep-fried chicken, tofu and fishcake along with slices of fatty and juicy lup cheong preserved sausage.

I don't know that the food was the highlight here, but the chance to dine against a curtain of shimmering crystals? Priceless.

Crystal beaded curtain

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Room 27
EDIT: Room 27, Sydney has now closed
Basement level
27-33 Goulburn Street, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 8084 7880

Opening hours
Monday to Thursday 11.30am - 11.30pm
Friday and Saturday 12.00pm - 12.00am
Sunday 11.30am - 10.00pm

Related Grab Your Fork posts:
Taiwanese - Blue Eye Dragon, Pyrmont
Taiwanese - Mother Chu's Taiwanese Gourmet (Apr07), (Nov05) and (Nov04)
Taiwanese - Sunflower Crepe Cafe, Ultimo
Taiwanese - Ten Ren Cha for Tea, Chatswood
18 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 8/19/2009 02:06:00 am


  • At 8/19/2009 2:38 am, Blogger Peter G | Souvlaki For The Soul said…

    LOL! I remember this place! I thought we we were heading into some secret bar within a bar! I had a deep fried "oil" smell on my clothes when we left. But the snacks were tasty!

  • At 8/19/2009 6:22 am, Anonymous Simon said…

    Between the decor and the plastic plates, I'm not surprised that you felt the way that you did with this place.

  • At 8/19/2009 8:42 am, Anonymous shez said…

    That's hilarious (decor-wise, food-wise not so much)! I've been wondering what it was like down there...

  • At 8/19/2009 9:34 am, Blogger Betty @ The Hungry Girl said…

    Lol. I always thought that this was a clothing store, never realised it was a restaurant! How random. The crystal bead curtains are priceless!

  • At 8/19/2009 10:12 am, Blogger Stephcookie said…

    Haha I can't believe I've never noticed that door before, I walk past here heaps! There is definitely something very 70s strip club about it! You have to love the plastic plates, there's something so authentically dodgy asian about it!

  • At 8/19/2009 10:32 am, Anonymous The Extra said…

    I walked past this place just last week and thought it was a brothel. Or a kareoke bar.

    You're very brave Helen. Braver than me!

  • At 8/19/2009 10:35 am, Anonymous chocolatesuze said…

    bwahahaha i swear it turns into a stripper club. maybe you need a secret password before they come out...

  • At 8/19/2009 12:21 pm, Anonymous clekitty said…

    The decor looks nice.. but the food is a bit :S

  • At 8/19/2009 2:26 pm, Blogger Unknown said…

    the mapo tofu dish looks so delish!

    this is really one of the simplest dishes to make anywhere in the world so long as you can get hold of tofu and sauce package.

    Here I bought a sauce pack so as to skip all the seasonings! and i will try this friday after work.

  • At 8/19/2009 5:28 pm, Blogger Simon Leong said…

    sounds like an interesting place. i haven't come across it as yet. don't you hate it when they list something as special and it's not. looks a bit like a strip club actually from what i can see. was it busy or empty when you went?

  • At 8/19/2009 8:17 pm, Anonymous kay said…

    the food doesnt look nice at all.. blah looks dry and all cooked same way.. never notice this rest before

  • At 8/19/2009 10:14 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Haha still haven't been yet :( but soo exxy!!!! (compared to TW that is hee hee) and I heard it's ok but not authentic enough! It does look kinda shady tho haha did they play stripper music ;)?

  • At 8/19/2009 11:27 pm, Anonymous Howard said…

    The food looks so random! But yes, I've walked past this place many a time without going in, happens a lot in chinatown!

  • At 8/20/2009 2:35 am, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Peter G - The look on your face was very sceptical, although I guess our grins weren't helping much! Fried snacks are always tasty!

    Hi Simon - Ah the decor was half the charm. Plastic tableware on the other hand, I could've done without.

    Hi Shez - You will have to go down there. Much fun.

    Hi Betty - I always thought it was a nightclub. lol. The crystal is so mesmerising.

    Hi Stephcookie - It took me a while to realise it was there too. I think that's why they put the menu easel outside. And lol @ 70s strip club!

    Hi The Extra - Safety in numbers :) Works every time!

    Hi chocolatesuze - Haha, are you hoping? :)

    Hi clekitty - I guess some places are more about the atmosphere than the food!

    Hi Sophie - I still haven't made my own mapo tofu, although admittedly I've always wanted to try to make it from scratch.

    Hi Simon Food Favourites - It was actually quite empty both times we went. We went at about 9.30pm and 6pm.

    Hi Kay - You always have to keep your eyes peeled :) It was fun to visit and good for chatting.

    Hi FFichiban - lol. It had a cheesy charm to it. I did feel like I needed a bit more bling :)

    Hi Howard - Lots of hidden doorways in Chinatown. You'll have to head in there sometime!

  • At 8/22/2009 8:36 pm, Blogger Unknown said…

    Certainly has an underworld look to the place... but anything with that much fried stuff wins me over.

  • At 8/24/2009 2:37 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Peter - I think fried food is the easiest way to win people over!

  • At 9/03/2009 10:42 am, Anonymous billy@atablefortwo said…

    hahaha how did this post slip away without me noticing it! I am sure the stripper of the night was on leave, having a sip with her friend at one of the tables.

  • At 9/06/2009 12:12 am, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Billy - Haha, you might have to volunteer next time!


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