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Monday, January 23, 2012

The Eight, Haymarket

soup at the eight, haymarket

Happy New Year!

It's the first day of the Lunar New Year and 2012 is the Year of the Dragon. We celebrated with a dinner at The Eight at the top of Market City, buzzing with families and friends who had come together to eat.

the eight, haymarket
The Eight

at the eight, haymarket
Yee sang sashimi salad $42.80 (specials menu)

After a complimentary house soup - sweet with pork bones and filled with lotus roots and strands of lucky fat choy black moss - we were excited about the upcoming yee sang sashimi salad. Traditionally served at Lunar New Year celebrations, the yee sang is usually a large plate laden with a colourful rainbow of raw fish, julienned vegetables and fried crackers that is tossed together at the table. Often this is done by the guests who shout good luck chants as they toss the salad with as much height as possible.

The yee sang sashimi salad that arrives is much more modest in appearance that we anticipate and scant in portion size, especially given the $42.80 price tag. A waiter wanders over with a jug of dressing which he pours over the top of the salad before it is mixed with quiet efficiency and minimal fanfare.

at the eight, haymarket
Tossed yee sang sashimi salad

There are probably ten planks of salmon in the salad, doused in a sweet soy dressing. Deep-fried wonton wrappers and crushed peanuts give a pleasing crunch, but we wished there was more cucumber and carrot in the salad mix.

at the eight, haymarket
Red braised pork knuckle $33.80 (specials menu)

Red braised pork knuckle is from the specials menu, a hunk of pork cooked until tender. The skin is glossy and sweet around a generous layer of fat, and the nest of fat choy hair moss is a deliberate inclusion for extra luck. Fat choy sounds like the last two words in "Gung hei fat choy", the Cantonese New Year greeting that calls for prosperity.

beans at the eight, haymarket
Wok-tossed snake beans with oyster sauce $19.80

Both our vegetable dishes come with sprinklings of pork mince. The wok-tossed snake beans are squeaky fresh with a salty sauce and the braised eggplants are deliciously soft and sweet.

braised eggplant at the eight, haymarket
Braised eggplant with minced pork and chilli in clay pot $18.80

at the eight, haymarket
Deep fried salt and pepper bean curd $18.80

If there's one dish that tests the skill of a Chinese it's deep-fried salt and pepper bean curd. There's an admirable level of expertise required to create a light and crunchy batter around delicate and wobbly pillows of silken tofu. These pass the test with ease. The gentle flavour of tofu is boosted by crunchy shards of deep fried shallots and a dusting of salt and pepper.

shandong chicken at the eight, haymarket
Crispy skin chicken with ginger and shallots in soy sauce $16.80

We finish with crispy skin chicken, splashed with a vinegary soy sauce in the style of shandong chicken. The chicken is succulent beneath the thin and brittle glazed skin, and the heap of shredded shallots add some zing.

dessert at the eight, haymarket

There's no need to order dessert either with a series of house sweets served with compliments to the table. A fruit platter of rockmelon and watermelon slices is sweet and refreshing, best eaten before the bowls of sweet red bean soup. And just to make sure you're literally waddling out the door, a plate of sponge cake squares and siu hao jo laughing sesame balls will put a smile on your face for the new year ahead.

View Larger Map
The Eight Modern Chinese Restaurant on Urbanspoon
Level 5, Market City
9-13 Hay Street, Haymarket Chinatown, Sydney
Tel: +1 (02) 9282 9988

Opening hours:
Monday to Friday 10am-3.30pm and 5.30pm-11pm
Saturday and Sunday 9am-4pm and 5.30pm-11pm

Related Grab Your Fork posts:
The Eight, Haymarket (Apr 11)
25 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 1/23/2012 01:48:00 am


  • At 1/23/2012 2:56 am, Anonymous Flick Your Food said…

    Happy Chinese New Year. The brasied eggplant with pork looks delicious.
    I love their Yum Cha here. They do a mean mango pancake, and look forward to visiting them again on tuesday.

  • At 1/23/2012 7:07 am, Anonymous Anna @ the shady pine said…

    The pork knuckle is calling me....it looks brilliant!
    This food here looks outstanding and I am putting it on my list to try.

  • At 1/23/2012 7:08 am, Anonymous Andrea said…

    Hi Helen, Happy Chinese New Year of the Dragon.

  • At 1/23/2012 7:51 am, Anonymous Tina @ bitemeshowme said…

    Happy New Year, Helen :)

  • At 1/23/2012 9:05 am, Anonymous Minh said…

    Happy Year of the Dragon Heren!

  • At 1/23/2012 9:06 am, Anonymous Tina@foodboozeshoes said…

    Mmm, the pork knuckle looks fab - even at this time of the morning...

  • At 1/23/2012 9:56 am, Blogger joey@forkingaroundsydney said…

    I'm still not convinced about The Eight but the pork knuckle looks quite good.

    Happy Chinese New Year to you!

  • At 1/23/2012 10:21 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I'm not sure I'd order sashimi in a Chinese restaurant, not saying it can't be good but seems out of place. The pork knuckle, on the other hand, looks delicious.

  • At 1/23/2012 10:41 am, Blogger Rita (mademoiselle délicieuse) said…

    Happy Chinese New Year, Helen!

  • At 1/23/2012 10:55 am, Anonymous Billy @ A Table For Two said…

    That is one stingy looking Yee Sang, how much it cost to put shredded dai kon and carrot, seriously?

    I wish Helen the Dragon Moi, soaring high in dragon year, and spitting more fire on the roast!

  • At 1/23/2012 11:57 am, Anonymous Eha said…

    Fabulous food! Fabulous photos! Thank you for allowing us to join and do have a very Happy New Year!

  • At 1/23/2012 11:58 am, Blogger Potato Princess said…

    Happy New Year! :) Looked like you had a lovely feast. The yee sang does look tiny though!

  • At 1/23/2012 2:08 pm, Blogger Mel said…

    Happy New Year - looks like a great feast to kick of the year with.

  • At 1/23/2012 2:28 pm, Anonymous chocolatesuze said…

    shame about the small yee sang and pfft the guests are meant to toss the salad for luck not the waiter! but anywhos happy new year mate and here's to tasty eats in the year of the dragon!

  • At 1/23/2012 3:18 pm, Blogger Peter G | Souvlaki For The Soul said…

    Happy New year Eleni! Great to see you starting off the new year with what you do best. Feasting!

  • At 1/23/2012 3:42 pm, Anonymous Maureen said…

    I can't decide which dish I like best. One photo leads to another photo of even better food. What a wonderful dinner you had! Happy New Year!

  • At 1/23/2012 4:53 pm, Blogger Michelle Chin said…

    happy cny! i do agree with your opinion of the salad. there's not enough greens in sight!

  • At 1/23/2012 6:07 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Happy CNY! :D mmm the Deep fried salt and pepper bean curd looks awesome! and the pork knuckle... Heavenly :)

  • At 1/23/2012 6:25 pm, Anonymous L said…

    Looks like you had better luck here than we did. We had a pre-CNY dinner here and it was a pretty crappy experience all around. Most of the dishes we ordered was too salty or too oily/greasy unfortunately. We also waited over 40 minutes for our fruit platter and while other tables received their cookies and tong sui, ours never did. We gave up and left. The Eight used to be quite good - not sure if this was an off night due to the crowds. They really need more consistency and better service.

  • At 1/23/2012 8:32 pm, Blogger missklicious said…

    The eggplant dish looks delicious, shame about the small yee sang though! It does look a bit small and sad...

  • At 1/23/2012 9:38 pm, Anonymous Hannah said…

    I'm up for any dessert that laughs along with me.

  • At 1/23/2012 10:33 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Went there for a Yum Cha lunch date, enjoyed the food but the service was absolutely terrible.

  • At 1/28/2012 10:32 pm, Anonymous tania@mykitchenstories said…

    oh thiss place looks fabulous and a bit different.

  • At 1/29/2012 10:38 pm, Anonymous penny aka jeroxie said…

    Gong xi fa cai! The yusheng looks a little underwhelming. Hope the yumcha is good!

  • At 2/05/2012 1:34 am, Anonymous Sara - Belly Rumbles said…

    Deep friend salt and pepper bean curd, well hello there. Crispy outside and soft centre, yum.


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