Paddington’s King Tea has relaunched as a Chinese restaurant. The Popmega group’s bar and tapas joint has been rolling out a new Chinese menu over the past month but finally locked in its offering last week with an official menu launch.
Co-owner Dane Huitfeldt says the decision came after the original mix of Spanish tapas and wine didn’t resonate with locals. The King Tea moniker was picked for the building’s history as a snack bar that stood opposite the Paddington tram depot, but led to some confusing conversations with customers who wondered whether it was actually a Chinese restaurant or even a still tea shop.
“I shouldn’t really gloss over the fact that, obviously, it was a business decision,” Huitfeldt adds. “If we were hugely successful with our tapas then the change probably wouldn’t have occurred.
“We’re really apologetic to close down anything that people really enjoy because the only reason that we’re in this is because we really want people to enjoy themselves.”
But the change makes sense for the venue and Huitfeldt feels locals will respond well to King Tea’s modern take on Chinese cuisine. The chefs drew upon the knowledge of their colleagues at Remy’s (another Popmega venue), one of whom trained in Sichuan, China, to create the new menu. It features cult favourites like sweet and sour pork and a King Tea rendition of crispy duck alongside house-made dumplings and vegetarian wonton noodle soup. There’s also a banquet option available for those who prefer to have the kitchen make the hard choices.
Drinks have switched to beers, a low intervention wine list and a selection of cocktails, all designed to go with Chinese food.