Eaton Chinese Restaurant
There are a lot of different experiences to be had at Eaton Chinese Restaurant, and you might see them all in one night.
Early on in the evening, roughly half the tables will be laden with all of the Chinese-Australian classics: sweet-and-sour pork, honey-pepper beef, salt-and-pepper everything. Most of the diners here are Cantonese-speakers (usually elderly) who come in for a rare taste of deep-fried pigeon, poached chicken, or a simple omelette with salted radish. Come here from midnight on and you’ll see the knock-off crowd at full tilt: chefs, shift workers and drivers ordering congees, salty noodles and fried rice.
If you’re lucky, you might see every kind of patron at the same time – all packed in next to each other in a chaotic jumble.
Eaton also has a notable live-seafood offering. Depending on seasonality and the type of creature you end up choosing, it’s going to cost between $50 and $150 a head. Other, more esoteric dishes, such as the preserved-pork stir-fry, can be difficult to order if you can’t read and write Cantonese or Mandarin; expect a battle to convince the staff that’s what you want.