The fusion of indigenous Australian produce and Chinese recipes isn’t common in Sydney (Billy Kwong pioneered it). Chef Chris Yan of Lotus Barangaroo is excited by this. He creates Chinese dishes with Australian native plants and herbs.
There is a dish of grilled ox tongue in tamarind sauce and native pepperberry. And crystal ice plant is the main event in a salad mixed with enoki mushrooms and dressed with black vinegar.
The star of the menu is the garfish; a long, bold-flavoured fish served deep-fried and twisted like a helix. It is eaten whole, bones and all. Gossamer threads of sticky, sweet, red soy sauce (traditionally used in Yan’s native Shanghai) coat the fish. Australian cassia bark, a relative of cinnamon, finishes the dish.
Lotus takes full advantage of the view; most of its seating is outside. White, residential towers rise up above Lotus’s awnings, their curved fronts mimicking waves. It’s a perfect spot for oysters and cocktails in summer.
The Bal and Bye cocktail is a refreshing accompaniment to seafood. Made from a Chinese spirit called Hong Kong Baijiu, the cocktail is cut with fresh passionfruit sorbet and coconut syrup.