China Diner is a pan-Asian eatery and bar in Bondi by restaurateur Kingsley Smith, with two equally lively spin-offs in Double Bay and the Tramsheds in Forest Lodge.
The restaurant seats around 200 and is divided into two areas. The section fronting Hall Street houses a long bar surrounded by high communal tables and wooden booths. Out the back, things become a little more formal courtesy of the white tablecloths, timber floorboards and softer lighting.
Cantonese, Southeast Asian and Japanese flavours are well represented on the crowd-pleasing menu. Small plates such as chicken and sesame “chiko” rolls, various dim sum, and pork san choi bao kick things off. From there, you might order pork belly with chilli, caramel and lime; beef shin Massaman curry, or stir-fried vegetarian hokkien noodles to share.
A short list of desserts rounds out the lengthy selection: green tea panna cotta with seasonal fruit, or deep-fried vanilla bean ice-cream with salted caramel and butterscotch popcorn.
The wine list predominately focuses on organic and biodynamic wines from smaller vineyards in Australia, New Zealand and Europe. Cocktails on the other hand, incorporate plenty of Asian influences, which is just as well – a yuzu spritz is the kind of refreshing counterpoint you’ll need to offset the punchy (and at times fiery) flavours exiting the kitchen.