Sunday, 23 January 2011

Restaurant Review: Lao Zhao / Good Luck Chinese, Enfield

My Chinese colleague is a constant source of advice to me on Chinese restaurants and shops in Sydney. As well as offering me advice for cooking Chinese dishes. When he promised me the best Peking Duck in Sydney I hastily assembled a group of food bloggers to go and check it out.

I'd been warned that Lao Zhao looked closed from the outside.  That was certainly my impression when we arrived, with the blinds drawn and only the 'Open' sign giving you any clue the restaurant was welcoming diners.

You have to order ducks at least 24hrs in advance and two of our table being late caused a bit of a stir. No other than Mr Zhao himself popped over to our table to subtly explain that our duck was ready at the alloted 7:30 and wasn't going to be waiting for our tardy companions!

The whole Peking duck came served complete with the head which had been chopped in half. Olivia went full throttle for the duck innards. I had a little taste of the brain - a texture like fois gras - but didn't explore any further. I loved the rustic home made pancakes and the sweet bean sauce that came served with the duck.

I didn't find the duck skin or meat itself that mind blowing.

The second course, that comes included with the pancakes, is a duck bone soup. The soup was a highlight, made with cabbage and had a good depth of flavour. Perhaps surprisingly it was voted by the table as one of the favourites of the evening.

Ordering additional dishes proved a little challenging. Several of the staff only spoke Mandarin and the English translations on the menu were a little basic. Luckily we had some recommendations from my colleague and even the name of one dish written in Mandarin on a post-it note!

First up as the saut├ęd lamb with cumin and chilli. The restaurant owners are from a northern muslim dominated Chinese province and their heritage shows through in this dish. The strong flavour of cumin had me thinking of Middle Eastern food, but undercurrents of Chinese influence meant you couldn't quite place this dish. It was a bit confusing on the palate. I really liked the lamb, but I'm not sure if it was a favourite round the table.

Ordered using the post-it not was the dry fried yellow croaker. The whole fried fish was a winner at the table with crispy skin and plenty of flesh. I think people would have liked a second.

Our final treat were sher ping pancakes that I had a go at making last summer. The pancakes were awesome with the black rice vinegar.

Really good food at very good prices. It was definitely worth the trip out to Enfield on a Saturday night.

It's not hard to see why people tell you that the restaurant looks closed.

Lao Zhao Good Luck Chinese Restaurant on Urbanspoon


  1. With duck that looks as good as that, I wouldn't be waiting for the tardy ones either! You snooze, you lose!

  2. So so sad we missed out on what seemed like a fab feast! =(

  3. i think i was one of the tardy ones ;-) but glad i made it. definitely worth visiting and thanks so much for ordering. it was so funny the only white guy in the whole restaurant was ordering for us :-)

  4. I bet there isn't a place like that in the real Enfield!

  5. That duck looks amazing, but the teeth on that fish look totally frightening! I agree with John, when it comes to duck if you snooze you lose.