It was a bit surprising, just how quickly Kings Cross’ new lockout laws have had an effect on the establishments there – Buns and Balls has already relocated, and they’ve barely just opened! While I myself can’t really comment on whether these laws are a good thing or not, one thing’s for sure – things are changing in the always-vibrant atmosphere of Kings Cross.
Or are they? Clearly, not all is lost, as restaurants are still opening up in this gloriously pleasure-seeking suburb. The latest? The peculiarly-named Love on Top. Fair enough, I suppose, given that it is actually one level above street level – so do look up when trying to find it.
While they’ve been in operation for a few weeks now, LoT’s official launch was on the 4th of Feb. Their cuisine? Most assuredly Asian. “Another Asian bar?” You ask. Yes, another one. What makes this one different? Well, it’s actually got damn good food. Read on.
Date Last Visited: 4/2/14
Address: 33 Bayswater Road, Kings Cross, 2011
Recommended Dish(es): gotta get some of them dumplings
Need I mention that the usual disclaimer applies?
As you would expect of an alfresco setting, LoT has the looks to spare, complemented by austere pieces scrounged from the trash cans of storage-deprived entities. It’s lucky pickings to whoever can get their hands on it.
Neither Agnes, the owner of the joint nor I understand what this is meant to be. But does it look cool? Yes? Ok, decor it becomes.
Friendly staff are paramount in a restaurant opening, and even though everyone was hustling, they were still able to pose for a snap. Do note the quantity of alcohol to their left. It only gets bigger and better.
The kitchen staff are no less serious and indeed, their efforts will carry this opening. At this stage, they’re still preparing as I arrived fairly on time. Thus, it’s time for one thing, and one thing only.
To sit back and relax with a glass of Brut, naturally. These were free flowing, conventional for an event of this form. Indeed, while I didn’t particularly enjoy the champs itself (you can’t win a teetotaler over with alcohol!), I did love the aspect of relaxing in a particularly beauteous environment, even if the grass is actually astroturf 😛
Pleasantly, LoT did consider for the needs of people who weren’t really into champs and offered a selection of pilsners and ciders instead.
I didn’t try the pilsner, but I did try the cider; it tasted like…good cider. Yes, good bubbly, such sweet, wow.
But no really, I don’t have criticisms for it – it’s pretty good sweet carbonated alky (Y).
The food began arriving after half an hour after we arrived. Teasing us was this one (one!) pork, mushroom & peanut dumpling. But my, look how good it looks! It’s quite sizable as well, which is mandatory when you’re charging the equivalent of $2.5 for just one piece.
But here’s the thing – the dumpling is delicious. Piping hot, thick enough skin to hold everything together, but not so thick to overpower the filling. As for the filling itself – so delectable. Titillating flavours of pork jump out with exquisitely fine texture make for remarkable textural composition.
No seriously, I have not had a good dumpling outside of home in a long, long time. LoT really surprised me with the quality of its dumplings – they are easily able to stand up to Asian heavyweight giants.
The one downside we discovered throughout the course of the night was that the food always kept coming out of the kitchen, but the waiters would almost always skip our table. That was positively annoying, requiring us to actually come to the kitchen itself to get any food at all. It was 2 hours later when we figured that out, so go figure at how hungry we got in the interim. The trio of dumplings you see above came an hour after the initial taste. If the dumplings weren’t tasty, then I wouldn’t have cared; the fact that they were so good added to the hankering.
That said, the interim did allow us to see what was going on when we weren’t eating. Watching food being made is the next best thing (though that also whet’s our appetite).
Why is the food here so good? Well, we finally found out after an announcement was made. Kenny, the head chef, used to work for one-hatted China Doll.
Well holy crap, that explains a lot. Why he left his job at such a distinguished establishment is beyond me, but I’m glad he’s now closer (to me), producing amazing food for cheaper prices (relatively speaking). Knowing this, I could be pretty confident in knowing that the rest of the food – including the stuff I didn’t try, would be good too.
Speaking of food we were unable to try…
Diggity, these deep fried lobster spring rolls looked delicious. I sure hope they tasted as good as they look – deep fry is safe enough as it is, but I can only imagine the sapid lobster wrapped in delightfully crispy batter. Cannot wait to have these for real.
This mango pudding w/almond crumble I did get to try – and I wished I could just take spoonful after spoonful. It’s a very simple dessert, but plays on established taste sensations virtually guaranteed to please the palate. The texture is naturally provided by the nutty crumble, while the pudding is the sweet sweet gooey that puts heaven in the mouth. Awesome stuff.
Not sure if you get a candied cherry when you order this dish for real, as this is probably not how it’ll be served when you order it normally.
For the longest time, I was only able to see plates of these BBQ duck dumplings sail by without one ever making it to our table. But we decided enough was enough.
Our fortunes were reversed when we made our way to the kitchen itself to snag the food the moment it’s plated. No more leaving it to chance!
Glad we took control of our own fate too – these dumplings were in every which way as delicious as the pork ones. I think I like them even more, in fact. Dab some soy sauce and a little bit of chilli (all provided) and you have a dumpling that will handily knock the socks off any decent yum cha dumpling you’ve tried here in Sydney. The fact that they’re made fresh to order pretty much right in front of you says a lot too. I’m not sure if that’s how they’ll do it during normal service, but one can hope.
Unfortunately, didn’t get to try these at all, but I can safely assume that if Kenny’s work is up to par here, then the scallop & prawn siu mai is definitely worth trying as well, unless of course you’re sick to death of eating these from yum cha. Your choice!
These green things…I was most curious about this. Sweet, or otherwise?
Pandan crepes make a pretty lovely entrance with a taste to match. I was notably impressed at how well the varying sweet elements in the dessert balanced against each other. The pandan crepes never got overpowered by its filling, which is awesome – given how strong the latter is. The caramelised coconut adds a lingering textural roughness which releases a sweet, burning aroma when chewed into.
I don’t usually eat mushrooms, but with five types of wild mushrooms in these wild mushroom dumplings, one had to try.
Well, looks like I still need to get used to the taste of mushrooms, but I was actually able to finish one without spitting it out!
Seriously, that’s a big, big deal.
Wish I got this at the beginning! I hope they make it a menu item. Seriously – it’s so clever. Boss.
Last but not least, I was dearly hoping that I would be able to try one of these, as they also did not make it to our mouths for the longest time. Luckily, I was able to have my fill of the incredible crispy pork belly slider which is just. O. M. G.
Even the bun itself is deep fried – I witnessed the process with my own eyes, from the initial steaming of the bun, to the deep frying, to the construction of these mini burgers. One of the best sliders I’ve ever had. Just a little unfortunate that they’re priced at $5 a pop. I’d spend $30 just to be satisfied.
I have no idea what this drink is called, but when you’re there – ask for “that” drink with amaretto, guava & egg white. It tastes amazing – strong, yet refreshing and still maintains sweetness. No idea how they do it.
Yes, Love on Top looks quite promising – the food is definitely up there, which is more than I can say for a lot of places. Here’s hoping that the service matches, and that the prices are amounts that customers will swallow.
I will actually revisit this Saturday 15th, to write a proper review on it if all goes to plan. Look out for that!
As usual, feel free to leave a comment or three 😀
- Delicious, delicious food. Nuff said
Not so Awesome:
- Opening night teething issues
- Prices are kinda steep
- Can’t take this experience to infer what a normal dining experience will be like