Cantonese food touches down on Majors Bay Road!
Catching up with the in-laws for a belated Lunar New Year’s meal, I was tired with the Burwood and Strathfield dining scene, so we cast our net a little wider and lucked on ‘Dining Spot’!
The sensible cuisine to have for a Lunar New Year’s meal with the family is obviously Chinese, so I was a little bit surprised to find when searching for a South Chinese restaurant that a Cantonese restaurant had newly opened up in the unlikely dining spot of Majors Bay Road (ironically called the ‘Dining Spot’…….Me personally, I would’ve named it ‘Dining Outpost’ as it was in no-man’s land, or at least no-Chinese-man’s land). And my in-laws were also pleased to try a Cantonese restaurant outside of their usual Inner West haunts.
When you walk into Dining Spot, you’ll immediately notice the differences to the usual Cantonese restaurant. Here, it’s more airy, they actually play music, and there is some attempt at table settings and store decorations. It’s probably due to the fact that they have to win over a whole new clientele, unable to rest on their laurels like the large pre-established Cantonese restaurants can, in Strathfield or Rhodes.
My in-laws had arrived before us, and learnt that one of the partners from their usual go-to Strathfield restaurant had opened this outpost on Majors Bay, so we were confident that we’d get a decent level of service and food.
Flipping through the menu, they cover off more than just the usual Cantonese classics, and had sections for Laksas, hotpots, and a few other non-typical Canto dishes, while there were also the usual Canto suspects like Yum Cha to-order, whole Peking duck, etc. etc.
We settled on the Seafood San Choy Bow, Shan Dong Chicken, Vegetable and Tofu Hotpot, and Stir fried Flat Rice Noodles with King Prawns in Creamy Egg Sauce. The menu is actually so extensive that we narrowed down our choices by only considering dishes that they had marked with a ‘thumbs-up’ icon next to it (3 of our 4 choices were marked with the big opposable digit).
While we waited for our food, we just relaxed in the relative calm of the store. Closing your eyes you could almost imagine yourself sitting alfresco, out in the open air- as it was really that airy in there; and they were playing this CD which consisted of traditional Chinese instruments playing soothing instrumental music but within the audio itself it had chirping birds, which added to the feeling of being outdoors and tranquillity.
The first dish to arrive was the San Choy Bow (the humble edible bowl a new year’s tradition). The lettuce was fresh, but as we ate we remembered that it has been quite some time since we last ate out at a traditional Cantonese restaurant and it reminded us of how bland Canto food can be. As the seafood and veg inside the lettuce bowl were really fresh, but the tastes were a bit nondescript.
Next we tried the Vegetable Tofu hotpot, this again was on the bland side, and the tofu was the fried type, when I was silently hoping for the silken tofu.
But then we had the Shan Dong chicken, which in contrast was bursting with flavour! The chicken was fried crispy skin chicken, it was covered in the mild spicy but tasty Shan Dong sauce, and there were other ingredients like garlic, water chestnut and seaweed which added flavour and texture to the dish. So it was a redeeming dish for Dining Spot, as to this point it was cruising for a low Food score from me.
And the last dish was the noodles with king prawn and egg sauce. Yeah, this was okay, the prawns were tasty, large and fresh! And the noodles and the egg sauce were as advertised, by the long form description in the menu.
And as we ate, my wife explained to her parents all about our new lifestyle blog- Four Senses. As the last time we caught up with them before Christmas, we were already doing food reviews and they were used to us pulling out the phone each time a dish arrived. But we hadn’t started our own WordPress site yet, so the ability for them to pull out their phones and peruse the site right-there-and-then and breeze over some of our dining escapades was pretty cool.
Our end verdict for Dining Spot? 4.0 Stars from 5! (2 from 3 for Food – It was alright, but the more established Canto restaurants still turn out a more tasty offering); 0.5 from 0.5 for Service (the young waiter who waited on us was super polite, excusing himself each time he approached our table and was surreptitiously topping up our water); 0.5 from 0.5 for Atmosphere (this was the stand-out, Canto restaurants aren’t known for its décor or ambiance, but Dining Spot had loads of character); and 1 from 1 for Value for money (it equated to slightly over $20 per person, which isn’t bad for Cantonese).
I think it’s great for the Concord locals to have Dining Spot move in to Majors Bay Road (while we were there two different locals came in to place take-away orders), and for them I’m sure it’s nice to have some variety along their street. If you too are looking for a change from you’re usual Canto haunts, or you just need to escape the melting pot of Burwood, check-out Dining Spot! It’s a good little spot!
Dining Spot- Sunday 10 February (4.0 Stars)
PH: (02) 8317 6313
47 Majors Bay Road, Concord NSW
Tues-Sun 11am – 3pm; 5pm – 10pm