Ginkgo Bar & Dining – Flavours of Harbin in the Heart of Sydney

A week ago, I was invited to try the food at Ginkgo Bar & Dining, a new eatery in my old neighbourhood of Darlinghurst. I was told it was a cosy late-night dim sum bar with dishes inspired by the northeastern Chinese city of Harbin.

Now, I remember back when Chinatown between 11am-3pm was the only option if I wanted top notch dim sums; it was something of a ritual to stand in long lines on weekends at Marigold, East Ocean or Emperor’s Garden while you waited for a table to free up.

These days, with yum cha restaurants opening up in Sydney’s suburbs, the landscape has changed a little, but not much; the flavours remain quintessentially Cantonese, and it’s still considered a breakfast/brunch ritual.

I’m ethnically Chinese but never having been to China, I claim a level of ignorance about its disparate cuisines that would make my Chinese ancestors blush; it follows that I had no idea what Harbin food would taste like.

Never one to pass up an opportunity to dine out, baby Noah happily came along, and together, we got to meet Carly, the co-owner of Ginkgo Bar and Dining.

According to Carly, who hails from Harbin, its food is influenced by Russia, Korea and Japan and its flavours are stronger than what you would find with Cantonese dishes. The  menu is a mix of Chinese favourites and dishes that are distinctly Harbinesque.

We tried a number of items from the yum cha menu including the Sea Urchin & Baby Spinach Dim Sum and the Har Gow. From the mains menu, we sampled Harbin-style Chinese Wine Sausage, Soft-shell Crab Fried Rice in Spicy XO Sauce, and Eggplant Stir-fried with Garlic and Sweet Soy Sauce.

The food was outstanding.

The dim sums were delicate and bursting with flavours, and I dreamed about that eggplant dish for days afterwards – in fact I attempted to make it during one of my recent Live Asian Kitchen episodes.

Next time you’re looking for late night dining options, check out Ginkgo Bar & Dining. I’m looking forward to my next visit so I can sample some of the other dishes on the menu, and order that eggplant dish again 🙂

Baby Noah anticipating his food


Ginkgo Pastries


Ginkgo Bar & Dining Interior


Mocktail with Tropical Flavours


Ginkgo Dim Sum Collection


Eggplant stir-fried with garlic and sweet soy sauce


Ginkgo co-owner Carly


Hand-made air-dried lap cheong in Chinese white wine recipe


Wok-fried rice & soft shell crab in home-made spicy XO sauce


Ginkgo Dining Room


Ginkgo Bar & Dining is located at:

Address: 231A Victoria St, Darlinghurst NSW 2010
Hours: 5PM till late
Phone: (02) 9380 5556

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