I’m probably the only food blogger who hasn’t been to all the cool new restaurants in Kensington Street and Spice Alley…it’s always been a little daunting for me – if I go, I will want to eat at all the places all at once and obviously that’s not possible. So maybe just don’t go. Until I was luckily invited to Bar Chinois a few weeks back to try their food and drinks, finally I was able to go with a particular purpose, but also see everything that’s been happening over there.
Bar Chinois has been through a few incarnations already in its short life. It started off as a kind of bakery and cake cafe, until it got a liquor licence and started trading as a cocktail bar. More recently they acquired a chef who specialised in Asian fusion cooking – perfect for them, as that’s the vibe they are going for.
Apparently, the cocktails at Bar Chinois are amazing so even though I don’t drink, they made this incredible Strawberry Mocktail for me. Super tasty and even DS was a bit jealz!
We ordered a big selection of food, starting with Polenta chips with aioli & rosemary salt ($8) and Honey-glazed popcorn chicken with chili aioli ($14). We actually thought the chips would come out as a side for the main dishes and were quite surprised when it came out first! The chips were definitely tasty, and I think the popcorn chicken may have been our favourite dish of the night even though it was a bit spicy for me!
Next up was the Crispy slow-cooked pork belly bites with pickled daikon, apple puree and chili soy sauce ($17). I was impressed by how crispy the pork actually was – good bit of crackling on there! The fermented veggies were at times a bit too tangy and overwhelming, and the sweetness of the apple puree was a bit much for my flavour palette in combination with the tangy veggies and salty pork.
Having just been to Japan, I was also really curious about the Tokyo crepe with enoki & shitake mushroom, cream cheese & chive ($16). This was a bit hit and miss for me – the mushrooms had been cooked with an Asian dressing, but then the cream cheese and chives didn’t really work…
Of course we couldn’t skip dessert even after all that food. We ordered another form of crepes this time – Caramelised banana crepe with lemon sorbet ($14) because who doesn’t love caramelised banana!? I really enjoyed this dessert. The lemon sorbet cut through the sweetness of the caramelised banana to balance the dish well.
Overall, we loved sitting out the front of this little terrace, people-watching and enjoying some good food – but DS and I both agreed that the menu lacked coherence and balance. The dishes all had quite different flavours and didn’t flow very well, so I think this would more be a place that you’d go to for some drinks and nibbles rather than dinner! Individually we enjoyed a lot of the dishes, but put together there was just a bit much going on. Definitely keen to check out the rest of Kensington Street though!
16 Kensington Street
Disclaimer: talk&spoon and DS dined as guests of Bar Chinois, with thanks to Katya at Ginsberg Creative.