Years and years ago, this correspondent lived in Sydney’s glorious inner-west – a world away from the maritime delights of the Back of the Ferry. As much as Manly and its surrounds holds immeasurable appeal, it will never come close to matching the variety, quality, value and authenticity of the multi-cultural restaurants that abound on the main drags of the various. Whilst not exclusive, Chinese restaurants dominant the Liverpool Road of Ashfield – and today I went to an absolute beauty. On the odd side of Liverpool Road, opposite the Crocodile Hotel is a string of Shanghai restaurants. All were packed and they all seemed to be employing the whole of animal approach with chicken feet and pork intestines featuring on the specials menu. I’m a sucker for chili and wasn’t a hundred percent sure about what would emerge from the kitchen when I ordered the “beef stew deep chili oil”. Back came a veritable bucket of beef, chili, whole garlic gloves, shallots and glass noodles swimming in a sea of chili oil. It looked overwhelming and left me a touch giddy after I fished out every last morsel of beef, onion and shallot. I’m not sure if there was sichaun pepper involved as well because my mouth was a little numb as well. It wasn’t explosive – just supremely good. 275 Liverpool Road is the address.
Nestled in amongst these Chinese restaurants, butchers and fishmongers is a bottlo that hasn’t changed since the 60’s or so it looks. The proprietor is an old European gent and whilst he sells long necks of Tsingtao – he had a couple of Polish oddities, including what I purchased to accompany my lunch. The Perla Chmielowa (which apparently means “hop” in Polish), was a great accompaniment to the beef stew. No beer was going to challenge the beef stew, but each swallow had a good hop hit. The 500ml bottle was welcome give the size of the dish with which I was confronted. A fine match.