It’s not easy to find an affordable, delicious, casual-yet-comfortable dinner joint in Sydney’s CBD. After food courts and hotel restaurants there’s… well, that’s kind of it (discounting the fast, regrettable options). Thankfully, Canton! Canton! strikes a deft balance between a bustling yum cha hall and the elegant atmosphere of a white-clothed Chinese restaurant.
Opposite the George Street cinemas, one floor above street level, this cloistered Cantonese diner gives few clues to its mid-city location. A brick wall painted with a Chinoiserie mural is your first glimpse of an interior embellished with Eastern influences. Lanterns light the space; dining booths boast pagoda-style details including latticework and hanging fabric veils; and a lucky golden cat ornament waves a greeting from the front counter.
Service is quick and calm and the food comes hot and fast. Choose a stack of steamed dumpling baskets – try the subtle, simple Crystal Prawn version – and indulge from the baked and deep fried menu. The house specialty is Signature Baked Bbq Pork Buns; rather than the traditional fluffy steamed version these are encased in a short, buttery pastry filled with aromatic pork from the roast meats station. There are three in a serve and they’re so tasty three will never be enough. Other highlights include tender honey-glazed Char Siew pork and moreish duck fried rice and there are generous banquet menus for groups of two or more.
There’s a concise list of mostly South Australian wines, as well as a range of beer and kombuchas. Plus, the selection of boutique teas is a welcome addition to the usual list of non-alcoholic drinks. For dessert, don’t miss the Chilled Fig Jelly – bite-sized treats served on a Chinese checkerboard – and sweet Cheese Tarts.
Atmosphere: A sophisticated yet relaxed retreat from bustling George Street
Best for: Laid-back dinner with friends or a quick bite
Standout dish: Signature Baked BBQ Pork Buns
Open: Seven days for lunch and dinner
Address: Shop GD04 at 580 George Street, Sydney
Phone number: (02) 8120 9888