Jane's Kitchen, Carlingford - Sydney

Jane's Kitchen on Urbanspoon It is a one shop lot, with entrance doors purposefully hidden from the main street with opaque cover ups on the doors. If not that I heard a bit good about this restaurant, I may have missed it for  the world.  Jane's Kitchen has been in business for so many years it has become a standard bearer of souhtern Chinese cuisine, specifically Guangzhou, in the north-western suburb of Carlingford, over 20 kilometres from the Sydney Harbour Bridge. It also lies in the epicentre of what can be considered to be a middle class area with many Asian demographics but particularly from Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia and China. Not far from Macquarie Unibersity's main campus in North Ryde, Jane's only has several dining tables, so it can feel like home for a diner, but at the same time, it can also have a crowded feel, particualrly on weekend nights.

On the Friday evening that my gathering of ten went to Jane's, it was full house by 730pm.  We asked the friendly lady on duty for her ethnic recommendations, especially those not on the English language menu. We could have looked at what was ordered on other tables but wanted the know the signature dishes from the restaurant itself. I was very pleased with the lady's recommendations of the following:
1. vermicelli in a hot pot, infused with flavours from tasty and wholesome prawns.
2. tofu wrapped with seafood and gently simmering in a light sauce.
3. duck pieces braised with yam slices, with the latter stewed to a tender bite.
4. lamb done Cantonese style, to live up to the Guangzhou tradition about sheep.

There was the usual welcome soup and platter of orange slices for dessert.  The dishes requested came fast but steady.  Some of us had Tsingtao beer, which went down well with the scallops, I reckoned. Dish servings were not large but sufficient enough to allow having a variety on the table. I was impressed with the light tone of the gravies, which brought a satisfaction to the palate without making the diners feel a need to quench their thirst two hours later. The kailan vegetables were specifically fresh and crunchy. We did not choose any dessert as we adjourned to a Korean styled coffee joint in nearby Eastwood after the dinner.

Would I return to Jane's?  A definite yes. Maybe the reason for the covered up entrances is to shut out the heavy traffic that can pass by along this section of Pennant Hills Road near the Carlingford Asian Village shopping centre. Vehicle parking has to be on the side roads. One has to book a table early.  I am eyeing having a goat dish the next time around, but apparently that has to be pre-ordered a day or two before. The taste of the food is comparable to bigger sized and well known Chinese restaurants in the city centre but the setting is suburban and more casual. Neighbouring tables were observed dabbling in the higher end of well priced seafood - the lobsters, the crabs and the like - but I do recommend trying the range available at Jane's - and not just stick to celebratory seafood.


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