Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Get on the Express Lunch to China Republic

For me, and I suspect a lot of other rat racers out there, lunch is the highlight of my day. After my morning coffee and the news, my thoughts turn to lunch as a way to get through the morning.

World Square's China Republic has introduced Express Lunch sets for those who don't have the time or luxury for the full banquet menu at lunch, but still want something a bit more special than a desk or food court lunch.

Peking duck set - Express Lunch at China Republic, World Square, George Street, Sydney
Ranging from $25 to $35, the Express Lunch sets are multi-component meals - almost like a Chinese version of a bento box - with appetisers, a main and even a small dessert.

Peking duck kitchen
While there's certainly a time and occasion for the private dining banquet lunch in the beautiful upstairs space, we were Express Lunch-ing in the bar area seats with views of the dedicated Peking duck kitchen lined with bamboo steamer baskets, all used for pancakes for the Peking duck.

Beijing-style spicy and sour cucumber, spicy beef spring roll and vegetarian spring roll 
Each of the Express Lunch sets starts with a quartet of of appetisers, including the fantastically refreshing, lightly pickled cucumber slices, all crunchy in their thick sliced, slightly wrinkled state.

The sets each have two golden, crisp spring rolls included, with a cabbage-based vegetarian one for the herbivores. The others all feature the thin, elongated signature spicy beef spring roll which takes on a Sichuan perspective on spiciness. It's real spicy, but makes for a unique spring roll experience that sticks in the mind.

Eggplant and coriander salad with garlic dressing and spring rolls
The Peking duck spring roll is also an eye-opener, with plenty of shredded duck meat that tastes like it's come freshly out from the Peking duck oven.

The fourth appetiser is the saucy and garlicky eggplant and coriander salad, served cold in a creamy, pungent sesame dressing. I adore this dish and the dressing which goes well with steamed rice, though watch out for the subsequent garlic breath if you need to talk to clients after lunch.

Crispy sweet and sour prawns
The $30 Express Lunch set offers diners two choices for the main: wok-fried wagyu beef with fried garlic and black pepper or crispy sweet and sour prawns, both served with steamed white rice.

The latter comprises large, tail-on prawns in a seriously crisp batter, even beneath the sticky sweet and sour sauce. The not-too-thick batter hugs some great crustacean specimens that bounce and revel in the sauce that has a honey-like consistency, with a classic garnish of capsicum and shallot.

Peking duck condiments
The most extravagant of the Express Lunch sets has to be the $35 one featuring Peking duck as the main course.

The condiments arrive first with the traditional cucumber, juliennes of the white part of shallots and sweet bean sauce also accompanied on a tray by white sugar (for dipping duck skin into), minced garlic, raw Spanish onion, a pickled mustard vegetable and mild mustard sauce.

Peking duck with Mandarin pancakes
And then comes the star of the show: a steamed basket of five pancakes and a dish of roast Peking duck slices; meat, skin and all. I like that there's plenty of lean meat included in the course and not just skin, to wrap quite liberally within the thin, warmed pancakes.

While the 'new' combination with pickled vegetable and mustard sauce make for a nice change, there's no beating a duck pancake with cucumber, hoisin sauce and shallots. With five pancakes per serve in the Express Lunch set, it's quite a generous, filling and reasonably priced meal with a completely luxurious feel.

For a high end lunch experience away from the desk at decent price points and with the all-important speed of service, don't stop on your way to checking out Express Lunch at China Republic.

Food, Booze & Shoes dined at China Republic as a guest, with thanks to The PR Partnership.

China Republic on Urbanspoon


Annie said...

this is a good deal. really wanted to try the peking duck but was so expensive when i was there a while ago. will definitely return to try out the express lunch

Tina said...

Hi Annie - Yeah, this is a great deal for Peking duck. They're also doing half birds at dinner now too.

Helen (Grab Your Fork) said...

Yep lunch is definitely the highlight of my work day! lol. I like the idea of having Peking duck for lunch though!

Tina said...

Hi Helen - Isn't it a great proposition for a work lunch? Maybe they could work in crab into that lunch menu... :)


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