Crows Nest is abuzz with activity from its many cafes, restaurants and bars lining the streets. I absolutely love Crows Nest with its abundance of cuisines available – you could literally go to a different restaurant every night for a month and still have more restaurants to try out!
On this occasion I was dining at Bistro Hulu – a restaurant that serves dumplings, noodles and hot pots on Willoughby Road, with two other friends. We had just been climbing in nearby St Leonards and wanted to reward ourselves with a tantalising meal which wasn’t too heavy on our stomachs and cheap on our pockets. We were not to be disappointed.
Bistro Hulu describes itself as redefining Asian cookery whilst utilising precious seasonal ingredients and this is exactly what this restaurant does.
Arriving at around 9pm on Thursday night, Bistro Hulu was still alive with activity and we managed to find a table outside on street level. There are also plenty of tables inside to choose from instead and this restaurant is dog-friendly as I noticed two dogs on the table behind us. It is also BYO so you can bring your own wine making this affordable meal even more affordable.
On this occasion I just stuck to tap water, but you can order a range of fresh juices, tea and soft drinks if you prefer.
As there were three of us we decided to share various dishes between us and chose two appetisers; a Lebanese Cucumber, Garlic, Chilli Rice Vinaigrette as well as a Silky Taro, Creamy Sesame Soy Sauce with Black Fungus. We also ordered some Pan Fried Pork & Chive Dumplings (6 pieces) and the Canton Steamed Combination (8 pieces) which included 2 BBQ Pork Buns, 2 Prawn Dumplings, 2 Pork Dumplings and 2 Vegetarian Dumplings.
If you want something more substantial than just dumplings then there is a variety of soups as well as main dishes such as seafood and meat dishes and rice and noodles to choose from.
The kitchen closed at 9.30pm so we managed to order our food in time before it shut. Our meals didn’t take too long to come out and the service from our waitering staff was polite and friendly. Our two entrees came out first and both were delicious. The cucumber and chilli salad was quite spicy though from the red chillies on the plate, but the vinaigrette was flavoursome and balanced the dish perfectly.
The taro dish came next and was quite small in size – it was an entrée after all, but it was super tasty. The creamy sauce was absolutely addictive and we were all fighting over the last bites of this dish. I would highly recommend this dish to share or have all to yourself!
It wasn’t long until we were greeted with the pork dumplings and the combination dumplings. Both dishes came out hot and we also had some separate dipping sauce – soy sauce and a hot chilli sauce. The pork and chive dumplings were really tasty and made with just enough meat to dumpling ratio. They were not too oily either which can sometimes be a problem.
We shared the Combination Plate and I had the BBQ Pork Buns which were filled with a delicious oozing mixture of sweet BBQ Pork mixture, which my friends found too sweet for their liking. I also had the pork sui mai dumplings – one of my favourite type of dumplings and my favourite dumpling at this restaurant.
When the bill came we were pleasantly surprised and paid just $15 each – a real bargain! Overall a fantastic meal at Bistro Hulu with quick and attentive service. A fab restaurant for those looking for a casual and cheap meal, but with good tasty food. I will definitely be returning!