Sichuan cuisine is recognised for its strength of flavour and its spiciness. In countries around the world, Sichuan-type food draws interest from eaters searching for a savoury experience. Spicy Joint (辛香汇) is a popular restaurant chain originating from China. It has now established itself at the heart of Chinatown, in Sydney’s Haymarket. Meet the restaurant serving a smorgasbord of small and big dishes in a traditional Chinese setting.
The destination for Sichuan food in Sydney
Walk to the middle of Chinatown in Sydney and stop at 25-29 Dixon St, Haymarket. From looking at its escalator entrance, nothing hints at the size of the Chinese restaurant inside. Upon walking in, you’ll feel amazed. Spicy Joint is one-level of expansive flooring, high-ceilings and ornate interior architecture. It feels spacious, yet busy. It’s refined, yet unpretentious. The theme conjures what traditional Chinese tea houses would have looked like in earlier dynasties.
When ordering, it’s a good idea to take your time. The glossy menu showcases Sichuan cuisine as well as other flavourful dishes one might find while travelling in China. Much like the restaurant interior, the menu pictures are beautiful, and are undoubtedly helpful to someone unfamiliar with Chinese food. The prices are very reasonable, which is unexpected given the size and elegance of the setting. You can expect to feel quite satisfied with less than $20. A possible degustation strategy for larger groups? Order many small dishes and only a few big ones so that you can appreciate the breadth of flavours on offer.
A flavour-filled experience for groups
Spicy Joint is perfect for small to big groups. Chinese culture emphasises community spirit, and the tables are designed for friends and family to chat whilst eating. The bustle of fragrant dishes served among the humdrum of chatter creates an exciting atmosphere to dine in. There is a even private room that wows with its elegant design. Looking for a restaurant for corporate occasions? You’ve found one.
Our recommendations? The Fish Fillet in Hot Chilli Oil is a signature. Scalding hot oil is poured over Basa fish fillets to bring out a flavourful and tender bite. The Cold Chicken with Chilli Sauce and Peanut Dressing is a dish present on almost every table. The sauce leaves your imagination wondering: how on earth did the kitchen make this so indulgent? Our tip: grab your chopsticks and plunge the chicken so it gathers more sauce, before you put it in your mouth. The Deep Fried Chicken with Dry Chilli Pepper. This is a crowd-pleaser, and your table will love you for ordering it. The little morsels of crunchy chicken, covered by a mountain of chilli flakes, are the perfect snack for longer dinner chats.
Spicy Joint’s menu is carefully curated in a polished theme similar to the restaurant’s interior. It’s an elegant Chinese restaurant in central Sydney. The small-plate selection exhibits the culinary variety of Chinese cuisine. From Dan Dan Noodles that cost $3.90 a bowl, to Deep Fried Steam Buns which remind you of childhood, there is an option for everyone at your table. Pro tip: dip your fried bun into the accompanying condensed milk, it tastes heavenly. As entrees, the Cucumber with Spicy Garlic Dressing or Black Fungus with Chilli Sour Sauce are great appetisers.
Not just another Chinese restaurant in central Sydney
The distinction of Spicy Joint is the elegance of its environment, the authenticity of its menu, and the proven quality of its brand name. There is a reason why the franchise is so popular in China. Spicy Joint’s food is reasonable in price, wide in variety, and premium in experience. It’s a great restaurant for groups, as the expansive lay-out creates an environment buzzing with energy. You can’t help but glance at other tables to see what they’ve ordered. Oh, and they’ve also got a branch in Chatswood, in The Interchange.