Yan Restaurant - Wolli Creek, Sydney
Yan Restaurant is a hidden gem amongst the concrete jungle of apartments in Wolli Creek. I've never really ventured around this part of town, but the promise of delicious smoked meats has my vote for a low-key birthday dinner.
It's all about share dishes at Yan, perfect as we are a group of nine, so we order one of everything on the menu, with doubles and triples of the ones we find most appealing. The dishes are in no particular order, they just come out all at once: the great benefit of sharing dishes amongst the table.
The silverfish or probably more commonly known as whitebait, are fried and seasoned with white pepper, sea salt and shallots. It's quite similar to what you can get at your typical Chinese restaurant: they are like tiny crispy chips.
Our next entree is the salt and pepper squid; it's a standard starter and the squid itself is nice and tender, but it's nothing extraordinary.
The tofu on the other hand is quite simple but is refreshing and has a tasty sesame sauce.
The fiery mussels come drenched in a house made chilli sauce, and come with a side of baos which are great to mop up all that sauce with.
Pear and cucumber slaw
The sides of edamame and slaw provide some much needed greenery to our meat heavy meal. I especially love the nashi pear and cucumber combination, it's the perfect combination of sweet and refreshing and is a dish I would love to try and recreate at home.
The chicken thigh fillet has is very juicy and has a nice smoky charred flavour. I find there's a generous amount of meat for each dish.
The highlight of the night were the flavoursome and tender smoked lamb ribs. Even though half the table were not usually fans of lamb, including me, we all throughly enjoyed these cumin dry rub ribs served with a chimmichurri sauce; it was a favourite dish of the night.
The olive rice is an interesting dish: steamed rice infused with olives. I'm not sure how I feel about this dish to be honest as I'm not the biggest fan of olives as it is; I think I would have preferred some steamed rice to have with the mains instead.
The grilled wagyu is 200 grams of wagyu striploin with a marble score of 7+, which as you can imagine was quite fatty and just melted in the mouth. The lime and salsa on the side aid in cutting through the richness.
We were pretty stuffed after such a feast, but decide to order a couple of the two dessert options to share.
Fried birthday bao with condensed milk
The Yan team brought out this special surprise as they knew we were celebrating my birthday, which was such a lovely surprise! Deep fried bun and condensed milk are a match made in heaven.
Coconut three ways
The coconut three ways is hands down the favourite dessert between the two - can never go past anything coconut flavoured for dessert! The dessert is served in a young coconut shell and has a layer of jelly, coconut ice cream, sprinkled with toasted coconut. If you enough muscle power, you can also scoop out the young coconut flesh for an additional treat.
The pavlova has shards of airy meringue served with a pandan and ginger jelly and lychee ice cream. The desserts are light, which is perfect given all the food we had just eaten.