A new restaurant featuring food from the Chinese province of Yunnan opens between an Irish Pub and a Malaysian eatery. Gotta love Sydney's diversity.
There's an M C Escher like quality to the fit out of Two Sticks, a repetitive pattern that makes the cramped together dining space feel a little groovier. The tables are quite close together so if you want a quiet chat or wave your hands about in excited conversation then it's probably not the place. On the other hand if you think you are being bugged in some Bourne Identity world and want somewhere to talk where it is noisy then this is the perfect place.
The main dish here is No 1 on the menu, a classic Yunnan soup also known as across or crossing the bridge noodles. A bowl of piping hot soup is delivered to your table with the insides of the soup on small plates, ready to go in as needed. The waiter puts pork and quail egg in to allow it all to cook, then you add in tofu strands, green veg and lastly the noodles as you desire. Pickles can either get munched on or added in to your own taste.
You can also find this soup at Spring River on Thomas Street in Haymarket, served with a few extra ingredients.
The pot is tall and holds everything together in the heat. The height also makes it more difficult to grab out the last little bits of noodle when you get to the end, making it a fun little eating challenge.
Crinkle cut chips make a surprise menu item. The fresh coriander and chilli flavours work superbly together with the crisp cooked chips.
There are a number of small cold dishes available, a great way for an additional taste while you are waiting for the soups to come out. Spicy Pork Tripe makes a good picking dish before the mains, $4.20.
Fixins that came with the cold noodles. We didn't get this another time we ordered cold noodles, maybe it's not offered anymore.
Dai Flavour Minced Pork Noodle Salad, $5.80. There's something addictive about these chilled noodle dishes, the heat of the chilli is tempered by the cool threads.
Side dish of shredded tofu skin, the same as goes into the soup, $3.80. Having a few little cold side dishes extends out the meal and throws in a veggie boost at the same time. They're inexpensive so you can add on a couple to your meal and it won't break the bank.
Dai chicken noodles $5.80, a cold noodle dish with shredded chicken, peanuts, shredded carrot and a Szechuan pepper laced sauce underneath, just enough to give you a bit of a tingle.
Dai style enoki salad (spicy) $3.80. The spice here is a hot red chilli, almost Thai style, rather than a warmer roasted chilli flavour.
Two-flavour White Cut Chicken, $4.80. A light poached chicken dish with a swirl of oil and some spicy sauce. There's not a huge lot of chicken, but it's only meant to be a small taste.
Besides the classic noodle soup, there are a range of mini pot noodle soups that are a good bet. They come in copper art inspired pot that keeps the noodles, meat and chilli soup contained. This one has small cuts of chicken on the bone in a spicy broth, $9.80.
Same hot pot, this time with stewed pork. The soup has a good kick to it, and look out for the wonderful soft whole cloves of garlic.
If you've ever tried BBQ flavoured crisps and found them disappointing, here's the next greatest thing. Small slices of super crunchy beef jerky eaten with whole crisp fried chillies, $4.80. Pop both in your mouth at once and let all the smoky meaty flavours mix together.
Paoluda, a sago and coconut soup with little discs of bread and a smidge of ice cream, a perfect cool down after the chilli hit.
There's often a small wait for a table, but it doesn't last long. Write your name down on a list and wait out front. This place can't really accommodate large groups, its better for twos and threes.
Two Sticks is at 694 George St, Sydney. firstname.lastname@example.org