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General Chao - CLOSED

You'll find six different house-made XO sauces and giant pork buns at this lower north shore eatery.
By Marissa Ciampi
February 22, 2019
By Marissa Ciampi
February 22, 2019

The lower north shore has nabbed a new dining destination thanks to General Chao — a 187-seat restaurant that has opened in the Chatswood Interchange. The hero of the venue is XO sauce — the restaurant offers up six house-made varieties of the stuff. In its classic form, the Hong Kong seafood sauce is made with dried scallop, shrimp, Jinhua ham, chilli, garlic and onion.

At the helm of the Chatswood restaurant is head chef Son Sewoo (The Sovereign Room), who is turning out a menu of pan-Asian favourites using fresh Aussie produce — expect Chinese, Thai, Singaporean and Japanese influences here. From the open kitchen, he's slinging Spencer Gulf prawns on toast with ginger, sesame and spicy XO ($14.5); biodynamic lamb in Xinjiang-style crispy wontons ($10.5); and free-range pork belly in a giant pork bun with chestnuts, mustard greens and smoked black vinegar ($13.5). That same pork belly is braised for 24-hours and served in master stock broth, priced at $42 for two.

The aforementioned XO sauce can be ordered to add an umami bite to any and all dishes, ranging from the classic to a dried shiitake vegetarian version ($7–8), along with a 'premium' option — it features Tasmanian abalone, black truffle and gold leaf ($30).

Award-winning bartender Michael Chiem (PS40) has even created an XO cocktail, made with Plantation XO rum, sherry and bitters. The entire drinks list has pan-Asian influences, too, like the Just a Dashi ($19), made with dashi-infused bourbon, fermented tea-infused vermouth, absinthe and bitters. There's also a large wine and Champagne cellar with a focus on Australia and New Zealand drops, and a saké menu for good measure.

Images: Anna Kucera and Cassandra Hannagan

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