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Monday, August 07, 2017

Paper Bird, Potts Point

Shrimp brined fried chicken with pickled daikon at Paper Bird in Potts Point

They're back. And the shrimp-brined fried chicken is on the menu. If you lamented the day that Moon Park closed, you need to scoot yourself to Potts Point where version 2.0, Paper Bird, has opened on the old Bourke Street Bakery site.

Where Moon Park was all about modern Korean, chefs Ben Sears and Eun Hee An have spread their (paper) wings and expanded the menu to include influences from China, Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong. We're talking everything from congee to kimchi toasties to char siu bacon and Hong Kong French toast.

Scrambled eggs and char siu bacon on sourdough at Paper Bird in Potts Point
Scrambled eggs and char siu bacon on sourdough $18

Weekdays follow separate breakfast and lunch menus but rock up on a weekend and revel in an all day brunch menu. Sure you could stick with a classic cafe breakfast of avocado on rye toast, toasted muesli with coyo or Bourke Street Bakery toasted bread or croissant with condiments but we venture straight for the scrambled eggs with char siu bacon. Say what?

Scrambled eggs with char siu bacon at Paper Bird in Potts Point
Velvety crambled eggs

Combining the sweetness of char siu marinade with streaky bacon feels both comforting and confusing. There's definitely no denial about the velvety perfection of the scrambled eggs though, a fluffy and soft eiderdown of buttery sunshine.

Kings' congee rice and milk porridge at Paper Bird in Potts Point
Kings' congee rice and milk porridge with crab, corn and donut chips $22

Kings' congee is a recipe that harks from Korean royalty, substituting the usual water with the luxury of milk. It tastes like a savoury creamy rice pudding, bewildering at first but increasingly addictive with each spoonful.

Rice and milk congee with fried bread at Paper Bird in Potts Point
Rice and milk congee with fried bread

Corn kernels and flakes of crab add pops of sweetness and there's a welcome crunch from the sesame seeds and fried bread sticks (donut chips). I'm banking on this dish being very divisive - you'll either love it or hate it.

Japanese cheesecake with preserved cumquats at Paper Bird in Potts Point
Japanese cheesecake with preserved cumquat $11

The Japanese cheesecake is definitely worth getting too. Eleven dollars might sound steep but this quivering slice combines a milky richness with ethereal lightness. It reminds me of the LeTAO cheesecake in Japan. Candied cumquats add a sophisticated citrusy sweetness.

We'd tried to order the fried chicken only to be told they were completely sold out by 12.30pm. My reaction? It's a Ralph Wiggum heartbreak moment. There was only one thing to do. I returned the next day. Sunday. At 10am.

Kimchi, jamon and Emmental toastie at Paper Bird in Potts Point
Kimchi, jamon and Emmental toastie $14

We kick off with the kimchi, jamon and Emmental toastie, another dish that had sold out the day before (along with the everything bagel with cream cheese and smoked trout).

Kimchi and cheese is everything. Sure I've been adding it to my ramen but why haven't I been pressing it between grilled bread too? Add the saltiness of jamon and you've got the perfect midnight snack. Or breakfast. I see this combo scoring a high rotation in my kitchen from now on.

Chilli and mushroom with fried egg on potato bread at Paper Bird in Potts Point
Chilli and mushroom with fried egg on potato bread $16

Vegetarians can revel in the spice bomb that is mushroom with fried egg on potato bread. King brown mushrooms have a chewy heartiness, strewn across a thick slab of potato bread. The chilli takes a while to kick in, but when it does, there's a satisfying gentle burn. Pierce the egg and let the runny yolk ooze over everything.

Shrimp brined fried chicken at Paper Bird in Potts Point
Shrimp brined fried chicken with soy and syrup $25 for 5 pieces

And finally. The shrimp brined fried chicken. It's as good as I remembered, a rubbly crunch of golden batter drizzled with a soy syrup that adds just enough sweetness without it feeling cloying.

The marinade of fermented shrimp paste is less noticeable than my last encounter. The chicken is juicy without feeling over-brined. Cubes of pickled daikon will reset your arteries in a flash.

Hong Kong french toast at Paper Bird in Potts Point
Hong Kong French toast $14

We finish with Hong Kong French toast, a much prettier version than what you'll find in most cha chaan teng, Hong Kong cafes where this dish is commonly served.

Peanut butter inside Hong Kong french toast at Paper Bird in Potts Point
Peanut butter inside the Hong Kong French toast

Paper Bird's version is less eggy than the traditional Hong Kong French toast rendition, replacing the melting pat of butter on top with fresh blueberries and a good snowstorm of cinnamon. You do score butter and maple syrup on the side although a little more of both is probably needed. There's a generous layer of peanut butter in the middle but I wish there was condensed milk too, and that the bread was a little eggier.

You won't find yuanyang Hong Kong coffee tea but you can bask in Single Origin coffee and everybody's favourite breakfast beverage, the Bloody Mary. The Bloody Mary packs a decent chilli hit, garnished with a pickled cucumber instead of a celery stick.

Breakfast at Paper Bird in Potts Point
Breakfast at Paper Bird

I'm guessing that new signage is in the works, but in the interim, don't be confused by the Bourke Street Bakery sign above the door.

Paper Bird commences dinner trade this Wednesday 9 August. Reservations are available for dinner. At all other times Paper Bird operates on a walk-in basis only.

Paper Bird by Moon Park in Potts Point


Paper Bird Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Paper Bird
46A Macleay Street, Potts Point, Sydney
(entrance on Crick Avenue)

Opening hours
Monday to Friday 7am - late
Saturday 8am - late
Sunday 8am - 3pm

Reservations only available for dinner Monday to Saturday from 5pm.


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posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 8/07/2017 02:28:00 am


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