Review: Chi by Lotus: Ghost Street Comes To Barangaroo With This Street Food Inspired Sichuan Restaurant

Drink, Eat, Sydney / 5 February 2021

With an enviable waterfront location and a mouth-wateringly good menu, Chi by Lotus is set to take Sydney by storm.

As you approach Chi by Lotus you’re greeted by a veritable army of golden Maneki Nejo cats beckoning you to come inside. A sun-soaked restaurant located along the bustling Barangaroo shorefront, Chi (the newest offering from the Lotus Dining Group) is providing carefully curated casual fine-dining that mixes native ingredients with spicy Sichuan flavours. 

Chef Chris Cheng is heading up the restaurant with a mix of quick and easy snacks, succulent skewers, the famous Lotus dumplings, and delicately balanced main dishes. The menu is inspired by Beijing’s famous Ghost Street, a night market known for churning out satisfying street food at all hours of the night. An ode to Ghost Street, the Luchetti Krelle interior features warm golden hues and a ceiling blanketed in red and white lanterns.

Casual and welcoming, you’re welcome to drop in for a quick snack or settle in for a decadent feast. They have a great range of small plates that all ring in for less than $20. We tried the crispy Chi focaccia served with Asian spiced olive oil and the moreish and refreshing vegetable san choy bao with crispy Chinese dough.

The iconic steamed half shell scallops with garlic chili and native sea blite are juicy and undeniably Instagrammable. However, in our books, the clear winner is the deep-fried native saltbush with spicy mayo. The native saltbush in the light tempura batter is flavourful and unlike anything you’ve tasted before.

Image: Alana Dimou

We then moved onto skewers, the ultimate street food if you ask us! Perfectly cooked over a flame grill you can expect mouth-wateringly good Wagyu beef with sweet soy sauce and crushed black pepper ($9), calamari with spicy BBQ sauce and sesame ($9), juicy pork belly ($8), and a great vegetarian skewer of Okra with fermented BBQ sauce ($8). 

The duck at Asian restaurants is always excellent but the duck breast with Davidson’s plum and caramel ($36) is downright sublime. Sweet and tender, if you ask us, the duck is the ultimate must-try dish at Chi.

The prime Barangaroo location and cocktail list make Chi the perfect spot for a sunset cocktail. They’ve got great spitzes, shaken cocktails, and an extensive wine list but the real drawcard here is the mini cocktails ($11). Served in small glasses this is the perfect way to get a taste of a range of different drinks from the Davidson plum negroni to the Ly-CHI martini.

Find Chi by Lotus on the ground level of International Tower One at Barangaroo. Chi by Lotus is open Tuesday to Sunday for lunch and Wednesday to Saturday for dinner (long lunches and walk-ins encouraged).