Stepping into Bankstown Sports Club is like stepping into a mini Las Vegas. Think extravagant water features, expansive themed restaurants, numerous gaming areas and, of course, the notorious ‘casino scent’. Having been established 55 years ago, Bankstown Sports Club has evolved to be this kind of epic hidden gem in Sydney’s west. It’s even got its own movie theatre tucked away somewhere (although I didn’t manage to stumble across it myself!).
I loved the Vegas nostalgia of it all. To be honest, I didn’t actually realise somewhere like this existed in Sydney. While I only moved here last year, I feel like the club would still be an unsuspecting and exciting find for all Sydneysiders, no matter long they’ve lived in the city. It’s definitely got a wow-factor to it.
Having been invited in to try out the menu at one of their restaurants, I was super eager to try out the offerings. Once I stepped inside and realised how decadent the club was, I was even more excited. No surprises, Bankstown Sports Club put just as much thought and effort into their food as they do their fit out.
Canton Kitchen is located towards the back of the club, past the gigantic Italian-themed restaurant with cobblestone floors and a classic Italian streetscape. Its fit out is grand and magical. Rows of Chinese lanterns drape from the ceiling and give the space a distinct red glow. Central to the restaurant is a bar, showcasing a traditional Xie Shan roof that makes for a great photo backdrop. And — as you may have guessed already — the restaurant serves a delectable fusion of traditional and modern Asian fare.
Given the indulgent nature of all things thus far, I had one look at the menu and decided to make myself a hefty order. It was a lot. Entrees consisted of Pork and Prawn Wontons, Vegetarian Spring Rolls and an eight-piece Steamed Dim Sum Platter for two.
Out of the three, the wontons truly stole my heart. In all honesty, I couldn’t stop raving about them for the next couple of days (to basically anyone who’d listen). Drenched in a sweet and spicy chilli sauce, they had a great saltiness with the soy coming through and a sweetness thanks to some subtle honey notes. The flavour balance was immaculate. The wontons themselves were made of a wonderfully lightweight and thin dough, with the pork and prawn meat being super soft and tender also. Again, it was an excellent balance of exterior to interior filling.
For mains, I ordered the Crispy and Boneless Lemon Yuzu Chicken, Crispy Master Stock Pork Belly and their signature Fried Rice to pair with. I couldn’t pick a favourite out of these — and yes, that’s including a dish as simple as the fried rice. Despite being able to get fried rice at just about any stock standard Chinese restaurant, Canton’s was seriously divine. It wasn’t too dry, wasn’t too moist, and had the perfect rice, to veggies, to meat, to egg ratio. Balanced flavours seems to be the perpetual theme here.
The pork belly dish was so fantastic, that it inspired my partner and I to try and recreate a similar dish at home using the same combination of ingredients. Seamlessly fusing pork with chilli caramel, mint and tangy apple, there was something so more-ish about this marriage of flavours. Perhaps it was the heavy meatiness of the pork with the crisp and refreshing nature of the apple and mint. Whatever was going on, I was a huge fan.
The yuzu chicken dish awakened our umami senses. It was crunchy and texturally satisfying, with a lemon yuzu sauce that gave a burst of citrus delight. I thought the dried orange pieces on top was a lovely touch, too. So much happening in all of these dishes!
All in all, I’d love to make my return very soon. It would have made a great Lunar New Year spot but given that the time is past, I’ll probably just return with the intention of trying as many new dishes as possible. Thanks Canton and Bankstown Sports Club for a great experience, you’ll be seeing me again very soon.