Kylie Kwong to close celebrated Potts Point restaurant Billy Kwong

Billy Kwong chef Kylie Kwong.
Billy Kwong chef Kylie Kwong. Photo: Peter Braig

Kylie Kwong has announced her celebrated Potts Point restaurant Billy Kwong will permanently close in the next three to five months.

The chef and restaurateur is set to open a small, casual eatery from as early as July.

"I turn 50 this year and in order to mark the milestone I wanted to take a different direction in my life," Kwong said.

"I want to spend more time collaborating with partners and mentors locally and around the world.

"A commercial kitchen will always be a part of my life, however. I'll always enjoy serving people."

Details of the new eatery are yet to be confirmed but the venture will focus on native, organic and local ingredients, Kwong said.

"We don't quite know what it will look like yet and we haven't found a site," she said. "What I do know is that it's still going to have the DNA of Billy Kwong."

Billy Kwong opened in Surry Hills in May 2000 serving contemporary Chinese food.

In 2013, Kwong began incorporating Australian bush ingredients into her cooking and in late 2014 the restaurant relocated to a larger site in Potts Point.

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With the new site came a collaborative focus, which included working with community gardens in the neighbourhood that supplied produce for the kitchen.

Closure of the influential restaurant is a major loss for Australia's hospitality sector but Kwong said the new direction would allow her to devote more time to social enterprises and other industry projects.

"The new eatery will still very much have a collaborative focus - in fact, that focus is only going to intensify," she said.

Kwong said closing Billy Kwong - where she still writes the menus every day by hand - will let her travel to events such as the Rene Redzepi-founded MAD symposium in Copenhagen "and have meaningful conversations about serious global issues".

"I can then bring those concepts and ideas back to Australia and localise them, whether it's the way we deliver them in our daily food or a topic we discuss at our MAD Mondays Sydney talks I curate."

Kwong is now looking for a new tenant to take over the Billy Kwong site on Macleay Street.

"I feel really grateful that I've had a successful 19 years with such a special place," she said.

"It has touched the lives of many people, and the staff and I are very proud of it."