Choys 1000 A.D./MH BBQ Restaurant – Haymarket, NSW
Since 1913, this address on Hay Street in Haymarket had been used as a produce merchant, importing and exporting goods to and from China and Hong Kong. The first leaseholder was a ‘Lee Sang & Co, and throughout the first half of the 20th century, all subsequent leaseholders were companies run by descendants of those involved in the Lee Sang & Co outfit. These companies provided fruit, vegetables and other fresh produce to the city produce markets across the street, now Paddy’s Markets. When the produce markets moved to Flemington in 1977, this address was taken over by Dominic Choy, an architect who had emigrated to Australia in 1962. He refitted the building and opened a restaurant, Choys 1000 A.D. in 1981.
At that time Choy already had other restaurants in Randwick and Gordon, and by 1989 he had six locations all around the city (you might say Sydney was spoiled for Choys), each with a distinct theme. The rustic theme of 1000 A.D. was ancient China, with large wooden tables and benches replacing the traditional restaurant setup. Choys 1000 A.D. seems to have closed sometime after 1996, and today only Choys Randwick remains of the Choy Chinese restaurant dynasty. Even its reputation appears to have declined in recent years, but it says a lot about the well-regarded 1000 A.D. that it took three businesses to replace it: MH BBQ Restaurant, the Hay Street Dental Care above that, and a massage parlour above that. You’d probably have a memorable date night taking them all on in a sort of Game of Death-style tower challenge. I’m not sure what became of the man himself, all I could find was this. For his sake, I really hope he isn’t that kind of architect.