Simon’s Peking Duck
Mr C.K is a long time friend, colleague and fellow diner. As a keen photographer, he has offered on many occasions to be my food photographer (with his far superior equipment), to which I have begun obliging more frequently. In conjunction with his recently set up photography blog, he also offered to guest post on my wall – finally…
So back to the point of this post, Mr CK had been bugging me to go dine at Simon’s, although without much avail with booking. Anyways, so last week on a weekday he went without moi!!! As if have a duck fest without me – how appalling! Actually to be fair he did try to call me, about an hour or two before going, but I was working… sigh sigh sigh! Anyways here’s CK’s first guest post. Hopefully there will be more to come, to spruce up this space.
197b Middleborough Rd
Box Hill South
03 9898 5944
After the review on The Age, Simon’s Peking Duck Chinese Restaurant quickly became the place to go for Peking ducks in Melbourne. Simon Lay, ex-chef of Old Kingdom opened his own specialty Peking duck restaurant back in Oct 2010 in suburban Boxhill. There are 2 sittings per night – 6pm and 8pm. I would HIGHLY recommend booking for a spot at least 24 hours ahead to avoid disappointment (as I experienced trying to book for dinner during lunchtime of the same day).
Located on a Middleborough Road shopping strip, I wouldn’t call the exterior or interior décor as classy, but reminds me of 1990s yum-cha cafés of Hong Kong with its pink coloured walls and tightly spaced paper-lined tables. A word of warning: the restaurant doesn’t accept EFTPOS or credit cards.
On arrival, you are quickly presented with a gold covered menu, which we completely ignored since what else would you eat at a Peking duck restaurant apart from Peking duck? A whole duck served as 3 different causes will set you back $55-63 depending if you want the stir fried bean shoot with duck meat ($55) or duck meat stir fried with noodle ($63). A duck can feed 2-3 people.
Filleting the duck with skill and efficiency.
Almost there time to eat!~
Part of the fun and enjoyment of dining at Simon’s is actually Simon himself. He came to our tableside to prepare the duck mentioning that he saw me with a camera. He also makes jokes regarding various things and also teaches you the “exact science” of filling, saucing, folding and eating of Peking duck.
Applied sauce… =P
Finished product, ready to eat!
First is the duck with pancake, spring onion and cucumber (Peking duck). The skin of the duck was golden brown and very crispy. The meat was moist and held sufficient flavours. Ms AL suggested that it is likely that they deep fried the surface of the duck or at least used hot oil to scald the exterior to produce such a beautifully brittle texture – which is one of the traditional ways of crisping up the duck skin. What was lacking in the duck was a smoky element. Traditionally, flavoured wood (like cherry wood) is used to smoke and infuse the surface of the skin while the duck is roasting in the wood fired oven (maybe they didn’t use a wood fired oven at all?). Overall, the Peking duck was well balanced and above average standards.
Then we moved on to the duck meat noodle. Remember to choose the hand-made noodle as we were told that it is easily the best choice out of the 4 (other being rice/egg/ noodle or hor fun). Unlike places that serve extremely small amounts of duck meat with their second course of a duck feast, the noodle was generously loaded with succulent duck meat freshly carved from the naked duck. The flavour was nice but it might feel a bit rich/oily for some.
The last course is a duck soup. This can be hit and miss depending on your likings. I like strong herb/spice flavours so I quite liked the soup. However, Ms AL and AY both thought the strong spice overpowered the duck itself who should be providing the richness of the soup – as they have a surplus supply of duck bone to prepare the soup with.
Rating (AAR scale): Yummy – In conclusion, the duck was of good standard and the price was also attractive ($21 a person if sharing between 3 – we all left feeling full), good bang for bucks. The dining environment could be improved and also they need to start accepting non-cash payment methods or big gatherings could become an issue.