*The ‘A’ stands for ‘Authenticity’… in the warm reception we received upon arrival.
The ‘authenticity’ is in the ‘Asian-style’ service which sadly was the poor management and the ‘warmth’ was the temperature rising within me as I was told we had to wait for the table which we had booked for at 7.30pm.
This was not a good sign.
My family was hungry and we had drove all the way from the North to try out out this place, especially my parents was looking forward to it since they saw their advertisements on ‘TVBJ’ ( an Asian Cable TV channel)
It was definitely authentic …..
Authentic because like many restaurants in Asia, patrons were literally ‘hovering’ over sitting patrons while they eat as you look down upon them like ‘Table hungry vultures’. This was very authentic indeed. For a few moments, I felt like I was transported to Beijing and was not in Beverly Hills, Sydney. ( I must have been hallucinating from hunger or completely fuming at this stage…)
We had discovered, arriving at 7.30pm on the dot meant nothing for our 7.30pm booking. What added to the ‘rising temperature’ boiling within me was not the fact that my family and I were made to wait and had to stand amongst the diners in a crowed restaurant …my Dad was at one point squashed next to some plastic pot plants near the entrance- which in hindsight was quite amusing as he looked like he was lost in some ‘plastic jungle’ – sadly didn’t get a photo…would have been funny ( Good that we still found this humorous… as it was really getting beyond a joke)
The ‘authentic’ decor – which included a plasma T.V hanging over the cash counter, was playing ‘Australian Idol’ …on mute (?!)It did managed to distract us temporarily from our rumbling stomach but about 8.00pm, I was getting pretty peeved off….both at why Kyle Sandilands was still on ‘Idol’ but more so at why our table was still not available!
What really added to my frustration was after waiting for more than half and hour and not given an apology as we got told we would get the ‘next available table’ - another family that was hovering nearby ‘OUR’ table – impolitely, very swiftly and totally un-apologetically *gasp!*sat down!
My jaw almost fell opened – as I was in disbelief in what just happened. While my family had stood for more than 40 minutes crammed up against the wall in this ‘very popular’ packed restaurant…. to witness another family stoop on OUR table! *double gasps!*
What was WORST – is that our waiter and the Manager who had seen the whole scenario take place – DID NOTHING about it! *What the?!* Barely apologising about the whole ‘table snatching’ we were even advised not to argue with the patrons Table Snatchers – and that they will get us our table within the next 5 minutes….. I was quite over it by then.
I was hungry and I really wanted some food. ( Darn it how the Peking Duck that was being skinned before us – looked so delectably glossy and moist…. and the food that was being carried out by the flustered waiters was enticing enough for me control my temper…. and stay. Oh how I wished I could have been strong enough….but alas the Peking duck had me in its traps…..I feel so ‘cheap’ *breathe in…..breathe out….* )
Thankfully, it was only another 5 minutes as promised that another table was made available. ( I could see the ‘hint’ for each table to leave was the ‘fruit’ they strategically place onto your table with the bill….this I might add is another practice that makes this place ‘so authentic’ ! )
My goodness… I just realised I have blogged and about 600 words into my review… and I have not mentioned about the food yet. ( Don’t worry… it is coming and thankfully was also their saving grace…)
So after all this drama – THANKFULLY the food was GOOD.
Upon seating… we get given our plate of complimentary peanuts. ( Temperature of annoyance is slowing cooling off….)
I ‘googled’ and managed to find a really cool blog ‘Babe In The City’ with a Fried Dace with Black Bean receipe – looks simple and delicious enough to try – http://babeinthecitykl.blogspot.com/2007/04/stir-fried-kailan-with-pork-and-fried.html
Next was my favourite dishes of the evening…. and since the arrival, I have somehow managed to completely forget about the 45 minute wait… and Kyle Sandilands on ‘Idol’….
Post eating up almost the entire plate of the ‘Mantou’s – the Fish in Chilli Oil comes next………..
This dish arrived at our table and everyone was ‘Wow!’ and I was thinking ‘ Thank God this did not just spill all over me as the waitress who was struggling to carrying to the table looked a bit shakey…’Burning oil laden with chilli and fish does not come out easily in the wash…or skin’ I thought briefly.
That aside – this dish was D-elicious and yes… again I will happily wait for 45 minutes for this. I kid you not. The fish was as tender and silky in texture – does not even taste ‘oily’ considering it was soaking in it ( you get a strainer ladle with the dish to ‘fish’ the fish out……..) The taste is both ‘numbing’ with the numbing peppercorns and the dried chilli just gives an incredible explosion in your mouth and palette…. fish is almost like ‘tofu’ but beautiful in the taste…. Amazing.
*Warning: – the intense aroma of the cloves, chillis and peppercorn will seep into your hair…clothes…everything! Wear something you don’t require dry cleaning if and when trying this dish! My favourite blazer I wore that night is still smelling like the restaurant……….*cry*
After our ‘star dish’ of the juiciest and most succulent Peking Duck wrapped in the warm flour pan cakes married with the sweet hoisin sauce and slithers of shallots and cucumber – we were all smiling from ear to ear. Considering the duck costs $58.00 – we were all stuffed and had plenty to share with no one really needing to ‘fight’ for their portion as each had about 4 – 5 pancakes each! Awesome!
This was followed with the ‘duck broth’ made from the duck bones from our Peking duck – funny how it came after the meal, but needless to say we had no room on our table – nor in our stomachs at this stage. I take a few spoonfuls anyways just to sample it – it was definitely flavoursome in duck… and the fresh coriander leaves breaks up the slight gamey duck taste. I think I preferred my ‘Hurn Pin’ green tea as a digestive before desert than the soup………
While everyone was rubbing their swelling bellies – I was determined to try their desert that Mum was raving on about. ( She has seen the ad and said one of their glutinous rice desert was a ‘must try’) The Hubby and Dad was pretty much packed to the brim – but didn’t need much convincing for them to eat it as it came to our table looking all ‘chubby’ with the dough all rolled up with red bean paste with a dusting of the ‘bean powder’ Everyone complimented that it wasn’t ‘anything special’ – but I enjoyed it as I love Asian desert with a bit of ‘chewy mochi’ texture… and given this wasn’t too sweet, it was a good way to finish the meal. Afterall, by the time we had finished our meal… the restaurant atmosphere was alot calmer… hence I guess was the reason we never got our plate of complimentary fruit with our bill…..
As we got our bill – my Mum also purchases a ‘duck bone/shell’ for $3.00 as it was advertised in Chinese on the walls. Mum was happy that she can also take some duck bones home to make ‘congee’ with for tomorrow’s night ‘lighter meal’ for dinner. On reporting this the following night – the duck bones was worth getting as there was still plenty of meat on the bones, perfect for flavour with the congee – and enough meat for a ‘pickled vegetable and roast duck’ vermicelli! My Mum is a genius! ( Will post up pictures of her creations soon!)
Verdict & hints:
Very poor management and service ( or lack of ) aside – go anyways and experience what it truly feels like to be dining at an ‘Authentic Chinese’ restaurant and taste some of the best duck you will find in Sydney. ( This is in my opinion of course… and my Dad’s who has worked in the Chinese restaurant industry for years and has a stubborn palate for good food.)
- If booking – book earlier and GO earlier. (We found out that a table reserved for 8.00pm – turned up at 7.00pm and they allowed him to take it….*grumble at lack of booking system*)
- Parking in side street as King Georges Road is pretty busy and could be packed most of the time.
- Bring cash. ( It’s authentic…)
- Be prepared to wait or hover…
The Peking Restaurant
493 King Georges Road Beverly Hills NSW
Phone: 02 9570 5131
Open Monday to Thursday 12:30-10:00
Saturday and Sunday 11:00-12:00; 10:30-10:30
BOOKING DOESN’T NECESSARILY COUNT….