That’s what the previous chef of Old Kingdom, a Chinese restaurant on Smith St, used to say to the diners during their meals. He was one helluva eccentric dude and used to freak me out. But now he’s gone and Old Kingdom has a new chef. And the duck tastes better too. I mean, the first time I went there, I didn’t really like the duck. It smelt funny and when my sister took a bite of her Peking duck, all this oil and fat came oozing out and spilt all over her. Ew. But the second time we went there, there was a big improvement. I think it was our third time here – it wasn’t as good as our second visit but definitely far from the sub-average score that I gave them on my first visit. I don’t think I’ve done a proper review of this place so here goes…
So, my parents are friends with this couple who come down from Indonesia every now and then because their only son goes to school here. They’re obsessed with the duck banquet at Old Kingdom and while I think it’s good, it isn’t THE best duck in Melbourne (I stand firmly with Flower Drum‘s peking duck). Nevertheless, I can see why this place is always packed during dinner as it serves decent duck for the price you pay. In my opinion, Melbourne’s 2nd best duck.
So these friends-of-my-parents, they invited my family and my cousin Jess’ family to have dinner at Old Kingdom. They also invited Adam along but given that he’s been having early starts all week and given that he’s got another long day tomorrow, I think it was wise of him to give it a miss. Dinner was at 6pm and we had until 8pm to stuff ourselves before the next set of diners arrived. Fine with us. Except that in true Indonesian style, the friends-of-my-parents rocked up 45 minutes late citing “traffic” as an excuse. Poor form guys . It’s Friday night and it’s Melbourne. You can do better. If everyone else got here on time then I don’t see why you can’t. Anyway, even though our allocated eating time had dramatically decreased, we still managed to be out of there by 8:01pm. Let me tell you what we had. Firstly, the duck banquet. Most people come here just for the duck as everything else on the menu is just average. Because the duck banquet is so popular, you need to pre-order in advance (give 1-2 days). For $25 (I can’t remember if it’s $25 per head or $25 per duck), you get a banquet out of one whole duck.
1) Peking Duck. Our table ordered 4 ducks which was more than enough to feed the 11 of us. They give you a plate of pancakes and another plate with spring onions and cucumber. But they ration it so if you run out of pancakes or whatever, you need to pay for another plate which is a bit tight arsey of them but I suppose a cucumber does cost an arm and a leg these days .
This was an attempt at a macro shot. FAIL, Libby, FAIL. You probably can’t tell what it is but it’s two pieces of crispy duck and a cucumber on a pancake.
2) Duck Stir Fry. The bits of meat that are too stringy or too small to be used in peking duck are tossed up in a wok with bean shoots and other vegies to make a duck stir fry. It’s quite yummy without being too heavy.
3) Duck broth. And the duck bones are used to make duck broth which has tofu and spring onion in it. Sounds boring but this soup is actually rather pleasant. Similar to that herby soup that my mum makes using pork marrow.
Of course, too much duck can be a bit boring. So we ordered some other stuff too. Lemon chicken. Sweet and Sour Fish. Peppered beef. JUST BECAUSE WE CAN, OKAY? (And also because my brother is so effing gui lao. “We’re going all the way to Fitzroy for duck?!”)