Food adventure @ Old Kingdom
On the night before 23-dom struck, I met up with thehouseofem to eat away my woes over adding another year to my age. Dinner had to be something seriously delicious. Say peking duck delicious. And because it was my pre-23 day, we decided to take things a notch further and go to one of Melbourne’s more renown peking duck establishments, Old Kingdom.
The earliest time we were able to secure a last minute reservation was for 8pm. It was a good thing that we didn’t get any earlier because traffic from South Melbourne to Fitzroy was a nightmare. It took us almost an hour!
We ordered some jasmine tea to help us prepare for and work our way through the duck.
Not too long after placing our order, one of the waiters arrived at our table with a whole duck and a butcher knife. He didn’t look like he would be able to handle the knife, let alone expertly carve up the duck, but we were in for a shocker! His hands were quick and nimble and in no time we had a plate full of duck skin and meat. He had very impressive knife skills!
Mmmmmm peking duck… This whole plate to share between two people!?!?! It’s a good thing we ordered the tea!
The pancakes were quite big and super thin. To such an extent that I’m sure that if I had pressed my eye right up against the “crepe”, I would have been able to see right through it. I didn’t do it. I personally prefer the pancake to be smaller and slightly thicker because it makes it easier to assemble. No biggie through, it just meant there was more pancake to work with.
One small portion of duck, one big portion of pancake.
The duck skin was very crisp and dry-ish. There was minimal to no fat underneath the skin and so I felt less guilty indulging in peking duck. As I mentioned earlier, there was plenty of duck to go around with only two of us. By the end of it, it started to make sense why the usual banquet menus recommend only one or two peking duck wraps per person.
Crispy bean curd - bean curd stuffed with minced prawn deep fried in crispy batter, then served with an oyster based sauce prepared with chicken and Szechuan pickled vegetables.
The taste of this crispy bean curd dish reminded me of the fried prawn and bean curd dish from yumcha. As per usual, the prawn complimented the tofu. The sauce was a sweet sort of tasty. As full as I was, I’m glad we had ordered some rice because it went perfectly with the prawn and bean curd. Interestingly the more I ate, the more the bean curd exterior started to taste like a Chinese donut.
Stuffed scallop shell - scallop shell stuffed with crab, scallop, chicken and vegetables, with a mild curry flavouring, deep fried then served.
The scallop dish was interesting. Unlike what it said on the menu, the curry taste was actually quite potent and continued to linger for quite some time before fading out into a seafood scallop taste. I don’t think the strong curry and seafood combination was a great one!
We had ordered the prawns plus scallop dish without realising there was a noodle and soup dish included with the duck order. There was no mention of it in the menu and we were very surprised when the dishes arrived at our table.
Thehouseofem: “DAMMIT! They DO do the soup and noodle thing!!”
I have NEVER heard thehouseofem complain about too much food before! We decided to think of the soup and noodle dishes as “bonus dishes” so that we wouldn’t wind up feeling as guilty when, not if, we didn’t finish the food.
The soup had a fantastic rich, flavoursome and umami taste, with no detectable traces of MSG. Despite feeling quite full at this point, I couldn’t help but polish off two bowls.
The noodles were also quite tasty and not too oily. I was able to only fit in a little bit. We thought that with the focus on the pancakes, the soup and the noodles would have paled in comparison. This was not the case at all and it was a shame that we didn’t have any room left in our duck pancake/tofu/scallop-filled tummies to fit it all in.
Our expectations prior to eating at Old Kingdom were quite high and left much room for disappointment. This was most definitely not the case with the duck here being one of the best I’ve had in Melbourne to date. Almost outdoing the extent of deliciousness was the IMPECCABLE service. The waiters were all very attentive and prompt. When we ordered some rice, rather than plonking down some bowls and the rice container, it was served to us at our table. Thehouseofem ordered a can of coke and again it was poured into a glass for her at our table. Great service AND great food? This restaurant is definitely one that will be revisited.
197 Smith St,
Fitzroy, Victoria, 3065
(03) 9417 2438