Sunday, February 19, 2012

Quanjude Peking Duck, Melbourne CBD by Bureaucrat

For Christmas lunch, Mother Hen and Mr Strong took the Lawyer and I to Quanjude Peking Duck.

QPD is known for its peking ducks. Apparently it's a big chain of restaurants in Asia. I think this is the first restaurant in Melbourne. It's been here for about seven or so years.

Inside, it's decked out in a lot of gold and rosewood furniture - it's quite a big restaurant. When it first opened, the waitresses were dressed in cheung san (long dresses). Everything's a bit blingy in an old-school style.

Inside, it's a bit of a museum of Chinese culture. Lots of displays of vases, traditional dress and photos of famous people dining at various QPD restaurants around the world.

I've been here a few times, and each time it's kinda dead. There's not a lot of people eating there. We marvel at the fact that QPD is still open for business - how they can make a profit with so few patrons is a mystery.

Naturally, one must order the peking duck, which takes about 20 minutes for the chef to prepare. The breed of duck is different from the ones you usually get from a Chinese restaurant. Among other things, the most obvious difference is that these ducks are less fatty.

In the meantime, the waiters bring out individual serves of hoi sin (which is QPD's own recipe), spring onions and cucumbers slices. The cucumber has been salted to remove the wateriness of cucumbers.

When it's ready, the chef comes out and carves the duck at your table. Firstly, the paper-thin skin is served. So very crispy and morish!

Then comes the duck meat, which is served on a duck dish. Because the breed of the duck isn't fatty, you don't feel as bloated as you would normally would be. Also, it makes it a tiny bit healthier than the mainstream duck!

The pancakes are really good, as they're so thin you can see the plate underneath. Also, they don't stick to the other pancakes, which often happens when you go to a run-of-the-mill Chinese restaurant.

To go with the duck, we ordered fried rice. This had nice 'wok hei', and the rice was nicely al dente and separate grains. A simple dish but done very well.

We also got stir fried snow pea leaves with garlic. I love snow pea leaves. Like the fried rice, good 'wok hei' and another example where a simple dish is executed very well.

With the remainder of the duck, you can ask the chef to use up the meat and carcass in a variety of dishes, including soup, stir fried noodles, etc. However, we chose to take the carcass home (there's quite a lot meat left on it), which is another option.

Food - 9
Ambiance - 8.5
Service - 9
Price - 8

The food, ambiance and service at QPD is above average, but it's puzzling that it has so few patrons. I guess if you wanted a special meal without the crowd, then this would be the place to go.

Some reviews that I've read of QPD say that the service was poor. Each time I've been here, I thought the service was attentive and responsive. Because there's so few occupied tables, the manager always has time to talk us through the menu choices and help us decide what we want to order.

In the past, you used to get a rather morbid certificate for the duck you had just eaten. It'd be like "Congratulations - this was the 1,452,590 duck we have served in our restaurants!". As with most omnivores, I acknowledge that an animal has been slaughtered for my consumption, but I'd rather not be reminded of that fact. However, they've stopped issuing the certificates.

Quanjude Peking Duck
299 Queen St
Melbourne 3000
Telephone: 9670 0092

Quanjude Peking Duck on Urbanspoon


Anonymous said...

It sounds quite nice (though agree it is a good idea they stopped issuing the certificates - not quite Hitchhikers Guide...)

Iron man

Anonymous said...

In Philippines. Camera stopped working this afternoon :-( Fil

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