In my not-so-humble opinion, when it comes to cooking duck, the Chinese are the ones that do it the best. While the French do a mean confit and the Europeans have various versions of roast duck served with some sort of fruit (sour cherry compote or duck a l'orange, for example), nothing beats the crimson hued, guaranteed crispy skin and that juicy, deeply flavoured meat of a Chinese-style roasted duck.
Indeed, in my family, Chinese roast duck is something we all agree on - and we never turn down a chance to eat it - be it takeaway or at the restaurant. While our favourite place for Peking duck is at QuanJude (see my review in Feb 2012) which is great value for money (for a fine dining roast duck experience), it's not that easy on the hip pocket for an everyday meal.
Mother Hen and Mr Strong being shoppers of Box Hill had found a place that does a great value roast duck on rice. I think the name of the place says it all: Roast Duck Inn. One weekend, the Lawyer and I joined them for lunch there.
We got there early, just a bit before 12pm. Already, the place was about half full. Like most Asian eateries of this ilk, the place is a little squishy, a little chaotic and it has pieces of paper with the speciality dishes written in Chinese stuck up on the walls. As we decided what to order, we were served complementary soup.
Naturally, we had to get roast duck on rice. A big mound of fluffy rice and quite a reasonable amount of duck. Pleasingly, I got lots of meaty pieces and not too many boney pieces. The duck was tasty, wasn't too fatty or lean, and the skin was nice and crispy. A few strands of al dente choi sum on the side.
Mother Hen quite likes roast pork, and so she got that with rice. The crackling was lovely and properly crunchy, while the pork was tender and had a nice meat-to-fat ratio. While it was tasty, I still prefer the duck.
Mr Strong was the only one who didn't go for a roast meat dish. Instead, he got one of the beef and tomato stir fry on rice. He had ordered this before and really liked it. I didn't get to try this, but Mr Strong said he liked the generous amount of tender beef and the syrupy, fresh tomatoey gravy.
Food – 7.5
Ambiance – 7
Service – 7
Price – 8
I quite liked our visit to RDI. I'd go back there again the next time I'm in the neighbourhood. Service was quick. While they aren't overt about it, you get the vibe that this isn't the place to go if you want to linger over your meal.
Roast Duck Inn
29-31 Carrington Rd
Box Hill 3128
Telephone: 9897 3788