Sunday, December 23, 2018

Parrot House Restaurant, Kensington by Foghorn Leghorn

Melbourne has some good restaurants in un-welcoming locations. The best-known example is Victoria Street, Richmond, which has some good Chinese restaurants, but local businesses complain that customers stay away because of the ever-present junkies and drug dealers.

The Kensington/Flemington area is similar, with locals renowned for their strange attitude towards outsiders. Sometimes they board trams passing through the area and snatch phones from the passengers’ hands. Other times they just throw rocks at the trams.

Parrot House Restaurant, Kensington, eight treasure duck
Eight treasure duck

Nevertheless, the Kensington/Flemington area has some good food. A friend of mine raves about the laksa in one restaurant, which is so good that the recipe has apparently been copied by other restaurants around town. The Eat and Be Merry Crew have tried out a few places, such as the 1565 ice-cream parlour.

Recently I discovered Parrot House Restaurant, a Cantonese restaurant on Racecourse Road. I went there once with Mrs Shiraz for a scouting expedition, and the second time we were joined for a proper meal by our friends from the Footscray side of the river, Knuckles and Shazza.

Parrot House Restaurant, Kensington, BYO wine
The first bit of good news about the Parrot House is that it only charges $3.50 per glass for BYO, and for that you get proper wine-glasses. So we all brought along our best bottles, happy in the knowledge that we wouldn’t have to eat on an empty stomach.

We ordered four dishes accompanied by steamed rice: Luohan vegetables (also known as Buddha’s delight); long beans with minced pork and dried fish; spicy salt spare ribs; and eight-treasure duck.

Parrot House Restaurant, Kensington, long beans
The long beans were the most popular dish. They had just the right amount of chilli for a bit of zing, in fact a surprising amount of chilli for a Cantonese restaurant.

When we were ordering, Shazza had some reservations about the eight-treasure duck (see first pic), because the eight treasures can include offal such as pork liver. The rest of us are offal fans, including Knuckles, who has fond memories of traditional English offal dishes. However, the Parrot House version of eight treasures has lots of seafood instead, including generous serves of scallops and prawns. The duck was good too, a decent serve of juicy breast pieces.

Parrot House Restaurant, Kensington, spare ribs
The spare ribs were a crowd pleaser, as usual.

Parrot House Restaurant, Kensington, Luohan vegetables
The Luohan vegetables  were not as good as expected. On our scouting expedition we had tried the Luohan vegetables with duck and found a really good assortment of mushrooms. This time around, ordering the purely vegetarian version, we got fewer mushrooms and more snow-peas. Still good, but could have been better.

One point worth noting is that the food choices aren’t always set out clearly for English-speakers. The Luohan vegetables, for example, are not on the menu. They’re listed in Chinese among the specials on the wall as 罗 汉 上 齋 (Luohan shang zhai). The Luohan with duck is on the menu described as “stewed duck with vegetables and mushrooms”. The eight-treasure duck (八 珍 扒 鸭) is described as “stewed duck with combination”. The long beans are not on the menu but are listed on the wall in both English and Chinese. BTW, the menu in the restaurant is different to the menu you find online – that’s just the takeaway version, which has a limited range.

Parrot House Restaurant, Kensington


We really liked it
We really liked it.
Mid value
Mid value.


The Parrot House is worth a visit, and we’re pretty sure we’ll return. The standard of food is almost as good as what you’ll find at West Lake in Little Bourke Street, but at Parrot House you’ll pay less, especially if you like to imbibe. Our meal for four people came to $108 including corkage, which we rounded up to make it $30 per person. If you ever ate at Golden Harvest in Footscray (an old favourite for Knuckles and Shazza before it closed down) you’ll find the Parrot House almost as good, but not quite.

BTW, if you feel like a drink pre or post meal, nearby is the Quiet Man, an Irish pub serving pints of Guinness for $8. We ended up having a few there, sitting at the pleasant tables outside.

Find it at

Parrot House Restaurant
293 Racecourse Road
Kensington VIC 3031
(03) 9372 5250

Parrot House BBQ House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

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