Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Duck, Duck...... Duck! @ Old Kingdom, Collingwood

Last week I visited Old Kingdom on Smith Street in search of duck to celebrate a friend’s birthday. While Simon Lay is no longer a fixture (having opened a new restaurant in Box Hill South) Old Kingdom is still a mecca for the many duck lovers of Melbourne. It’s unapologetically lacking in fine dining finesse, which adds to its appeal for gluttons wanting their fix of crispy, fatty goodness in a pancake. The décor is simple, the tables covered in paper (you’ll see why) and the service cursory.

The duck must be ordered in advance (1-2 days) and is delivered in three courses for the paltry price of $55. One duck had me and my two dining companions well and truly stuffed full of duck-tastic awesomeness. The banquet began with the theatrical delivery of the whole duck to the table, where the optimistically white shirted server performed a deft dissection of the duck and explained how to make a Peking duck pancake (for the uninitiated). The pancakes were delicate and thin, the spring onion and cucumber crisp, the hoisin just right and the duck the right ratio of crispy skin to fat and meat. The duck meat itself was still juicy and the plate of duck pieces included the wings, legs and part of the neck for those who like to nibble. The waiter was happy to bring out extra pancakes and vegetables when we ran out.

The second course was, of course, going to struggle to live up to the decadent duck pancakes. However, the bean shoot and duck stir fry provided a refreshing follow up to the rich first/main course. It was delicately flavoured, smoky from the wok and the bean shoots maintained their crisp.

The soup was a warming and light cleanser to finish the meal. The duck flavoured the broth nicely and the tofu had soaked up the flavours of the broth and the slight spiciness of the mustard greens.

 Visiting Old Kingdom without being disappointed, has me forming grand plans of going on a duck odyssey a la Matt Preston’s effort for the Age back in the good days before he jumped ship to Taste in the Herald Sun.

Old Kingdom on Urbanspoon

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