The Melbourne King of Peking duck, Simon Lay, is well known for his ducky antics. He used to be at Old Kingdom, which I never got around to visiting, and late last year he opened up his own restaurant in Box Hill South – Simon’s Peiking Duck Restaurant (extra i on purpose).
Duck isn’t a favourite meat of mine – in fact, I don’t really like it all that much. Peking duck is a different story though, Peking duck I love. But it has to be done right – the pieces should be mostly crispy skin with only a minimal amount of meat.
What makes Peking duck so good? It’s all about the crisp skin, crunchy cucumber, flavour of the sauce mixed with the spring onion, all in a handy soft pancake.
Not having eaten good Peking duck for a while, I was keen to try out Simon’s and visited the other month with five other hungry duck eaters. For the six of us, we ordered three ducks. There are two options for Peking duck – option 1 is $55 for the Peking duck with 12 pieces of pancakes, the usual accompaniments (spring onion, cucumber and plum sauce) along with stir fried bean sprouts with duck meat and soup made with the duck bones.
Option 2 is the same as option 1, except you get 15 pieces of pancakes, and a plate of noodles for $63. We choose two serves of Option 1 and one serve of Option 2. And that’s it. I believe there’s other things on the menu, but we were there to eat Peking duck.
It’s not a post about Simon’s Peiking Duck without discussion about Simon’s antics. He is prone to telling customers in very blunt language exactly how they should prepare their pancake. If you don’t do it his way, you’re an idiot! Simon was in fine form the evening we were there – going to each table and ribbing all his customers. But it’s all in good fun and there’s no malice involved – it’s just an act that everyone expects.
Does he make the best Peking duck in Melbourne? I wouldn’t say it’s the best – while the skin is crispy and there’s a good ratio of skin to meat, it was a touch oily. And while the pancakes are nice and thin, I prefer them to be more refined. I’d also like to be able to order more pancakes and cucumber/spring onions – there’s never enough!
Even though they were mostly after thoughts, I did like the plate of hand made noodles and the stir fried bean sprouts that came at the end.
The restaurant does 2 sittings a night, so they’ve obviously on a good formula. The price is reasonable, and despite my minor criticisms, we had a very enjoyable meal and were highly entertained by Simon. I’d definitely head back for more Peking duck, hopefully sometime soon!
For more on Simon’s Peiking Duck, check out the following blogs:
[googleMap name="Simon's Peiking Duck" width="600" height="300" directions_to="false"]197B Middleborough Road, Box Hill South, VIC, Australia[/googleMap]
Simon’s Peiking Duck
197B Middleborough Road
Box Hill South 3128
Phone: 03 9898 5944