My family LOVE Chinese food. Seriously, it's our staple take-away. Partly because there were no other types of take-away in my home town and partly because it was awesome. I haven't managed to find a fantastic Chinese Restaurant in Bris yet and am on the lookout. When I am in Sydney, the place to visit if we are staying in the Eastern Suburbs is Kensington Peking. Luckily for her, my sister A, lives not too far from Kensington Peking, so it has become her local.
Kensington Peking is a very simple restaurant, just across Anzac Pde (and down a bit!) from Peter's of Kensington. There are menus (in Cantonese and Mandarin) all over the walls and the decor is fairly standard. There is an upstairs and a downstairs section, though I have only ever dined downstairs.
To be blatantly honest, the service here is not fantastic- it is quick but not overly enthusiastic. The staff do pour extra tea and are happy to help with ordering but generally make themselves scarce during the meal. But... I come here for the duck!!
Tonight is a Saturday night but we come in late-ish- 8:45p.m. and there are only three of us, so we are able to score a table. I would recommend booking if you can but also try your luck if it late/early or a weeknight.
The problem with having only three diners was that we had to downsize from our usual menu. I love having 6 or 8 people so I get to try a bigger variety of food. I also have to be careful to stop over ordering. Now.... I know it's better to have more food than less but I think this mentality is becoming a little bit of a problem for my waistline and my wallet, so I try to be conservative.
We ordered a half duck, beans with mince, J, our friend chooses the beef and blackbean and A decides some Salt, pepper and chilli tofu will add nicely to the mix. I somehow resist the urge to order some shallot pancakes or a full duck!
The duck is served first with the standard pancakes, hoisin and shallots. We gobble down the little parcels which are filled with moist tender duck and crispy skin. Yum. The flavour of the duck is not overwhelmingly pekingish but the meat is beautifully done. The pancakes are some of my favourite in the world and are soft and floury and complement the duck perfectly.
The beans with mince arrive and usually this is another of my favourites. Tonight the beans were a little rubbery and over cooked and had too much mince mixture plopped on top. I like the beans to be firm and crisp with only a tad of mixture to enhance the flavour. Overall this dish is a little too messy.
The beef and blackbean arrives and is quite food for beef and blackbean. The beef is tender and the blackbeans aren't too starchy as can sometimes be the case. Usually we wouldn't order this dish but it was good to give it a try. I probably wouldn't order it again, and would go for something less saucy and maybe a tad more authentic.
The salt, pepper, chilli tofu was magnificent. I am not even sure if this exact combo was on the menu but it was what we asked for and definitely what we got! The salt and chilli stuck my tongue and the coating was wonderfully crisp. The inside tofu was soft and silky and I want to gobble the whole plate.
In the end, we had more than enough food and a little left over! We were in and out quickly as the three of us were tiring fast but the food was pretty good. The duck is always good and the tofu was sensational. Next time I head back to Kensington Peking, I would order the Schezuan chicken and possibly some of the hot soup (not for the faint hearted!)
Everytime I dine at Kensington Peking, I feel at home- it's become a regular haunt of my family's over the years so I feel really comfortable that every time I go, I will receive a meal that tastes similar to the last time I ordered. There is no groundbreaking culinary feats here, just a good all round Chinese meal with great duck and lots of other little surprises if you dare to order something different. The staff will happily recommend more adventurous choices and there are more authentic dishes on offer than than your regular Chinese restaurant in the Eastern Suburbs.
So, Where is your favourite 'comfort' restaurant and how often do you re-visit?
172 Anzac Pde
Kensington 2033 NSW
Phone: (02) 9313 7100