I wondered why my brother’s girlfriend chose Old Kingdom in Collingwood. We all like Peking duck but there are so many places that I know my parents would not like because the duck served just isn’t what we expect from the label “peking duck” – for example, Simon’s Peking duck on Middleborough Road and Old Kingdom in Surrey Hills. It turned out she had a voucher to use at Messina. Oh well. We had no qualms about finishing our meal off with ice cream (if you want to be economical, buy take away to share at home – actually buy a bigger tub and you can eat it later too!).
Oops I jumped ahead to dessert. So we did actually have dinner at Old Kingdom. The $55 set menu comes with duck soup, peking duck and fried beanshoots. The waiter forgot we wanted to add noodles to our beanshoots but it didn’t matter as we had enough food anyway (two ducks… five people).
I liked their duck soup. The bones were boiled until the meat was flaking off and the tofu won me over.
For the peking duck itself, if you’ve ever had peking duck in Beijing, you’d be disappointed with the duck here and at Simon’s too no doubt. It’s deep fried and the end result is sometimes slightly over cooked, leaving the meat tougher than expected and the skin hard rather than crispy.
I sometimes wonder why they call it peking duck at all. For my family, the name conjures up high expectations as it casts us back to 2006 when we visited Quanjude in Beijing. Each duck was meticulously carved to yield exactly the same number of pieces and the meat was so rich that upon carving there were trickles of glistening oil. With this in mind, Old Kingdom’s rendition left us rather disappointed.
To be fair, the duck here is enjoyable in its own way. For the one duck that was not overcooked, I rather enjoyed making each parcel with a piece of cucumber and some spring onion and then slathering the whole thing in the hoisin sauce.
This was finished off with fried beanshoots with shredded duck – a simple dish that is actually quite satisfying.
So whilst I wouldn’t travel all the way to Collingwood to have this type of duck, it was an enjoyable meal (even the lull of Messina close by will not make up for the 45 minute drive).
Don’t forget that some places let you take the home the duck carcass when you order peking duck – that way you can make your very own duck soup (or duck congee). We didn’t here since we assumed the carcasses are used to make the rest of the set menu – a shame because I like my own version of duck soup just as much!