UPDATE November 2015: This restaurant has permanently closed for business.
“Fine, you might be having a few good meals in Paris right now but the boys are taking me out for dinner tonight too” I say to Mysaucepan, who is away in France and Switzerland for a business trip.
“I’m going to one of Paul Bocuse’s restaurants and the menu looks so enticing” she says excitedly.
“Well, our dinner tonight might just be as awesome as your French meal, but without the expensive price tag” I say.
“Let me guess, you boys are heading for a steakhouse to get your meat fix” she tries to guess.
“Close but not quite” I say. “We’re going to have a duckfest that might just put a French duck a l’orange to shame”.
“Okay, enjoy your dinner with the boys and no doubt I will hear all about it” she says.
“I’m sure I’ll be hearing all about your food escapades to no end when you get back too” I tell her. “But for now, I better head to the gym to work up an appetite for tonight’s dinner.
Peking Inn has been one of the most consistent and long-running northern style Chinese restaurants in the north shore area of Sydney. Previously located on the left side of Pacific Highway in Lindfield as one is travelling north bound, this restaurant has been operating for more than twenty years and have since moved further north to Pymble.
As this restaurant is famous for its northern Chinese style duck dishes, we are usually armed with a few bottles of pinot noir whenever we visit.
A 2009 Clyde Park Pinot Noir is the perfect wine for our impending duckfest. The plum and jammy flavours seem to complement the slightly gamey duck meat so brilliantly every time.
This restaurant charges a corkage of $3.50 per person for BYO wine which can be a little pricey when a few diners were to share a bottle. This corkage charge might warrant offering nicer wine glasses to customers that bring their favourite wines to the restaurant.
Mermaid tresses is quite a fancy name for our entree but there isn’t a beautiful woman that is half fish anywhere to be seen in the restaurant. Instead, it is a cold dish of pigs ear slices in light soy, topped with shallots, coriander and garlic.
The pigs ears are crunchy with the savoury sauce and the raw garlic adds a bit of zing to this dish.
The crispy aromatic duck at this restaurant is one of the best interpretations of this northern style deep-fried duck in Sydney.
Half a duck arrives golden brown and crispy on the outside as the waiter shreds the meat and skin into bite size pieces to be laid on top of 6 steamed pancakes.
The small bones are so crispy they are also edible while the skin is succulent with tasty duck fat.
The unmistakable aromas of five-spice powder works so well with this dish and munching on the crispy bits of duck skin and small bones is always one of my favourite ways to devour this duck.
Place a little meat on the warm and fluffy pancake with some hoisin sauce, cucumber and roll it up or just pick the meat from the bones with your fingers.
Another signature dish is the dry fried Peking style shredded beef. What makes this dish good is the thin strips of carrot and beef that are crispy and with just a subtle level of sweetness.
This dish appears to be one of the most popular as most tables around us are tucking into it as well.
Our obligatory vegetarian dish is a stir-fried Hong Kong choy sum with tofu puffs and mushroom. This dish is tasty with its oyster and garlic sauce.
The Peking duck is one of three duck dishes that we came here for.
This dish never disappoints and even though this is a northern style Chinese restaurant, I find this Peking duck to rival the ones from fine Cantonese restaurants anywhere in Sydney.
The duck is plump in a deep golden brown colour and the skin is glistening as the waiter skillfully carves up each piece of skin to be wrapped with steamed pancakes.
The skin of this Peking duck is crispy while a small ribbon of fat and meat underneath is tender and juicy.
Diners have a choice of either using the remaining duck meat for a northern style stir-fried noodles or as a sang choy bao course with iceberg lettuce leaves. Tonight, we choose the latter.
Crunchy bits of diced celery, carrots, onions, bamboo shoots and garlic are fragrant and tasty with a cold iceberg lettuce leave.
Finally, to complete our duckfest dinner, the smoky aromas of a tea smoked duck with Chinese steamed buns can be detected even before we see this dish hitting our table.
A whole duck has been cut into thin slices, its unmistakably smoky skin and meat arranged in the middle of a large platter surrounded by steamed Chinese buns.
The buns are fresh, warm and fluffy and although I have tried tea smoked duck at other Chinese restaurants, the skin is wonderfully smoky while the meat is tasty and succulent.
A stir-fried kai lan is pre-blanched with hot water before it hits the wok because it is slightly less crunchy.
I actually prefer this style as the texture is softer and does not have the raw vegetable taste. The ginger and Shao Xing wine on this dish is a delightful complement with a smoky ‘wok breath’.
The great cuisines of the world all have their iconic dishes that transcended history and food culture of those cuisines.
To me, Peking duck is the essence of Northern Chinese cuisine that is as tasty and delicious as it is famous the world over.
So dear readers, do you have a favourite duck to share with us and which is your favourite restaurant that serves a good duck dish?
1015A, Pacific Highway,
Pymble, New South Wales
Tel: +61 2 9144 2997
Business Hours: Lunch 12pm to 3pm, Dinner 5pm – 10pm, Closed Mondays
Oh maaan that first picture had my mouth watering!! I absolutely LOVE peking duck and its been faaar too long since I’ve indulged in any. In my opinion it totally beats duck a l’orange any day! The Peking beef is another favorite – I pretty much always end up ordering this when I’m out for Chinese whenever it’s available.. I’m sooo hungry now hahah
wow this post is the duck-est post I’ve ever seen and the ducks do look amazing!
Speak of the devil! I was just raving on about my peking duck craving. The duck looks so good!
I love peking duck and order it every chance I get but that tea smoked duck looks really good too. How would I decide?
My favourite at this restaurant is both the Peking duck and aromatic duck, yes it’s difficult to choose so the best strategy is always to go with a big group so you can have a bit of all 3 types of duck.
You betcha! I did a Peking Duck chase last year where we tried it at a few different places and the funny thing was that we weren’t sick of it even after that
I love everything tht u ordered here, esp the crispy pig’s ears, aromatic crispy duck and Peking duck!
You had so many of my favourite Chinese dishes. Who knew you could get such great Chinese on the North Shore! I cooked confit duck (Thai style) for a dinner party on Saturday night. You cook it for 2.5 hours in a master stock, then roast it again with some of the sauce to heat through (just before serving), drizzle with some boiled down master stock and serve with a ginger and lychee salad. It’s my favourite duck recipe for sure xx
“Who knew you could get great Chinese on the North Shore?”
What an odd comment? I’m not sure if this is a reflection of your opinion of the North Shore or perhaps you don’t get over the Bridge that often. Chatswood is perhaps second only to Chinatown for numbers of Chinese restaurants and the other suburbs have their share as well. Try Szechuan Garden in St Leonards if you like a bit of heat, Choyan in Gordon for elegant traditional Cantonese or Chequers/Fook Yuen/Kam Fook in Chatswood for big room yum cha. The North Shore also has some great restaurants serving other cuisines for those with bravery and passport to get across the harbour.
I agree there are some good Chinese restaurants in the North Shore but I believe diners need to know where to look and more importantly, what to order on the menu.
However, here are some of my own dining experiences about the restaurants you mentioned:
1. Szechuan Garden has a very tasty braised eggplant in oyster sauce on the menu. However, I find their food a little too oily for my liking although the nature of Sichuan food is known for its relatively oilier dishes.
2. Chequers in Mandarin Centre used to be very good for yum cha but their standard has dropped off completely and it is no surprise they are now permanently closed for business.
3. Fook Yuen used to be good for yum cha with its horrendous queues during weekends but the original owners have since sold the restaurant. Yum cha now is at best only average and this is confirmed by the dwindling queues. It is not difficult to get a table even during peak weekend lunch hours. But I suspect this is also because Chatswood is now one of the most competitive suburbs for food with so many new restaurants opening.
4. Kam Food in Chatswood is one of my least favourite for yum cha because the dumplings are huge and unrefined. Flavours are quite ordinary and service is atrocious.
Personally, my favourite yum cha in Sydney is Sky Phoenix – Rhodes branch only (not their Manly, Westfield CBD or Castle Hill branches). Service is better than most others but more importantly, the variety and depth of flavours is on the mark and generally better than most.
I recommend you try it and let us know what you think.
Wow! We used to eat at Theresa’s restaurant when she and her sister ran it at the Rocks (Dynasty on the Rocks it was called back then), and I really miss their distinctive dishes! That deep-fried duck brings back so many taste memories! Thanks Chopinand, one of these days we’ll get up there to dine with them again!
My sister and BIL who live in Perth used to be Theresa’s regulars since the ’80s when their restaurant was in Lindfield. We love the deep fried duck and I think the dry fried Peking beef is one of the best in Sydney.
We have been there with friends about 5 times in the last 3 months and we know we would go more often if she could provide some nicer wine glasses since we prefer to bring our own wines to go with her awesome ducks. Since you have known her for a long time, perhaps you can help give her a gentle nudge as I think it’s a small request for regulars.
What a feast! My husband loves pig ear but until this day I haven’t had tried it… He loves that texture.
We love Peking duck, and we always order at some restaurants they serve good ones. My daughter is a bun lover and my son loves extra duck, so we balance out. Now thinking of it makes my mouth water (and not exaggerating!).
Sounds like we need a trip to a good Chinese restaurant this weekend!
Holy cow, Chopin. This has got to be one of my favourite reviews by you ever.
This is EXACTLY the kind of food that I love to eat. Asian, generous, homey, hearty and a little regional too. I can’t decide which kinds of duck dishes I love more.
Probably Peking for obvious reasons but the tea smoked duck is a close second. I still think the Chinese do the BEST duck dishes there’s a handful of Mum’s duck recipes that I can’t get enough of too. Sounds like a good night out with the guys! Cheers!
What a glorious feast and of course the Peking duck takes my vote. Your pictures really show how juicy and tender the duck it and the special sauce. I am keeping a running list of all of your great restaurant suggestions for my future travel. Thanks, BAM
The duck on a plate with the steamed buns has almost make me faint! I love buns and I’m absolutely crazy for duck, but as strange as it may sound I have never had a Chinese duck. Every Asian friend I met here warned me against tasting duck in the Swiss Chinese restaurants because apparently it’s extremely disappointing… I am patiently waiting to visit China or… Australia 😉 Lucky you! I would give dozens of Paul Bocuse dinners for one duck experience in this restaurant.
Duckfest indeed! What I would give to be present at that dinner! Everything looks stunning.
Oh man, this looks awesome!
I also love the name ‘mermaid tresses’ – it’s a very creative name for a dish that doesn’t normally have the reputation of being ‘glam.’
Mmmmm, peking duck… I love Hingara in Chinatown, but you’ve definitely convinced me to give Peking Inn a try!
Peking Duck with a plummy, jammy wine sounds absolutely marvelous… so does the tea smoked duck. What a delectable meal! Hope you and Mysaucepan are reunited soon. Looking forward to reading more as you swap food stories!