Simon's Peiking Duck

Simon’s Peiking Duck @ 197B Middleborough Road, Box Hill South
26 January 2011

Finding good restaurants in the suburbs of Melbourne is an arduous task.  Sifting through the veritable assortment of mediocre restaurants is often unfulfilling so when word spread that the celebrated Simon Lay had opened a new restaurant serving Peking duck in Box Hill South, a visit seemed in order.  Simon Lay, also known as the “Duck Nazi”, earned his reputation at Fitzroy’s Old Kingdom, a restaurant renowned for its, and principally Simon’s, Peking duck.  Having not sampled the original product at Old Kingdom, we were eager to see what all the fuss was about.

The Peking duck is only available as part of a set menu – there are two such options on offer.  We selected the $63 “option 2” which consisted of 15 pieces of Peking duck, stir fried noodles and soup.

It only takes one bite of Simon’s Peking duck to understand why it has garnered such a cult following.  Simply put, the dish is all about the duck’s thin crispy skin – achieved through a rigorous process of pumping air into the duck’s body, spreading boiling water over the skin before drying and roasting the duck – and the healthy layer of unctuous duck fat that lies beneath – the tender duck meat, although delicious, merely plays an ancillary role in this affair. The rich, artery clogging duck fat is unsurprisingly glorious in taste and, along with the plum sauce, provides a rich and robust flavour to the pancake wrapped duck pieces.  With the obligatory spring onion and cucumber to counteract the calorific roast duck, Simon’s Peking duck is truly spectacular.   


As expected, both of the dishes to follow – stir fried duck meat and mushroom noodles and duck bone soup with bean curd – were mere afterthoughts. The noodles were overcooked and underseasoned and the soup was diluted and bland. While an improvement on these dishes would be desirable, the reality is that people will continue to flock to Simon’s for his Peking duck regardless, and understandably so.

Although somewhat one dimensional, Simon’s Peiking Duck delivers precisely what its name promises and its patrons expect – excellent Peking duck.  Although the other items on its reasonably priced set menu are at best, passable, it is an establishment worth visiting on the strength of its Peking duck alone. 

Food: 6.5
Service: 5.5
Value: 6
Overall: 6


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