23 June 2008

Peking Chinese Restaurant

A good friend of the Bloggers said he was an expert in all things related to the Peking Chinese Restaurant. Apparently, he grew up quite close to the restaurant and he and his family visited it on an almost weekly basis for close to 10 years. He never claimed it was great Chinese, and he did mention that it had been sold to new owners since he last went, but we had thought the frequency and longevity of his and his family’s visits implied that the Peking Chinese Restaurant would be a reasonably good place to eat. Turns out though, that the Peking Chinese Restaurant is about the worst place on earth to eat, or at least the worst place in Mount Lawley.

The Bloggers were excited to have Stinky along for his first foray into the blogging world (we couldn’t claim it was his first visit to Beaufort Street, because he’d already partaken in several coffees and plates of eggs on fire down the road at Cafissimo). Stinky was a saint, we heard barely a peep from him as he slept like, well, a baby. If he could talk though, we think he would have been complaining loudly about the quality of the slop served up to us that was meant to be Chinese food.

First a note on the d├ęcor. We were actually kind of enamoured by the unrennovated 1970s suburban-style Chinese restaurant. The wallpaper was so old that it had done the full fashion circle and now looks like a Florence Broadhurst print that would retail at around $400 a roll. The dark red carpet combined with the luxurious gold Chinoserie style wallpaper, some elaborate gold and red tassled lighting and the fact that the restaurant was divided into small separate rooms gave us the feeling we were sitting in a high class 1930s brothel. This feeling didn’t last for long though, as when we had a close look at the restaurant’s counter we realised we were firmly planted in a unrennovated 1970s suburban-style Chinese restaurant.

The counter was a delight. It involved your usual 1970s suburban-style Chinese restaurant counter, but with the inspired addition of a giant golden dragon head on one end, and a giant golden dragon tail at the other. The Sponge was really quite taken by the counter, and found it hard to peel his eyes off it all night. He wanted to take it home and fashion a bed for Stinky from it, which, we all agreed, would be the finest bed a young man could have.

In terms of the food, we ordered a large array of deep fried goodies to start – prawn toast, spring rolls and fried squid – as well as a serve each of San Choy Bow. While we were waiting for our entrees, we were delivered a plate of exactly 6 prawn crackers. And they were so old and limp and lifeless we could bend them in half. When the entrees arrived things didn’t get much better - the prawn toast lacked prawn, the spring rolls were just edible, the fried squid forgettable and while the San Choy Bow looked fabulous, it failed to deliver on the flavour front.

We chose the typical dishes one would order in an unrennovated 1970s suburban-style Chinese restaurant – honey king prawns, Szechwan chicken, Mongolian lamb, roast duck and chicken chow mein. The Szechwan chicken had a bit of a kick to it and made our noses run ever so slightly, but we could not taste the rest. Like the San Choy Bow, everything looked great, but just had no flavour to speak of. The sizzling dishes were suitably sizzling, the prawns sufficiently plump, the lamb was sufficiently fresh but nothing was sufficiently tasty. It was incredibly bland food.

Nevertheless, we enjoyed our evening as we drank wine from miniature unrennovated 1970s suburban-style Chinese restaurant wine glasses and admired the beauty of the counter. As we were wrapping things up at the restaurant, and wrapping Stinky up for his trip home, it occurred to us that we hadn’t seen a member of the staff for the last half an hour. We waited and waited, called out, rung the bell, slapped the dragon-bench and did everything we could to attract attention to settle the bill but no one appeared. So we ended up doing a runner.

On the way out The Deliberator needed to use the facilities. Until he saw the condition they were in. They seemed to be built in a bomb shelter sometime during the war and have not been upgraded since. We will try and get a photo up soon.

(Note: we didn’t really do a runner.)

In summary:

Service: Largely unavailable.

Food: Unbelievably tasteless.

: Like a sleazy b-grade
film noir set.

Highlight: Stinky’s impeccable behaviour.

Lowlight: The absence of chilli, garlic, ginger or any other discernable flavour in the food.

Rating: 1 chopstick out of 5.

Will we be back? Shit no.
Details: Call them on (08) 9271 8505. It wasn’t as cheap as we would have expected, and we paid about $40 per head for 2 courses and corkage (we did over-order though).

Coming up: Hanami is next on the strip, but we may back track and tackle some takeaway joints we skipped earlier.


Anonymous said...

Dear BSBers

We took your recommendation on 3rd Ave Cafe, and had a very impressive dinner there this week. Pity that the signature duck dish had sold out - one for the next visit. We told them we'd come because of the review on your blog. Since you'd emailed it to them, they knew all about it, and were really pleased it was generating interest, apparently we weren't the first to mention the BSB.
I will also be taking your recommendation about Peking seriously - I've often wondered about it, now I need wonder no more!

Beaufort Street Bloggers said...

Dear anonymous

We are very pleased that you enjoyed your meal at 3rd Ave Cafe, and thanks for mentioning the blog! We would like to add that we emailed 3rd Ave Cafe after our review, and would never tell a restaurant that we were coming beforehand.

There's absolutely no need to visit Peking, unless you like your Chinese food to taste like what you should eat if you were convalescing.

Anonymous said...

Phew! You've saved my tummy from disappointing Chinese food! I was always curious about the place but now I definitely won't go there. I believed you when you said you did a runner :p

Sarah said...

Hi BSBers
Would just like to say how happy I am about what you are doing, having just moved to Beaufort st and now getting reviews on every restaurant on the strip, which is very exciting for a foodie like me. I am looking forward to when you dine at Richie's Carribean restaurnat which I think is coming up soon. Visited there a few years ago with past work mates and have to say it is the worst dining experience we have had. We had a large table which i think may have added to the dissapointment. It took hours for the food to arrive...about 3 if i remember, they ran out of many dishes and the cockroaches in the very dirty toilets was a bonus. However one highlight was being able to get very drunk while waiting for our food and having an unforgettable night that we still talk about today. Just thought I would share that with you and will eagerly wait for your review.

Beaufort Street Bloggers said...

Hi anonymous - we were curious about Peking too - it did look so promising, yet it clearly failed to deliver.

Hi sarah - Richie's is still a while away, but we will certainly get there. You're night sounds hilarious, I hope ours is half as entertaining! Thanks for reading the blog and welcome to the neighbourhood.

The Worst of Perth said...

Somehow I sort of knew it was going to be how you describe, but nurtured a hope hoped that its tackiness would hide a heart of gold. I like the sound of the dragon counter. Must put up a link if you add a photo of that or the toilets. Like the blog very much. have been walking the street from the city to Bedford recently so must keep up with you guys.

Anonymous said...

Richie's apparently has been sold. The dead ficuses at the entrances are a sickly clue. I tried to use my Entertainment Book voucher, only to get a dismembered (and disenfranchised) answering machine message.

David Cohen said...

Nice blog! The Worst of Perth pointed it out to his many acolytes. When is Soto getting the blogger treatment?

Beaufort Street Bloggers said...

TWOP - you walk from the city to Bedford and back every day? Amazing. We once walked from Jolly Good Indian to the Civic, and The Deliberator is still complaining about it.

anonymous - good investigative skills. Can't wait to see what it becomes by the time we get there. Which, according to our calculations, will be some time in 2026.

David - thanks for the comment. Soto is even further away than Richie's, so log back on in around 18 years or so. What are your thoughts on Soto? We can never really make up our minds about it.

David Cohen said...

It's in the diary. Soto is great. Once you're a regular it's even more accessible. They have Norwegian Eggs on the menu - hopefully they'll still be on offer in 18 years...

Beaufort Street Bloggers said...

Love the sound of Norwegian Eggs, will try and get their this weekend. Soto's very cool, with amazing coffee, but a couple of disappointing brekkies have put us off. Having said that, we haven't been since the brekkie menu was updated, so we'll keep an open mind.

byrneside said...

My 11month old son got Salmonella at Peking Chinese ...enough said!

Beaufort Street Bloggers said...

Holy crap byrneside, that's terrible! And here we were thinking that Salmonella had been eradicated from first world countries, like Smallpox has.

Dave said...

I dined here last night and the experience was ok.

You might ask why I'd venture in after reading this review but we were tired after a long day and just wanted to go somewhere different and easy and when I'd last been there years ago it wasn't that bad - and we already been to our current local favourite (Fitzgerald Seafood Chinese Restaurant) just a couple of days earlier.

The young man who served us was helpful and friendly which was a good start, but the prawn crackers didn't appear to have improved since the blog review.

Undeterred we ordered Duck Meat with Bean Sprouts and Ginger, Sizzling Prawns and Whole Baked Fish with Black Bean Sauce and steamed rice for 3.

The rice was quite a stingey amount considering how so many restaurants just give you a whole bucket regardless of how many people are eating, but bad feelings were quashed on the arrival of the duck dish which was really good. The sprouts were suitably coated with the right amount of oil bringing a delicate soy and ginger flavour to the crunchy bean sprouts which contrasted well to the shredded duck meat and spirng onions and regular onions that were mixed in. A well executed dish that had great flavour and texture and that you definately don't expect at the average suburban chinese. There were a few bits of capsicum also floating around in it which I don't think were necessary but I'm getting picky.

The sizzling prawns came with the usual hodge podge of roughly chopped vegetables - onion, capsicum, celery, zucchini(!) - but it was nicely cooked and tasty - although a bit sweet for our liking. It had been ordered for Master 4 though - we could have orded the XO variety if we'd preferred.

The baked fish was deep fried rather than baked but it was quite a tasty morsel although perhaps a touch on the dry side. The crispy skin was a delight and the flesh came away easily from the bone. The scattering of suburban chinese vegetables and 1 piece of broccoli that accompanied it was perhaps unnecessary but we thoroughly enjoyed polishing this one off.

The toilet was dark but at least it smelt clean and the bill came to $53 which included a coke and a pot of tea. The tea btw was nice and strong - and not the watery stuff with a leaf or two floating around in it like some places do.