Simons Peking Duck Restaurant
Box Hill, Vic, AU
Simons Peking is considered an institution. I’d heard of it before and have always wanted to go and finally got the opportunity one Sunday night with a group of about 9 people.
We ordered 4 ducks for 9 people and had planned on getting a bunch of other dishes, however they have a rule that only allows you to order two other dishes with a duck. We ended up not bothering with the extra dishes as the first option came with stir fried crispy duck noodles and duck bone soup.
So as per tradition, when the duck comes out (pictured above in all its glory), Simon, the proprietor himself comes out and tosses pancakes at your plate for you to catch them.
After the first round of pancakes went out to everyone we dug in, it was fantastic, crisp skin, kind of fatty, juicy meat, all wrapped in a delicate pancake finished with hoisin, cucumber and spring onion.
After a countless number of pancakes the noodles arrived. I wasn’t too sure what to expect but they came out and were delicious, the sauce, the crunch, the duck, it was all so good and almost on par with the peking duck itself.
Lastly the bone soup, it was light, refreshing and extremely palette cleansing. I didn’t take a picture because, I mean, how attractive can soup really be.
Simons Peking is somewhere for special occasions and if I had my way, a monthly Sunday dinner. It’s just a delicious meal in a friendly and fun atmosphere (BYO is a bonus).
Garden State Hotel
Melbourne, Vic, Aus
How to describe Garden state; It’s the epitome hit and miss.
I was super impressed by the pictures of the food, the fit out and organised to meet a few friends there for drinks and various plates off their menu.
Arriving I was taken aback how nice the atmosphere and ambience was, I was impressed and looking forward to both my meal and my time here.
I settled into a table in the “beer garden” and grabbed a beer while perusing the menu. Now, everything seemed good so I went all out and ordered a bunch of small things that would be followed by two of their larger plates.
To start I ordered the spice roasted sweet potato with honey and coriander with the smoked pork croquettes served with pepper mayo.
The sweet potato was spiced well and had the right amount of honey and coriander to lend just the right amount of each flavour to create a good balance but was undone by the potato itself being undercooked. The croquettes on the other hand were great, the right amount of crispiness and meatiness that went really well with the pepper mayo.
The next thing out was the Sher wagyu hot dog. It was sensational, everything you could want in a hotdog and more, a great bun; good quality condiments and quality meat. From here, there was nothing good to report. I ordered the lamb shanks and the Chicken Parma to finish and both were less than ordinary.
The Parma was essentially a bland piece of schnitzel in a bed of bland Napoli sauce covered in a mozzarella cheese sauce that was nothing short of awful. To top it off they added some crumbled black olives to go with the miss-match of the rest of the plate.
Lastly, the lame shank (see what I did there); a single lamb shank, braised but far too firm and what I would have thought was a frozen portion reheated. The jus was basic, the polenta was bland mush and the firm and tasteless lamb shank was definitely not worth the $19 price tag it came with.
If you’re going to the Garden State hotel and need to eat, stick to the stuff from the kiosk.