Apparently, the place to have Peking Duck in Brisbane is at Pine and Bamboo, Wynnum Road, Cannon Hill. I’m sure most of us has been to places where ‘Peking Duck’ pancakes are on the menus, I’ve even seen Peking Duck sushi rolls (yeah, sushi rolls)…but REAL Peking duck is where the Duck is Roasted (I don’t believe it’s fried) until the skin is brown, golden and absolutely crispy. I’ve been told and I don’t know if this is true that they actually pump air under the skin so that it lifts from meat. The Duck is then expertly ‘carved’ (the real experts use a cleaver) so that only the skin is removed (with no white, pallid fat attached) and the crispy skin is than wrapped in a thin pancake with cucumber, spring onion (cut into batons) and ‘special’ hoisin sauce’. Done properly, it’s absolutely delicious and worry about your arteries next week.
A few years ago, I had a 9 course Peking (Beijing) Duck banquet in, I was told, one of the most famous Peking Duck restaurant in Beijing. I think it might be Quanjude, my memories are sketchy, I remember a local selling me hamburgers writing the restaurant for me on a piece of paper and us getting there by showing a cab driver the piece of paper. Anyways, from what I remember, it was great, one of the few places where you got great service (the waitress even teaching my friend how to ‘wrap’ the pancakes properly) and we got a certificate thing at the end saying we were the number 83,456 or something diners at that place. Everything in the banquet contained duck, including steamed webbed feet which I didn’t like the look of, but still ate…but anyways, I digress…my point is that the Pine and Bamboo ducks were just as good as the ones from China, except our chef in China was able to cut a ridiculous number of pieces of duck skin from the duck so I remembered eating heaps of them. Actually, I remembered that the duck in China were oily, and the ones I had at Pine and Bamboo weren’t…so it’s actually a bonus!
Along with the delicious pancakes, we also got duck San Choy Bow which are fresh lettuce cups that they’ve cut into shallow ‘bowls’ and then filled with savoury duck, ours were cooked with celery (which I usually hate) and onions. It was tasty, not oily and the duck didn’t have congealed bits you can’t chew through – nice. As we’re hungry, greedy folks, we also ordered salt and pepper white fish bait, steamed egg white ‘custard’ with seafood and some rice. The salt and pepper fish bait was light and crispy, not oily and had a nice spicy bite to it. Don’t you hate ordering salt and pepper dishes and it’s usually just a big mass of gobular batter? This wasn’t it, thankfully. The steamed egg custard balanced the fatty dinner well as it was light, the custard was smooth yet the whole thing had some nice flavour – the sauce was probably the stock standard of oyster sauce with a bit of stock and corn flour.
We got a few weird looks when the duck was wheeled out…which I thought was really strange – Pine and Bamboo are KNOWN for their Peking duck, aren’t they? Or maybe it’s the fact that there are many people who refuse to eat meat off the bone and seeing the head of your meat is such a no no…but in this instance, it might’ve been food envy.
The restaurant itself is a bit worn and could do with a major refurbishment, but it was bustling, busy and from what our neighbouring table ordered, you can get a range of…what I like to call, ‘fake’ Chinese dishes (Mongolian Lamb – comes predictably in a ‘sizzling plate’ – y’all know the deal) and some real Chinese dishes like whole steamed fish with ginger etc. Peking duck is definitely not an everyday dish although, I could easily eat ten and not even realise it (kinda like Krispy Kremes). I probably have to go to the gym for 4 hours tomorrow (I most probably won‘t) but tonight, it was well worth it…and I’m going to bed quite content.
A duck yeilding about 20 skins, two courses (including the San Choy Bow) cost about $60 – this is with extra pancakes. Other dishes were about $18 – $30, fresh seafood POA. Desserts weren’t very exciting featuring the usual deep fried ice-creams and toffee bananas found at ‘fake’ Chinese Restaurants.
Pine and Bamboo | 968 Wynnum Rd | Cannon Hill | t 07 3399 9095