Chinese is one of my favourite cuisines, undoubtedly helped by being half Chinese. I can’t get enough of it and it’s a time where I can put my chopsticks technique to the test. I’m definitely out of practice these days and I do have a really weird technique, but in my opinion whatever technique you do use, whether you are an elegant chopstick user or end up stabbing a piece of food or chasing it around the plate, as long as you get the food in your mouth, that’s all that matters!
Chopsticks is all part of the experience of eating Chinese and I avoid cutlery at all costs! Using a fork is simply not as satisfying in my opinion.
I haven’t been out for a nice meal for ages, so my boyfriend and I decided to try out Peacock Gardens Restaurant in Crows Nest, Sydney. I have heard about Peacock Gardens and we have passed it on numerous occasions, so decided it was about time we gave it a whirl.
It was Saturday night and we ended up phoning the restaurant at 5.45pm to make a booking for 8pm. We were in luck – the restaurant had space – yay!
As always, we were a little bit early, but when we arrived at the Peacock Gardens Restaurant we were warmly welcomed by the waiter by the door and we passed a few large fish tanks on the way to our table. I am fascinated by fish and this only made my night better, although they probably were to be eaten very shortly by someone in the restaurant!
We had a table near a window and there was already a lively bustle of people enjoying themselves and the food. We arrived as one table was served a beautiful lobster tail. It looked absolutely divine and I would have loved to indulge in this dish if we had $80 to spare and if my boyfriend was not allergic to seafood. Although if I had $80 to spare I would have eaten this all to myself!
Now the big question was what to eat at Peacock Gardens?! We had a choice from the main menu, house specialties and monthly specials. The menu itself was not extensive and was well priced, but it all sounded so yummy! In the end we had the half crispy duck pancakes, deep fried calamari with spicy salt, Mongolian lamb and fried rice. I also treated myself to a portion of Wonton Soup, my favourite! We were going to order the Pork Ribs, but the waiter advised us that we had plenty already and that might be too much. He also allowed us to have an entrée portion of the calamari which was appreciated.
We didn’t have to wait too long for our food and our water was topped up throughout the meal. Instead of serving ourselves, the waiter dressed in white would serve our food for us which I am not used to. He started with the half crispy duck which he shredded to perfection and then set about adding the duck, cucumber and hoi sin sauce to each pancake and served us a total of four pancakes, one on a separate plate. He then left the rest of the duck on the bones on our table with the hoi sin sauce and hand towels.
The duck was absolutely delicious and perfectly crispy, complimented by the hoi sin sauce. Two pancakes each was definitely not enough, but we put our disappointment aside and set about eating the rest of the duck. It’s safe to say we devoured the lot, minus the bones!
Now it was time for me to enjoy my wonton soup that had been brought out. I have had many opportunities in my life to enjoy this tantalising soup and it is without doubt my favourite soup at a Chinese restaurant. My bowl contained about four pieces of the wonton which were a good size and were just as good as I remember. It didn’t take me long to devour these and I was definitely enjoying my meal so far!
Shortly after finishing my soup, our waiter in white returned with our calamari and again he surprised us by serving our calamari for us from the large plate that they came out on.
We both had about eight pieces each and the calamari was nicely cooked, but it was a little bit stringy which was a shame. However, it was still good, especially with the hot sauce that I was definitely making the most of. Got to love a bit of chilli!
We were both getting a bit full by now so when our Mongolian lamb came out with the fried rice, our original waiter asked if we wanted the pork ribs, but we said we should be ok. We had also mentioned not to add prawns to our fried rice due to my boyfriend’s seafood allergy and this wish was carried out.
Again our waiter in white did the honours of serving us and delicately placed fried rice in each of our bowls and then served some of the Mongolian lamb on a side plate for us both. The lamb was served on a hot plate and came out sizzling and I have to say it was ever so tender and flavoursome!
The rest of the rice and lamb was left on our table which we soon devoured – you can’t waste good food. Only a small portion of the rice was left as we were both stuffed and did not want to leave the lamb.
Overall, we had a fantastic dining experience at the Peacock Gardens Restaurant and were glad we came to try it out. The Peacock Gardens Restaurant has been running since 1975 and owned by Mathew Chan and has won numerous awards since its opening including Best Chinese Restaurant of 2007 as well as in 2011 winning both the State and National BEST Chinese Restaurant of 2011.
The service was without a doubt exceptional and we were made to feel welcome by all members of staff who were all friendly, polite and extremely helpful. We had hot towels to end our night, along with fortune cookies! My fortune simply said, “It is hard to stumble when you’re on your knees”. There is definitely truth in this!
Peacock Gardens Restaurant…we will be back!