Thursday, February 23, 2012

大都烤鴨 Empire City Roasted Duck – (Hong Kong ) - ♕♕♕ 1/2

  This new Peking Duck specialist is opened by  鴻星海鮮酒家 (Super Star Restaurant),  a group which during its peak glorious days was deemed decent but never truly exceptional.  Their biggest achievement was cementing a permanent record in the history book when one of their head chefs went on to represent Hong Kong and winning a battle in the Japanese Iron Chef Competition  ~  no other HK restaurant contestants managed to repeat this feat during the 1980s.    Ever since then  the quality of food has retreated from its peak.   This time around  their new restaurant is designed around a Pekinese theme and roasting their Peking Ducks with lychee wood as per traditional Beijing tradition.   Perhaps they are onto a winner here in concept, since it’s one of a kind in Hong Kong  despite most shops in Beijing practicing this by default.    Macau’s Beijing Kitchen (滿堂彩) also uses the same traditional cooking method and the latter’s duck proved to be far superior.   We had mixed thoughts about here as some dishes were promising indeed,  but some turned out to be a little average for now..  



Peking ducks in Beijing are not perfect, but still that much more better relatively speaking.
Carving technique difference is where Beijing or Macau’s Beijing Kitchen (滿堂彩)  really excel. 


Lychee Wood Open Oven -
The only one of its kind in Hong Kong,  which is surprising.  Even Park Hyatt’s Shatin 18 uses an inferior gas ovendespite being the sister restaurant of Beijing’s Made in China and Macau’s Beijing Kitchen both of which also use lychee wood for roasting.



Crystal Jelly Fish Meat  (水晶魚凍) -
Pressed fish meat with stock jelly.  These were a little weak in flavour,
wouldn’t be able to tell what I was eating if blind-folded.   ~   6/10


Pickled Turnip (醬蘿蔔) -
This was great and enjoyable,  also cooked well.  ~  10/10




Gelatine coated Deboned Duck Tongues (水晶鴨舌) - $55
The gelatin was set a little too hard and the taste was expectedly weak. 
I think this is hard to rate,  as the execution wasn’t wrong,  but the recipe itself was never going to be impressive….    ~   6.5/10




Salted Poached Duck Liver (鹽水鴨肝) -
The duck livers were of the right mousse-like texture but seriously lacked taste.
I developed a feeling by now that all cold appetizers here were going to be more bland than usual. May be even overly refrigerated ~   6/10



Bamboo Pith and Tofu (竹笙山水豆腐) -
A little bland in soy flavour and the bamboo pith too soft.  ~  6/10



Mushrooms Marinated in Oyster Sauce(醬油蘑菇) -
Surprisingly retaining a crunch and seasoned well,  and great presentation.  
~  8/10




Marinated Duck Giblets (繡球腎仁) -
Again notice the knife work, which is quite a Mainland Chinese novelty.  The giblets/kidneys were surprisingly done well here.   ~  9/10





Preserved Spicy Turnip and Silver Fungus in Flower Shape (一支獨秀) -
This requires Advance Order.  The presentation is pretty but this actually tasted quite appetizing with the hot and sour flavour mingling with the crunchiness of the turnip.   ~  8/10




Lychee Wood Roasted Peking Duck (烤北京填鴨) - $268
The one duck we looked forward to the most,  the slicing up of this duck was not as elegant as the ones in Beijing,  which are usually separated into 3 types of presentation.   The Duck Skin is not bad as it is crisp but it is definitely not crunchy like the real Pekinese version.   The duck meat was slightly too tepid cold upon serving,  even taking into consideration of the short period we were taking photos.     Overall,  this was ok-decent but not exceptional  ~   6.9/10




Julienned Scallions, Melon, Cucumber and Roseheart Radish..
These were of good quality actually,  which made up for the duck.
These are usually found in real Beijing Pekinese Duck restaurants.




Colourful Duck Wrap..
Mandarin Crepes were decently thin, but just a tad moist.




Stir Fried Duck mince and Preserved Vegetables in Wheat Bun (鴨肉末麥包) -
The bun was dry.  The duck meat with the preserved veggies were done well with a subtle hint of genuine reduced sauce taste,  rather than MSG.  



Bun let it down a bit…
~  6.9/10



Sesame Pastry and Fried Duck Mince (二鬆炒鴨末 ~ 叉子燒餅) -
The sesame pastries were quite flakily good and aromatic.  The Duck meat this time mixed with pinenuts were quite decent.   ~   8/10

Duck meat in the Sesame Pastry..




Soaked Vegetables with Yunnan Wild Mushroom (雲南野菌浸翡翠) -
This was just like a normal stir-fry dish,  but the mushrooms as expected were completely tasteless both in ingredients quality and cooking.   ~   4/10





Braised Duck Meat with Special Sauce (大紅三杯烤鴨架) -
A dish normally made from chicken instead of duck,  the version tonight was not hot at all,  like the Taiwanese version.  There also wasn’t much rice alcohol’s taste.   Not really as authentic in taste or rich enough,  a little disappointed.   ~  6/10


Sauteed Chinese Cabbage (開水白菜) -
This is actually a Sichuan dish and without checking the menu first I thought it was another familiar dish from up North.  The broth is meant to be quite gamey from the duck/chicken and pork knuckles but this was a little weak.  Although this was decent personally since it retains the sweetness of the original Chinese Cabbage !   ~  7/10




Stir Fried Beef Ribs (胡同牛肋肉) -
We needed some more meat,  and this last order was surprisingly decent.  The meat was just tender and the sauce nicely tuned.  Not sure as to it’s authenticity to Beijing cuisine however,  as I thought the original recipe is Lamb based.   Nevertheless  ~   8/10


Duck Meat and Rice Wrapped with Lotus Leaf (荷香包鴨飯) -
I have never heard of other friends dining on the same night or other nights,  except for myself.  I actually enjoyed this,  may be because I like the interior to be a bit more moist whereas the rice here was still fluffy enough and not all caked together.  ~   7/10




Pea Flour Cake with Red Beans (慈禧豌豆黃) -
Another Beijing traditional dessert.  For some reason this had a really strong pea flour taste to the point it was overwhelming.   Also set a little too hard.     ~  6.5/10




Glutinous Rice Rolls with Sweet Bean Flour (金陵驢打滾) -
This dessert is named the same as a Chiu Chow cuisine dish,  but this is the correct Beijing version.  This was again a topic of heated debate,  as it tasted just so grassy !   It doesn’t look like it would but it carried an overwhelmingly strong but unexpected taste.  Texture was decent however….   ~   6/10




Ducklings (小鴨子酥) -
Looked better than it tastes.  A little crumbly with a dryish filling.    ~   5/10




士多啤梨汁豆沙窩餅  (Fried Red bean Paste Crepes with Strawberry Sauce) -
The strawberry sauce doesn’t work with red beans.  The problem with this dessert was that it was slightly thickish hard yet under-fried before it is crispy enough.   ~   5/10



Fried Oat Coated Sweet Potato (貝勒燕蕃薯) -
This was the only decent dessert out of the 4 which was more normal.  Not oily at all and not overly sweetened,  good job finally.   ~   8/10




This Restaurant slightly surpassed my own expectations..
I think others didn’t quite admire it.   I guess I’ve had some pretty ordinary meals in Beijing before,  where the food looked better than they tasted,  to made me reset and adjust my expectations.
The appetisers were certainly aiming to replicate a Beijing experience,  some are decent some were bland.   The Duck wasn’t as good as I had come to expect and could be carved more expertly to be more of a proper modern Pekinese Duck restaurant.  I will post some other Beijing meals after this for comparison  Smile



Price:  $250
Ease of Access:   4.5/5 (Above Tsim Sha Tsui Station,  K-11 Mall exit)
Food:  ♕♕♕1/2 to ♕♕♕♕

Opening Hours -
Mon to Sun   11am – 11pm
Address: 尖沙咀河內道18號K11購物藝術館2樓221號舖
Shop 221, Level 2, K11 Art Mall, 18 Hanoi Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
Ph: 2628 0662


  1. Never thought a Peking Duck specialist restaurant could look so upscale with lots of great presentation for their dishes. Very impressive, even though some of the dishes did not taste as good. Definitely way better than anything in the USA. What was the theme ingredient used in the Japanese Iron Chef TV episode when the Hung Sing chef went over there to compete?

  2. Mira hotel's peking duck is the best i've ever had thus far. I love peking duck. Despite my acne. hehehehe

  3. Ohhh i'm glad you did a review on this place! My friends and I were going to check it out, but then I wasn't sure i it was worth it :P but now that you've said that it's surpassed your expectations I feel better hahaha I really like the Peking Duck at Spring Deer :D

  4. I will reply this later after I post my next review, just for comparison. : )



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