Saturday, 11 January 2014

Peking duck @ Mr Wei's

The first time I went to Mr Wei's, I wasn't too impressed with the entrees but found the mains were really tasty (and pricey). Specialising in Beijing roast duck (aka Peking duck), I knew I had to come back to try it out. On a Thursday night, some friends and I were deciding where to go for dinner in civic. We were looking at the Mr Wei's menu displayed outside, deciding whether to eat there or go elsewhere, when the waitress came outside to try and lure us in. I did feel the pressure to oblige! We inquired about the half portion of Peking duck ($48.90) and whether it was enough to share between the three of us. She informed us that the half duck is good to share between two, and the full duck shared between four. She then suggested we get some entrees on top of the half duck if it wasn't filling enough. That sounded good to us.

There was only a table of two in the restaurant so it was very quiet. It didn't take long for 12 thin warm pancakes to arrive folded in half on a small tray. The cucumber and shallots were crunchy and fresh. The Peking duck came out served on a cute platter. I was expecting the duck to come out on a plate while the wait staff carved the skin, but since we only ordered half a duck, I guess they couldn't really do that.
The duck meat was sliced thinly with a bit of soft skin on top. It looked pretty good on the plate. The meat itself was soft, juicy and tasty. However, this isn't the Peking duck that I'm used to with the dark red skin and awesome sweet flavour so I couldn't help but feel a tad disappointed. I thought it was more of a roast duck (and yes that is what's stated on the menu). Don't get me wrong, there was nothing wrong with this duck - no bones and quite a bit of meat. It's just not like any Peking duck I've been served and I was looking forward to the large chunks of dark skin and meat served on prawn crackers. I was still happy with the quality though.
The half duck comes with the option of duck soup or duck fried rice. (You get both with the whole duck for $89.90). We chose the fried rice which was cooked really well, although there wasn't that much duck meat.
We also ordered the prawn pan fried dumplings ($14.50 for 12 pieces). I quite like how they all came out kind of stuck together. These were stuffed with a prawn mince, onion and chive mixture, and served with dumpling vinegar. Very subtle flavours but these weren't bad.
Between the three of us, the bill came to $63 or $21 each. Although it doesn't sound like much - 4 duck pancakes, some fried rice and 4 dumplings each, I thought it was a really good feed. I must admit I wasn't particularly hungry that night either, but the half duck is meant to be shared between 2 people and not 3.

Service was extremely attentive and our waiter topped up our glasses of water several times during the evening. The wait staff's grasp of the English language isn't great but they try to understand and assist you the best way they can - all with a friendly smile.

At the moment, Mr Wei's is running a promotion where if you order the Beijing duck, you get 50% off Beijing duck on your next visit. A card with this offer was given after paying our bill. Our waitress informed us of this offer at the start and mentioned the promotion was running this month and next month. I confirmed this when paying our bill and was told (by another) that there is no expiry date on the promotion yet. It's a safe bet that it will be running the rest of January anyway. I'm not sure if the half price duck is for a half duck or a full duck - the card doesn't actually specify.

Although not the Peking duck that I am used to, the duck here is still of good quality and there's more than just bones and fat. So I will go back (and use the promotional offer) and would love to try out some other mains, like their taro flavoured duck as well. Love duck!

Mr Wei's is located on London Circuit outside the Canberra Theatre.

Foodgasm 7/10
Mr Wei's on Urbanspoon

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