Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Old Kingdom: Go Duck Yourself

Old Kingdom
197 Smith St

Telephone: 03 9417 2438

Opening Hours: As Seen On Screen

Old Kingdom is the kind of Melbourne stalwart that gives the finger to anything fancy, frivolous or frou-frou.

The method of dining here is simple and wouldn't you know it - lyrical too.

You book for luck
You come eat duck
You leave your buck.

Yes. I rhyme.

The menu here is extensive. I'm not sure why, I've never used it (and nor has anyone I've ever observed in all the years I've been coming here). This is because all the ordering is done over the telephone when you make your booking.

"Are you coming at 6pm or 8pm?"
"How many people?"
"How many ducks?"

Easy. And releases early dinner conversation from the painful and political process of tentative "what-would-you-like-s" when dining in a group. Rule of thumb: order one duck per two persons if they're of the vociferous edibilus variety, three if they are of normalus appetitus.

If you're a Kingdom virgin (salute my days as a gaming geek), you'll be subjected to the initiation process of how-to-place-your-duck described to death everywhere and even YouTubed here.
All the servers have been trained to do it, but the inaugural delivery may be attributed to ol' Simon, so if it's his you desire you'll need to go on a Friday night. Sometimes Saturday.

Otherwise, you may waive such foreplay and get straight down to the dirty-dirty.

$55 per duck will get you three courses, and a choice of where you want to sit.



Preface: Service is very efficient here but sometimes friendly and sometimes not which, unfortunately, is the wont of many Chinese restaurants. I find that if they recognize you from previous visits, they're nicer. But when I leave the family behind and go incognito with others, my filial-lessness is occasionally punished with a 'tude.

Either way, your experience begins and ends with an empty plate.

A smokin' hot duck is brought out from the kitchen in full, unadorned glory.

To demonstrate the crispiness of the duck, the head is snapped off. Viewer discretion is advised.

A whirr of knifing ensues. Slices of caramel-crisp skin crack open to reveal moist, yielding fat and flesh.

These are shaved onto the plate as the duck is split, quartered and laid to bare before its remains are coquettishly whipped away to be made up and returned in other guises.

Paper-thin sheets of crepe are provided to cover up the modesty of your meat. And the sweet sauce, spring onion, and cucumber make fantastic bedfellows.


The second course is a fun, fried frolic of flesh in a field of beansprouts. It's not rocket science, but it is rollicking! You have the option of a refillable rice accompaniment to your stir-fry for an additional $1.80 per person.

And finally, as you stretch back in satisfaction, the third course arrives. A light, reassuring duck broth which I always think is wasted on bulging bellies as it's really very good but never fairly enjoyed. I imagine it's meant to be a palate cleanser, but it doesn't skimp on flavour! And of course, I adore anything with tofu added, anything at all.

Spill out on the street later for a post-coital smoke if you must, but remember that Old Kingdom is old faithful. Take advantage of the complimentary carcasses - as many as you can carry - and bring them home to meet the parents! Useful for stock, or you know - a lonely night with the lights turned low!

Come again? Over and over!

Old Kingdom on Urbanspoon


  1. haha! I've been once and it was nuts. Of course my mum and aunties asked for the carcasses so we could go home and make porridge... we left with like 2 big bags full!

  2. darnit, i didnt get to try this when i was down last wk, oh why didnt u blog abt this earlier?

  3. I know this other duck place out in the 'burbs that most definitely gives Old Kingdom a run for its money. Only problem is you need a car. May I suggest Grand Theft Auto-ing your sisters?

  4. No need to GTA my car, just say the word and I'll be over in a couple of shakes of a porcupine's hindquarters!

    (I would NEVER forgive you if you went without me!)

  5. I am a home-made stock obsessive and want to go just for the carcasses!!!

  6. Shellie: Mums and aunts are the best - my mum and aunt asked for 13 between them once! Ballsy!

    Joe: Ooh, awfully sorry Joe - gives you an incentive to return hopefully? I enjoy your blog when I'm back in KL! =o)

    Yunny: WHERE in the burbs?! How have you kept this from me for so long??

    Sister: ...No pressure then.

    Ms Baklover: It's statements like that that'll get you arrested! But thanks for dropping by - how do you keep your stock from getting oily??

  7. Did not take home any carcasses. Kicking myself now... :(
    To keep the stock from getting oily. Refrigerate and then when it forms a layer, just scoop it away.

  8. Were you standing to take all these pictures?? They look like a view from the ceiling!! Hahaha... Ooooo.. crispy duck skin! Have I posted this up?

  9. Penny: Thanks for the tip! My mum suggested spooning the oil slowly away with a sieve/strainer but that seemed like a lot more work!

    I-Hua: Fantastic obvservational skills! I was at the top of the stairs for both pictures! =o)

  10. ahhhh old kingdom...the only place for a proper duck fix!!! Its been nearly 3 months since my last duck orgy....might be time for the next one!!

  11. hey! how come I didn't get the head? i feel gypped!