If any of these dishes look familiar, it's because they were prepared by Eric Wong, the former head chef of one of Chinatown's most prominent restaurants - BBQ King. In a courageous step, Eric has recently opened up his own restaurant, self-titled, as Eric's BBQ.
In a more family-oriented location, at Canterbury Club Hotel, Eric's BBQ showcases his twenty plus years of experience in the roast duck and barbecue pork (char siu) arena and his passion in serving generous portions, as he would at home.
Tonight, I'm here with Zen and my dear friends Bec and Jonno and their gorgeous girl, Nat. We start with the San Choy Bow ($12 for 4 pieces) and Peking Duck ($5 per piece).
I've always been a fan of San Choy Bow. I adore the cold crisp lettuce cup and its contrast with the piping hot and stir fried filling. The lettuce cups are trimmed into perfect circles and generously filled with a flavoursome combination of chicken, bamboo, onion, carrot, deep-fried vermicelli and a sprinkle of sesame seeds.
Eating a San Choy Bow without spilling the filling proves to be tricky maneuver to master. Experience has taught us to eat a few spoonfuls of the mixture first before wrapping up the sides, but we are creatures of habit...
Unlike at BBQ King where Eric had access to large rotisserie-like utilities, the duck we are served in the Peking Duck has been prepared in a tiny bistro kitchen. The glossy crisp skin and tender meat doesn't show any signs of the kitchen's inconvenience, and tastes amazing.
Peking Duck is sometimes served deconstructed but here, they are brought out in neatly arranged piles. Each serve is made up of a warm pancake, hoisin sauce, a stick of cucumber and spring onion and a rather large piece of the succulent roast duck - meat and skin intact. On the first bite, I taste the contrasting temperatures and the delicate aromas of the roast duck. With the second bite, I appreciate the richness of the duck and the crispiness of the skin and really enjoy the crunch of the cucumber and spring onion; and by the third bite, I reach a blissful state. Peking duck is one of those dishes that when done well, is so very incredible.
The main dishes we share are Stir-Fried Green Beans with Pork Mince, Sizzling Beef with Mixed Vegetables, Szechuan Chicken and the Shandong Chicken.
The Stir-Fried Green Beans with Pork Mince is meatier than what I have had else where and the green beans are also crispier and less fried. It is different to what I am used to but nonetheless mouth-watering good.
The Beef and Mixed Vegetable dish is served on a hot cast-iron pan; the sizzling sauce, bursting with fragrance. It features chunky pieces of broccoli, onion, mushrooms, baby corn and carrot - all perfectly cooked and lightly coated in sauce.
Due to my recent obsession with Szechuan peppers, the stand-out dish for me is the Szechuan chicken. Each piece of chicken is coated in a crisp batter and then fried with dry Szechuan peppers and whole chillis. The chicken is juicy and the overall result is deliciously punchy.
Lovers of garlic will love the Shandong Chicken dish - crispy skin chicken slices are dressed in a sweet soy vinegar, topped with minced garlic, fresh chilli and sliced spring onion and coriander and served on a bed of iceberg lettuce.
There's obviously too much food for four, so in an attempt to clear the dishes, we eat less rice. (We end up with two boxes of take away anyway which makes it to the table as tomorrow's breakfast!)
And lastly, dessert is a sweet red bean soup, fragrant with mandarin peel.
If you're after a good eat outside the hustle and bustle of Chinatown, Eric's BBQ is the perfect mix of old-school Chinese cooking and contemporary dining.
Canterbury Club Hotel
208 Canterbury Road, Canterbury, NSW
Phone: (02) 9787 3633
Canterbury & Bankstown Tennis and Bowling Club
61 Moxon Road Bankstown, NSW
Phone: (02) 9787 3633
(Note: update on Jan 2011 - new address)
JENIUS and friends dined as guests of Eric's BBQ.