Peking duck. The words flow off the tongue don’t they? Peeeeekiiiiing duck. When Thang Ngo, writer of noodlies, kindly invited me along with a pow-wow with other food bloggers at Dan’s House, I couldn’t wait for the Peking duck.
Dan’s House is the brainchild of Diana Ren and it is her first restaurant in Australia. The official opening is April 26 but we got a sneak preview to the restaurant.
Dan’s House is located on the first floor of a new building on George St, between World Square and Capitol Theatre. There’s a variety of seating from booths to long tables and an outdoor area.
The décor is clean and modern but perhaps lacks direction. We were greeted by an army of chefs making noodles in the kitchen.
First up, we are brought the cold tofu with salmon sashimi mixed with sweet soy sauce and wasabi. It is an interesting dish to look at, with the salmon pieces balanced delicately on the top of the tofu with caviar and a shallot balanced on the dish. The Szechuan-style sauce surrounds the structure. The tofu has a beautiful texture and is the perfect temperature of “not too hot and not too cold” and I really like the combination. The sauce was probably my favourite element of this dish as you can really taste both sweet and sour and there’s a kick of chilli to keep you happy.
It may not look like much, but Dan’s garden salad was incredibly tasty. The lettuce and tomatoes were crunchy and very fresh. Diana told us that the salad produce was not “just from a supermarket”, which I assume means they get it from the markets or pick it from their own garden. Fried noodles accompany the salad, which have a nice crunch. The dressing has a hint of soy sauce and mustard.
Next up was probably the most interesting dish of the day. The chefs brought out the skin of the Peking duck, presented on lettuce leaves. We were instructed to dip the skins in sugar, which was a bit mind-boggling at the start, but it really balanced out the saltiness and oils. A must try.
We were all really excited about Dan’s House signature dish, Dan’s “Superlean” Peking Duck with pancakes and condiments. According to Diana, the Australian duck is really different to the ones in Peking, as they are much leaner. The Peking duck at Dan’s House takes two days to cook. The dish comes out with four compartments: pancakes, two types of duck slices and vegetables.
Some restaurants I’ve been to, the waiters serve you the Peking duck, already in the pancake. But at Dan’s House, part of the fun is to make your own pancake. The duck was juicy, tender, bursting with flavours, its skin glistening in the light. I wasn’t such a huge fan of the pancakes though, which were lightly dusted with too much flour. With that being said, I wanted all of the Peking duck to myself!
My second-favourite dish followed the Peking duck, which were the fried scallops in XO sauce. Again I could see the Szechuan influence of this dish, with a hint of chilli oil in the sauce as well. The scallops were fresh and quite large as well. Again I could’ve eaten the whole dish by myself. The presentation of the dish was also great with a cylinder of fried noodle, which reminded me of a slinky toy.
What probably drew the biggest ums and ahs of the afternoon was the wagyu beef on a stone plate, with red wine and garlic sauce. The head chef poured red wine over the beef, which produced a delicious sizzle. The beef was tender and very juicy, cooked to a medium rare. Delicious.
Another dish I really like was the pan-fried noodle cake, which was crispy and a little bit sweet. A great interlude from the savoury dishes.
We were then served the “Longevity noodle” with Zhajiang sauce, a traditional Shanxi dish served on someone’s birthday. The dish is made up of one single noodle. You’re meant to start eating from the end of the noodle and eat to the end without breaking it, as it implies a long-life and prosperity. The dish is topped with a bit of mince, and I could definitely taste the Szechuan influence again. A fantastic dish.
To be honest I was a bit confused by the last dish when it was brought out. There was a tower of sticks, arranged like an Indian tepee, with balls of toffee apple on the bottom. It came out steaming hot and you’re meant to take the toffee before it sticks together and dip it in the cold water. It was a bit sweet for my liking.
The view I got from Dan’s House after their spectacular banquet was they put a lot of thought into their food, and have tweaked their modern Chinese cuisine for an Australian audience. Their service is prompt and they explained all of the dishes well. Just their Peking duck alone is worth a try and also seeing the chefs prepare the longevity noodles is worth it alone.
It was such good fun sharing a meal with fellow food bloggers. Please check out their blogs!
Angie – angielivestoeat.blogspot.com
Penny – jeroxie.com
Thang – noodlies.com
Lauren – corridorkitchen.com
Shaun – everybodylovesramen.org
Simon – theheartoffood.com
shiitake and stuff dined as a guest of Dan’s House.