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Even though it is windowless (as it is located in the basement of Alexandra House), Peking Garden in Central is comfortable and cosy in its own way. But ultimately, its decor is not one to wow diners with. It has the look of a typical middle-to-upper market Chinese restaurant in Hong Kong – just classy enough. The restaurant is far bigger than it looks from the entrance with extra dining rooms in the back. This allows for tables that are well-spaced for maximum comfort. The noise level is perfectly balanced so it is easy to have a relaxing, casual meal at Peking Garden.
Peking Garden has been famous in Hong Kong since the 70’s, but perhaps it is showing its age. At a restaurant with this name, one would expect the signature Peking duck (HK$380) to be exceptional. And yet it is just good. The colour of the duck is coffee-brown rather than a robust and glistening reddish-dark brown while the skin is not quite crispy enough. Recommended by staff, sautéed sliced beef with spring onion (HK$95) again doesn’t quite hit the mark. While seasoned well, the beef itself carries a disappointing texture, having clearly been tenderised by the hand of man. Pan-fried string beans with dried vegetables and minced pork (HK$98) lacks a bit of wok heat and char, resulting in another dish that is only just tasty enough. However, another restaurant signature – deep-fried sliced fish with sweet and sour sauce (HK$180) – did in fact hit the spot. The fish is sliced thick and holds up well against the batter. Smothered with sweet and sour sauce to finish, it is simply fun to eat. Don’t go looking for refined and delicate flavours here; this dish is about unleashing the inner child with a plate of deep-fried goodness for adults.
If you are very particular about your wine, then you might want to bring your own bottle to Peking Garden and absorb the HK$200 corkage charge. There are no wines by the glass, and a small page each for reds and whites.
Peking Garden service is warm and composed. They do their job efficiently and enthusiastically. Here, there is no place for that begrudging smile one often sees at local Chinese restaurants. Peking Garden’s staff has been trained well and they seem genuinely pleased to serve diners with professionalism and warmth.
Dinner for two without wine will cost about HK$500 to HK$600, but this can rise if you order some of Peking Garden’s seafood delicacies or bird’s nest. In all, Peking Garden is priced fairly for their great service and acceptable food.