18 Elgin St, Soho, Central
Visited 25th May 2010
Soho is certainly not renowned for its Chinese restaurants and I've got no idea why we ended up at this place. Peking Cuisine is a little restaurant at the bottom of Elgin Street. It’s decked out with a bit of Chinese style clutter and is small and ‘intimate’.
The menu is full of the predictable greatest hits of Beijing. Initially we ordered stir-fried noodles and braised eggplant with pork, but were told the eggplant was a tiny serve(!) so we added a plate of roast mutton. The eggplant came first and it was OK. This dish is always going to be oily, but I would have liked have seen more pork, chilli and seasoning to accompany the oil that smothered the eggplant. Next was the roast mutton and it was spectacular. I’ve had this dish a few times before and love it, though the serves are never big enough. The version we got offered at Peking Cuisine was great; soft, meltingly tender slices of lamb, crisp top and delectable fragrant seasoning; awesome stuff. The plate of noodles came tossed with slithers of pork, bean sprouts, capsicum and onion. Though the noodles were well cooked and nicely al dente, the whole dish was seasoned really strangely seasoned and tasted almost sour. To drink we were told we couldn't have tap water so instead of buying a beer as I planned, I had nothing.
OK, so Chinese in Soho? What we ate at Peking Cuisine was a bit of a mixed bag, the mutton was excellent, the eggplant OK and the noodles pretty average. The service was also kind of ambivalent; the lady who took our order was friendly and helpful, though her 'advice' that the eggplant was "really small" just seemed a thinly veiled attempt to get us to buy more. My big grip however is that we were told that we couldn't have a glass of tap water. This attitude makes me furious with its short sightedness and blatant disregard for the environment. The food wasn't ridiculous, but it certainly wasn't a bargain: the noodles were $88, the eggplant $79 and the mutton $118. While Peking Cuisine was kind of OK I really can't see why you'd bother when there are so many great Beijing style restaurants in Hong Kong; I certainly will not be heading back anytime soon.