by JENNY D’ANGER
THE grizzled, grey-haired bloke in the high-vis working clobber looked incongruous, sitting alone in a sea of Asian diners–most wearing suits.
But his enthusiastic farewell for the Hong Kong BBQ House staff proved he’s a regular.
The Northbridge eatery has earned quite a reputation for its barbecue duck, and given the number of trips staff triumphantly carried plates, large and small, of glistening brown bird past our table you could be forgiven for thinking it’s the only thing on the menu.
Which of course it’s not, although my lunch companion obligingly ordered a half-serve ($22), half of which she took home after trying valiantly to get through the huge portion.
“It was rather oily, but juicy and packed with Chinese spices. I could taste cinnamon and possibly star anise,” she said, happily licking her fingers.
There was a bit of confusion over the menu, and we were handed a much reduced, non-Asian lunch version. It was soon happily sorted and the more extensive menu, with the many fish dishes I’d been promised, soon appeared.
Having eye-balled the fish, rock lobsters and huge crabs in the aquariums at the front as we walked in, I avoided ordering anything that sounded like something I’d had a passing relationship with, no matter how fleeting.
Cod fillet with ginger and shallot ($24) sounded a safe bet. And playing it safe really paid off with my mate and I both loving the firm fish pieces, and chunks of onion, all heavily laced with refreshing ginger.
A side serve of slender beans, mushroom and chilli ($18) also went down a treat and I was impressed by the huge container of rice delivered to our table.
For the really adventurous the menu includes jellyfish with shredded chicken ($16.50) and fried intestine ($24), along with stewed trotters in special sauce, which must be pretty special at $50.
Lunch was washed down by some particularly good Chinese tea ($6 a pot for two) and my mate was ready for dessert, having switched from her full savoury stomach to her empty sweet one.
“The sago pudding [$6] was light and refreshing and fresh watermelon made it more so—and balanced the coconut milk,” was the verdict.
For authentic, no-nonsense Chinese this place is definitely worth a visit.
Hong Kong BBQ House
76 Francis Street, Northbridge
open 7 days for lunch and dinner