Orient Kitchen has been open at the Weston Creek shops for about a month now. There are so many restaurants in Weston Creek that I haven’t yet had the opportunity to dine at, but when I saw glazed roasted ducks hanging from the window at Orient Kitchen, I couldn’t resist going in and checking out the menu. Nothing on the regular menu is over $20 except for the whole serves of BBQ meats. You can get a whole roast duck for $29.80 while a half serve is $15.80. There’s also roast crackling pork, soya chicken, BBQ pork, homemade pork sausages and mixed BBQ platters available. Visit 1 involved purchasing a half serve of BBQ pork ($14.80) to take away for lunch. Yum! The portion of BBQ pork didn’t fill up the entire take away box and I think it’s a slightly smaller serve than what you can get at the Dumpling Inn in Woden. However, the quality of the meat was fantastic! The BBQ pork was melt-in-your-mouth tender and not fatty. No dry gristly bits! It took restraint not to finish the whole thing in one sitting, but I made sure there was enough for leftovers.
There a 4 types of home made dumplings on the menu ($11.80 for 12 pieces) which come with your choice of pan fried or steamed. I ordered the pan fried chicken with garlic chive dumplings. There were lots of chives and not as much chicken. It wasn’t too garlicky either. The dumpling skin was a good thickness with a nice glossy sheen and crunchy around the edges.
Lunch specials are from $12.80 and change regularly. Items such as beef and black bean with rice, and chicken laksa were on the specials menu AND came with a drink. I would’ve taken advantage of the lunch special but I was really craving the roast duck laksa ($14.20). This was served in a huge bowl.
Unfortunately, there were too few good meaty bits of duck, it was mostly all bone and there was effort required to suck out what meat was on the bone. The laksa soup was quite watery and just didn’t have that flavoursome kick that I was after. Not the best laksa I’ve had.
By lunch time, the entire restaurant was packed out! The restaurant is small and fits less than 30 people. There was one waitress there running the whole show with a shifu at the front chopping up the BBQ meats, and chefs in the kitchen.
J and I went back to the restaurant for dinner one weeknight. We ordered the pork and vegetable dumplings ($11.80) and asked if it was possible to try 6 steamed and 6 pan fried. As we had arrived later in the evening for dinner and there weren’t many diners, the chef was happy to oblige. These dumplings seemed much larger than the chicken ones. The steamed dumplings were soft with smooth dumpling skin, and again an appropriate thickness so that it held the filling without breaking. I would have liked a bit more pork in the filling but I was still happy with it. Lots of chives which I love. The dumplings came served with vinegar and sliced ginger. My only complaint is that the dipping bowls were too small for the dumplings, meaning the vinegar would be sloshed out of the bowl while awkwardly trying to dip both ends of the dumpling for maximum vinegar coverage.
J wanted his usual – beef and black bean ($13.80). We were both pleasantly surprised to find large thickly cut chunks of beef and plenty of it. The beef were good cuts, soft, easy to chew, and very satisfying. He was happy to take half of this home for lunch the next day as we couldn’t finish everything.
I picked the XO seafood combination ($17.80) under the House Specials menu consisting of wok-fried fish, king prawns and squid in a spicy sauce. The first thing I noticed was all of the onion. Lots and lots of onion. However, I was really impressed with the way the seafood was cooked. All 3 seafood items cooked to perfection. I especially loved the fish which came in huge chunks and was so soft you didn’t really need to chew it. It just melted in your mouth. The snow peas were a gorgeous shade of green and most importantly, crunchy. The chilli was very mild providing a slight tingle but no real heat. Overall a really tasty dish with large chunks of seafood but too much onion.
We wanted fried rice and with only a 40c different between the small and large sizes, we went for the large fried rice ($6.20). This had ham, prawns, chives and egg in it, and I could smell the sesame oil as soon as it was placed on the table. The fried rice was basic but tasty, and what a great price! I’m not sure where else you could get a large fried rice for under $7? Then again, J and I realised we hadn’t been to a cheap Chinese restaurant in a long time. It doesn’t help that my mum can pretty much make everything on the menu and is pretty critical of Chinese restaurants. This was a very large serving and we didn’t finish it between the two of us. Our individual rice bowls were noticeably shallow. It just means you can’t be greedy and top up your bowl with all sorts of items. J said it makes you eat slower because he couldn’t scoop up as much food with a shallow bowl.
We both enjoyed our dinner and had leftovers to take with us. I’m always greeted warmly when I arrive and after the bill is paid. Service standards are on par with other Asian restaurants and always provided with a smile. There is no rushed feeling so you can sit and talk for as long as you want. Best of all, the prices are inexpensive and portion sizes are on the larger side. Some very minor criticisms are the small dipping bowls, small shallow bowls for rice and the timber banquette seats along the walls were too high for the table, so I had to slouch down to eat. The regular chairs are of adequate height.
Orient Kitchen is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner. It’s located on Brierly Street at the Weston Creek shops. Take away and home delivery is available. I will be back for more cheap and cheery Chinese food (and the mixed BBQ platter!).
Value for money 9/10
FPJ score 25/30
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