One Saturday afternoon, J and I walked around Dickson to find somewhere to have lunch. There are still so many places in Dickson I am yet to visit. We passed by Empire BBQ Cafe which I don’t remember seeing before. It replaced the upstairs food court that had been there for years.
A glance at the menu plastered on the window outside showed relatively cheap prices and as both J and I were after some roast duck, the ‘BBQ’ part caught our stomachs. The space upstairs is massive and there’s a nice waiting area for those buying take away. I had never dined at the old food court but I don’t think much has changed with a mix of bright red slightly torn booths and green plastic dining chairs.
There were roasted ducks, BBQ pork, roast pork and sausages hanging behind a plastic screen. We were provided with a thermal jug of hot black tea along with two different menus. One menu listed the BBQ meat dishes including peking duck pancakes and BBQ quail, noodles, chow mein, congee and rice dishes. The second menu listed a few of the same items but also had entrees and soups, various curry rice dishes, and dishes listed under different proteins – chicken, beef, steak, prawn, pork and lamb. I must admit the menu isn’t the most authentic and is catered more towards Aussie tastes.
We started off with the vegetarian spring rolls ($6 for a serve of four). This, as well as our mains, came out literally within 5 minutes of ordering. There was only one other occupied table apart from ours and I think they had finished eating. The spring rolls were a golden brown in colour, wonderfully crispy and were so moreish.
I ordered the two mixed BBQ with soft noodles ($14.80) and chose roast duck and BBQ pork as my two mixed BBQ options. It was a larger portion size than expected with the BBQ meats on one plate, and a whole bowl of soft noodles lightly drizzled with an oyster/soy sauce mix with some bok choy on top. Both meats were succulent and deliciously good. A very filling dish so I’m glad we decided to share everything.
J ordered the shredded duck stretched noodles ($15.80) under the ‘chow mein’ menu. Gathering from the description, I assumed ‘stretched noodles’ were pulled handmade noodles and I was right. Lightly coated in dark soy sauce, the noodles were fat and juicy. There were several large chunks of shredded duck. I was happy to find only a few slices of onion and not a whole bunch which is what tends to happen to bulk up a dish. Very satisfying.
We were both happy and extremely full after lunch. Don’t be put off by the slightly tattered decor. The dishes are mostly cheap and cheerful with generous portions. I thought $8.80 for a wonton soup was a bit steep but the majority of dishes were well priced. Half a BBQ roast duck will set you back $14.80 which is on par with other Chinese restaurants like Orient Kitchen in Weston Creek. Empire BBQ has a wider selection of meats available for purchase including salt baked chicken (don’t think I’ve ever tried that), roast pei pa duck, steamed duck, BBQ quail, BBQ pork rib and more. There are also 9 types of congee available as well as fried bread sticks to go with it.
Empire BBQ Cafe can be found at 28 Woolley Street on the main strip at the Dickson shops. Open seven days for lunch and dinner. $20 minimum eftpos with 2% surcharge.
Value for money 8/10
FPJ score 23.5/30
If you want more random photos and updates about food, I’m on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram