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Canberra Today 8°/9° | Monday, July 4, 2022 | Digital Edition | Crossword & Sudoku

Food for a king, pity about the service

The duck comes in a fancy box, so ambitions are high with promises of food fit for a king or queen, writes dining reviewer WENDY JOHNSON.

PALACE style meets artful Chinese fusion at No. 9 Palace in Dickson. 

Wendy Johnson.

The menu flags recommended dishes and uses chillies symbols to rank heat. Fresh ingredients are sourced as much as possible from local farmers’ markets. 

We were off to a royal start with the entrees. The traditional duck rolls ($14) were light and crispy on the outside, packed with succulent pieces of roasted duck and crunch came with the cucumber. The house-made earthy hoisin was delish. No. 9 Palace was accommodating with the number of pieces provided for our party of five.

The “Salmon Royal Boat” featured cubes of moist fish, slightly fried ($16), perched on lettuce and the dish ramped up with lime, honey, ginger and Thai chilli sauce. 

Stunning presentation followed with dumplings shaped to look like goldfish (which promise good fortune at Chinese New Year). The eyes are steamed red beans and the glorious goldfish, stuffed with a steamed fish and prawn mixture, swam in a creamy, green bean and vegetable sauce ($8 for two pieces).

For mains, we applauded the generous service of Wagyu teriyaki beef cubes with the king oyster sauce adding that umami factor ($32). The popcorn chicken was fun and lively, but not heavy on the heat. Grandma’s yummy chicken lived up to its promise of a mighty hot three-chilli (green and red) rating. The dish is cooked with Szechuan pickled peppers ($26). 

The Palace roast duck was crowned for its beautiful presentation, arriving in an impressive red-lacquer box decorated with flowers. The duck was full of flavour and served with salty flying fish roe ($36).

The dish that made us yawn was the Dancing Eggplant ($22). It was bland and we agreed the batter was a bit heavy.

Traditional dishes include the Mao Xue Wang ($38), served with duck blood, beef tripe, pork intestine, clams, prawns and a spicy broth. Banquets start at $55 per person and rise to $225 per person.

The wine list is compact and reasonably priced with glasses as low as $14. Our award-winning Austrian white was $35 a bottle and the Beaujolais French red $33. No. 9 Palace is also BYO. A bottle of Chinese liquor sets customers back $398.

The royal treatment didn’t extend from food to service. We repeatedly had to call the person waiting on us to ask for the obvious – wine glasses, water, clean bowls, the bill and more. No-one asked if we enjoyed our food and there was a fair bit of confusion when ordering. 

On a final note, avoid sitting near the kitchen area. It’s noisy and visually unattractive when the dividing curtain isn’t down.

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Wendy Johnson

Wendy Johnson

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