February 15 2021

Review: Peking Restaurant takeaway

The Chinese New Year parties may be over for another year, but seriously, when do we ever need an excuse for a Chinese takeaway?

The Year of the Ox came early to Pig Guide HQ this year; not only did we start the celebrations a whole week early, but we did it all over again on Chinese New Year’s Eve. Why? Because we live in Bath, and we’re lucky enough to have The Peking Restaurant on our doorstep.

The Peking has flown the flag for Bath’s independent food businesses for over three decades now, making it not only the city’s longest-established Chinese restaurant but one of Bath’s longest-established restaurants, period. It’s one of my go-to hotspots when I know what I want, and I know what I want will be very, very good here; I don’t really even have to read the menu anymore, but I read it just because I love it, and then I order what I love. But this time around we took ourselves on a little adventure and put our order in the very capable hands of Peking proprietor Jun, who bought the business from his dad a handful of years ago.

In Chinese culture, the main focus for owning a business is about stability for the family, and the generations down,” says Jun. “I believe that the reason the Peking has remained so popular in Bath is because we still run it as a family. If someone else ran it I don’t think it would work as well; even if they did exactly the same thing as we do, it wouldn’t be the same, because it wouldn’t be ours.” Indeed, when ‘normal’ service (as in, eat-in) is resumed, you may well encounter the the legendary Mr Wong keeping a keen eye on proceedings during service, making sure that the business is still very much “theirs.” But The Peking is also still very much “ours” too. And so…

It isn’t easy to drag my focus away from my usual Kung Po King Prawns, Crispy Fried Shredded Beef with Chilli, Chicken Breast in Lemon Delight – but Jun had other ideas for us this time around.

We started with Crispy Aromatic Duck that totally lived up to its name: crunchy yet juicy, fatty but not cloyingly so, rich in divine Chinese spices and served, of course, with papery pancakes, spring onion/cucumber batons and the kind of plum sauce that you’d happily slather yourself in five nights a week.

We moved on to fresh, fat, tender scallops in a vigorously funky black bean sauce, spicy, sweet and salty but carefully balanced in order to allow the scallops’ vibrant personality to shine through. We had bracingly hot, chilli-laden Szechuan King Prawns: huge prawns, big flavours, totally, excitingly addictive. There was chicken in a sauce that’s become my latest obsession, too: pungent, earthy Yellow Bean, sweetly savoury, fascinatingly complex. Noodles? Singapore Rice Noodles, no less, curry-tinged and tumbled with fresh vegetables and shrimp. And of course we had Egg Fried Rice as well, because Jun obviously decided that it would be wrong not to – and he was very, very right.

I can’t wait to take to a beautifully-dressed table in the Peking again, nodding hello to Mr Wong and chatting with Jun about wine, and food, and all the good things in life. But thank goodness it’s still possible to have a taste of all those good things in life, at home, courtesy of The Peking.

Begin your own voyage of discovery by browsing the full Peking menu here. Or just ask Jun to put a feast together for you; you won’t regret it…

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