A Swedish friend of mine, who studied Chinese in Beijing last summer, had told me to visit Private Kitchen for the best Peking duck in the city. This evening I therefore set off for Private Kitchen armed with Google Maps and a roaring appetite.
Private Kitchen was situated in a big office building/shopping center, and looked really fancy but I ventured inside and asked a lady dressed in pink from head to toe for a table for 1. “A table for 1…only one?!?!” she almost shouted back. I was just about to say that a larger table would also be fine, so I could fit in all my invisible friends, when she with a disapproving look on her face showed me to the worst table in the restaurant.
When the menu came, I told her that I wanted to try Peking duck, but that I’d also wanted a side dish, and asked if there was anything special she could recommend. “Meat or vegetable?” the pink lady barked and I replied that some vegetables sounded like a good thing. She turned to the menu page with vegetable dishes and made an indifferent gesture with her hand down the menu items, so I had no desire to question her further about those house specialties and ordered the first item on the menu; pumpkin with celery.
It didn’t take more than 10 minutes before the dishes were served, and the food was really great. The duck was cooked to perfection, crisp and juicy and not fatty at all fat, and the hoisin sauce was incredibly good. The pumpkin also turned out to be a good choice, since it went really well with the pancakes. I could therefore use the pumpkin as a filling for the pancakes, when I ran out of scallions (only a tiny amount of scallions came with the pancakes, and there was no re-fill later).
30large velvet-lined furniture, paper kites in the roof and dimmed lighting. The price level was also extremely reasonable (78yuan, about $15, for half a duck with pancakes), but since the service level most of the time was either indifferent or outright rude, I find it very hard to imagine that I will visit Private Kitchen again.