Nunawading, VIC 3131
Ph: 9894 1663
"It's better than ". That's what my friend Jordan told me. Having now tried Happy Cook, I'd have to disagree with him as I think Simon's ducks are slightly superior.
Happy Cook is quite hard to find, with the address listed as both 156 and 165 Springvale Road on Google depending on which site you read. The shop front is also very nondescript and when I arrived to an empty restaurant, I thought I was in the wrong place. However, when I could smell the Peking Duck, I knew I was in the right spot. Very quickly, the plainly decorated rectangular restaurant filled up with patrons, who were all eager to eat their duck.
To the duck itself, it is very good, with a crispy skin and a good flavour. It's leaner than Simon's which some may prefer, but not me. The skin is also not quite as crisp, and the flavours used to marinate the duck isn't quite as nice.
Another disadvantage is that the duck is only accompanied by 12 rather than 15 pancakes at Simon's. I know you can eat the duck by itself, but it really does taste better with the pancake. The pancake is your more traditional flour type, which some epeople prefer but I really love the thin egg pancakes of Simon's.
You can get the duck served as three courses with a good noodle stir fry or bean shoot stir fry, and a soup. The noodles are good, with a nice bounce. The soup is very good.
What they do better than most Asian restaurants is desserts. The banana fritters, shown below, are done in a slightly different style, in balls. A toffee also covers the banana balls and make it taste better than normal. Red bean pancakes, custard pancakes, fruit covered in toffee and ice cream are all better than average. Look at how happy Dennis is with his birthday custard pancake.
The service is efficient and friendly and do a good job. Combined with the tasty Peking Duck, it is a good restaurant. However, I can't help but compare it to Simon's Peiking Duck, which I believe is superior and at the same cost, I would rather go to Simon's.
Overall Rating: 14/20, Good Peking Duck at a good price.
Scores: 1-9: Unacceptable, don't bother. 10-11: Just OK,some shortcomings. 12: Fair. 13: Getting there. 14: Recommended. 15: Good. 16: Really good. 17: Truly excellent. 18: An outstanding experience. 19-20:Approaching perfection, Victoria's best.