A pub with an identity crisis?
Thursday night saw my first visit to The Duck Inn in Chippendale for dinner with friends to plan a hoped for trip to New Zealand in May.
I hadn't been to 'The Duck' before it's face lift. Some friends from work who live in the area lament the loss of their local boozer where they could go for cheap schooners. However, as old customers leave, others appreciate the change and new ones arrive. The Duck Inn must be doing something right as as it was pretty busy for a Thursday evening.
We were seated in the back room. On a pleasant Sydney evening with the windows open and whitewashed wooden batons on the walls the place had a beach house vibe going on.
A look at the menu gave me the first hint that the restaurant might be having problems deciding what it wanted to be. There were pub favourites such as Duck Inn Burger and Sausage with mash at under $20. However, there were also a selection of more 'gastro pub' dishes in the mid to high twenty dollar range.
My dining companions and I subconsciously all ordered from the more 'gastro' end of the menu. I selected the Sea Bass with salad of fennel, rocket and lemon dressing. My first impression when the dish arrived was that the sea bass fillets were very small (which doesn't really come across in the photo). The fish was nicely cooked and still moist. Despite the salad containing some punchy flavours like fennel and rocket it didn't really work for me. The flavours didn't clash with each other or the fish, but they didn't come together either.
The dish was also inconsistent. Jen also ordered the sea bass and had a mound of radish in her salad. I got none.
One of my companions (not used to dining with a food blogger as they tucked in before I could take a photo!) ordered the Fillet of beef with cavello nero, horseraddish butter and jus. We've all seen the Sydney trend for serving food on wooden boards. However her steak was bought out on a plate sitting on a chopping board. What was the point of that? Totally odd presentation.
The side of broccoli was overcooked.
The small slice of cheesecake came served on an enormous place which only emphasised it's petit size. Around the table we guessed it was shop bought. My humble apologies to the kitchen if it wasn't.
Having never been to the 'old Duck' I have no emotional attachment to the local boozer which has disappeared. The light and breezy decor has a lot going for it. I'd be happy if it was my local. However, the kitchen don't seem to be able to decide what they're doing. Premium pub grub or going for something a little fancier?
The burgers at a nearby table looked great. If it was my pub I'd concentrate on reasonable pricing and serving up lots of dishes similar that good look burger.
The Duck Inn Pub and Kitchen
74 Rose St