Three crisp-skinned ducks
Sydney is in the grip of duck fever. Chinese restaurants have always done brisk business with the bird but now a few places devoted to it have opened in the last year. (That said, The Plump Duck, reviewed here, has closed.) These restaurants rely on intensive production to meet year-round demand but ducks, especially wild ones, are better as the weather cools. Why? They’re not wasting energy flapping their wings to cool off so can lay down some decent flesh and fat on their breasts. Eat enough of it and you can too.
Not so much an opening but a re-opening, this downtown stalwart moved a block, did a reno and is back in the barbecued meats game big time. Nothing’s really changed menu-wise, and their half roast duck with soy (AUD $34.80) is as good as ever. Burnished lacquered skin, tender flesh and a light brothy puddle add up to old school Cantonese satisfaction. Along with an unremarkable fit out, the modernising also phased out the old clothes peg ordering system. No, I never understood it either.
Address: 6-78 Liverpool Street, Sydney. Telephone: +61 02 9267 2433
There’s so much to love about the gamey flavour and silky fat of the ducks here, every bite a reminder of why this bird is the biz. There’s no way it could be confused with chicken, its firm, livery flesh and crisp skin lifting off easily thanks to skilfully rendered fat (half duck AUD $39, whole AUD $74). The broth the duck paddles in is drinkably good and although the viscous plum sauce may be traditional, with meat like this, it’s not really necessary.
Address: 3 Bridge Lane, Sydney. Telephone: +61 02 9240 3000
The team behind Chef’s Gallery opened this place last December adding a fast food string to their Chinese bow. The restaurant’s name in exposed light bulbs makes it look like a Broadway hit, but their half a ‘crispy duck’ (AUD $32) disappoints. The skin is indeed crisp but so’s the flesh, overcooking robbing the poor bird of any succulence. Burger meals with the punny names (Buns of Squeal, What the Duck) may be better. Lotus chips are thin and crisp, in a good way, and come with a cracking sriracha lemon mayo.
Address: 10/2 Kensington Street, Chippendale. No phone