Restaurant Review: The Hungry Duck

The Hungry Duck is located in Berry, about a two hours drive south of Sydney. It is a beautiful drive down the Shoalhaven coast, with many places to stop and check out along the way.

The head chef, David Campbell, features organic veggies and herbs from the restaurant’s own garden on his menu. This was a one of the primary reasons why I chose this establishment, and I was not let down. I even got to check out the garden after dinner where one of the friendly staffed showed me around.

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The restaurant is located on the main road. It is quite small, seats around 40 people, including the outdoor seating. Very cozy, and has some funky décor (check out the light above!).

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My friend and I ordered the 9-course tasting menu and paired it with a great bottle of Sauvignon Blanc.

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Tataki of yellow fin tuna, miso, orange and sechuan pepper sorbet. The tuna was very fresh, and the dish consisted of very delicate flavours. The lotus chips added a nice contrast in texture, but overall I felt that the dish was a bit too bland.

IMG 1230Delicious!

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Corn chowder with crab and a crab money bag. This was definitely one of my favourites. The chowder was perfectly seasoned, of perfect consistency, warm with delicious pieces of crab scattered throughout. The money bag was delicious as well. Everything in this dish complimented each other, the crab and corn chowder was such a great combination, I intend on attempting to make something similar soon!

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Chicken and lemongrass skewers, peanut and tamarind sauce. Another one of my favourites. The chicken were extremely tender, but did not fall apart whatsoever. Every bite was fragrant with the lemongrass, which made me wonder if the chicken was seasoned with the lemongrass or if it was simply the skewer that was imparting all that flavour. The peanut and tamarind sauce was delicious as well, reminded me of chicken satay, but just 100 times better!

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Steamed pork bun. Wow. I had never had a more delicious bun, and I have had my share when I visited China a few years back. The pork was extremely tender and moist; I attempted to take a picture of the delicious globs of liquified fat, but was unable to do it justice. One of the dipping sauces had some of the organic chillies from the garden out back.

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Poached chicken and banana blossom salad, coconut oil & fresh herbs. This salad was quite the mystery. My friend and I spent a long time dissecting it and trying to figure out all its components. It was a very simple salad, but the fresh produce made it seem like so much more.

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Steamed kingfish with vinegared chilli broth & lemongrass. While I’ve mentioned many favourites, this is THE favourite. The kingfish was tender, moist and clean cut. It was beautifully brought together with some fresh bok choy and fresh herbs from the garden. On its own it would have been delicious, but what made it so special was the broth. The broth was liquid heaven, and to think that we were going to eat the fish and veggies and to leave that broth… The broth was slightly oily (in a good way), hot from the chillies, salty from the fish sauce, and sour from something that we were not told (some secret ingredient). I do not know how Campbell has done it, but the combination of flavours in this broth is genius, the temperature, the consistency, everything.
IMG 1245Duck three ways – duck spring roll, rare caramelised breast and a crispy sichuan peppered leg. Sadly this was the only dish I did not care for. The spring rolls were so thick and overly fried that I could barely taste the duck. The duck breasts was drowned in an overly sticky honey sauce, and the peppered leg was overly peppered and overly fried. It was way to heavy and seemed out of place with the other dishes.

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Age-dashi tofu with mushrooms and vegetables. Another favourite. The mushrooms were perfectly cooked, had a smokey taste that was imparted throughout the dish. The veggies were perfectly cooked as well, not too raw not too well done; al dente as the italians would say. I even enjoyed the tofu, which I have never been the biggest fan of.

Overall this was a great meal, all the dishes went well together. They came out in the perfect order, there were no competing flavours, it was a gradual buildup of deliciousness. I forgot to take a picture of the dessert, but it was nothing too special, nothing to complain about either. An amazing restaurant, good atmosphere, knowledgable and friendly staff, and a great locale. Campbell shows how important it is to showcase local ingredients and the importance of their integrity. There is no fuss over presentation, the fresh ingredients showcase themselves with their beautiful vibrant colours. There’s no doubt as to why his restaurant was featured in Hayden’s “Green Food Generation”.  I will be dreaming of that broth until the next time  : P

The Hungry Duck

85 Queen Street

Berry 2535

Ph: +61 2 4464 2323

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