Sensational flavours, delivered or not

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Peppercorn Angus cubes… wok-tossed with king oyster mushrooms and snow peas in a peppercorn reduction. Photo: Wendy Johnson.

Dining reviewer WENDY JOHNSON ordered direct from Wild Duck to bring its meticulously prepared, upscale Asian fine dining home.

AS I write this review, the ACT Government has released the news that non-essential services, including dining in cafés and restaurants, has been extended until July. So it’s more important than ever to support the hospitality industry so it doesn’t go totally kaput during ‘virus time’.

We selected Wild Duck for a food-delivery adventure. Wild Duck prides itself on fine, upscale Asian cuisine served in an elegant dining room with booth seating, each dish meticulously prepared and arriving at the table looking like a piece of fine art.

COVID-style dining is different. The food arrives in plastic containers and it’s up to you to plate pretty (which you can have fun doing). The good news with Wild Duck, the oldest (or one of the oldest) restaurants on the Kingston Foreshore, is that the flavours are sensational, delivered or not.

Salmon tataki… lemongrass-cured fish with a delicate ginger glaze, and the nashi pear a beautiful accompaniment. Photo: Wendy Johnson.

Take the salmon tataki, a stunning dish ($17.90). The salmon was lemongrass cured, the ginger glaze delicate, and the nashi pear a beautiful accompaniment.

Basil chilli squid… super tender, lightly dusted in cornflour, fried then tossed with basil, long chilli and five-spiced salt. Photo: Wendy Johnson.

Equally stunning was the basil chilli squid ($17.90), lightly dusted in cornflour and fried. It’s tossed with basil, long chilli and five-spiced salt. The squid is super tender and the spiced salt is not at all overpowering.

Double-broiled free-range duck breast… amazingly tender and full of flavour, and the mix of wild Asian mushrooms earthy and exotic. Photo: Wendy Johnson.

We always go wild for duck at Wild Duck – it’s never failed us and this time was no exception. The double-broiled free-range duck breast was amazingly tender and full of flavour ($34.90) and the mix of wild Asian mushrooms earthy and exotic. The duck was accompanied by steamed baby spinach, adding a critical colour component.

The peppercorn Angus cubes was another beautiful dish ($34.90). Who can go wrong with Black Angus tenderloin? The carefully cut cubes were wok-tossed with king oyster mushrooms and snow peas in a peppercorn reduction. The dish was served with cured cherry radish for colour and crunch.

Equally sensational was the Massaman beef cheek ($32.90), slowly braised in special spices and coconut cream.

To top up on the veggies we ordered the Szechuan green beans and were thrilled we did ($24.90). They’re twice-cooked with puffed soy bean curd and topped with shredded wonton – an amazing combo of ingredients, and such a simple, yet well thought-through dish.

Other mains on the Wild Duck menu include Singapore chilli prawns ($36.90), dragon-cut baby eggplant ($26.90), typhoon-shelter ocean trout ($34.90) and pork belly in lotus leaf ($32.90).

All up the food was bold but considered, and it delivered well, so if you’re in the delivery radius give Wild Duck a go. Sure, you won’t be able to enjoy the ambience of the restaurant’s gorgeous interior, with its rich warm colours, soft lighting and teak furniture, but there’s nothing stopping you from setting the table with a bit of flair, lighting some candles and creating your own ambience.

Wild Duck, 77-78/71 Giles Street, Kingston Foreshore. We ordered direct on 6232 7997 but you can also use nowbookit.com

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Wendy Johnson
Wendy Johnson: Food reviewer for Canberra CityNews magazine since 2004, covering stories for true foodies to digest.

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