A degustation at Deer Duck Bistro however turns all of that on its head (apart from the bread).
With funky furnishings, antique cutlery, an assortment of china plates and a deer head on the wall you know you’re in for a unique experience as soon as you set foot in the door.
As Deer Duck Bistro was just this week awarded a chef's hat in the 2016 Good Food Guide, my already high expectations for this unique restaurant did jump up a notch.
So what is the food like within these quirky quarters? Let’s find out.
Unfolding like a labyrinth, the initial bar area winds its way down to a parlour lounge filled with wingback chairs, a chesterfield sofa and other furnishings circa 1899. Around a corner and up some low steps is the main dining room, flanked by a small private dining space.
The décor in all of these spaces is eccentric but is pulled together by a central old world theme. It definitely gives you something to talk about all night, within a low-lit intimate atmosphere.
As we sat down to the new seven-course degustation menu, we were presented with an very tasty amuse-bouche of hickory smoked bacon with 70 degree egg yolk. This came with our freshly made bread (yea!) of house made sourdough served with house cultured butter.
Below we had:
- Mussel, Carrot, Dill with 2012 Joseph Cattin Pinot Blanc (Alsace, France)
- Onion, Thyme, Veal Sweetbreads with 2013 Hahndorf Hill Gruner Veltliner (Adelaide Hills)
- Barramundi, Shitake, Black Rice with 2011 Mitchelton Marsanne Nagambie (Victoria)
The mussel dish was 50 shades of orange and just as many interesting tastes happening in the one dish. The carrot puree was a sweet contrast to the salty mussels and both offered a texture contrast to some shaved fresh carrot. The whole dish was drizzled with dill oil adding a richness a to each mouthful.
The sweetbreads had a crisp salt and pepper coating and was incredibly tasty. The charred onions gave a lovely sweet hit to the dish which was again drizzled in oil; this time, thyme oil.
I loved the Asian flair that was used in the barramundi dish. Barramundi is everywhere in restaurants around Brisbane these days, so the Oriental flavours made this an interesting variation on a theme. The jus in this dish was an outstanding mix of ginger, chilli and caramelised shaosing.
- Chicken, Corn, Tarragon with 2013 Greystone Gewürztraminer (Waipara, New Zealand)
- Duck, Artichoke, Shallot with 2012 Delatite Estate Pinot Noir (Victoria)
- Beef, Pumpkin, Onion with 2012 Schild Estate “Ben” Shiraz (Barossa, South Australia)
The boneless chicken wing was wonderfully crispy and salty on the outside and I was very grateful that someone else did all the de-boning work for me. This was served with a clear tofu, made in a traditional Korean way using corn and mung bean. While I didn’t get many flavours from the tofu, it gave a really interesting texture to this dish.
We then had our bonus duck dish (it is called Deer Duck Bistro after all), which was a hay smoked duck breast served with Jerusalem artichoke, shallot and freshly foraged watercress. Again the duck had a beautifully crispy skin on the outside and moist and tender meat on the inside. Delicious!
I was absolutely wowed by the beef dish, which was my pick of the night. The beef blade was slow cooked for three days which was three days well-spent in my opinion. It was served with a peppery mustard cress and finished off with a sprinkling of leek dust.
This beef was tenderer than an Elvis song and went beautifully with some pumpkin puree and crispy onion rings.
If deer and duck isn't your thing, there is also a vegetarian degustation menu available, and other à la carte meals can cater to both vegetarians and vegans.
- Rockmelon, Honey, Pistachio with NV Chevalier Brut Blanc de Blanc (Burgundy, France)
- Chocolate, Pear, Hazelnut with Hugh Hamilton Sparkling Merlot (McLaren Vale, South Australia)
If you can possibly fit any more food in, there is also an optional cheese course for $15 per cheese.
Rockmelon is not my favourite fruit, but I couldn’t get enough of it in the form of a frozen, creamy sorbet. There was some vanilla salt in the bottom of the bowl as well which offered an interesting tangy contrast to the sweet fruit. The crushed pistachios added a great crunchy texture to the soft sorbet.
The final dish comprised hazelnut mousse served with wafer-thin chocolate shards and pear gel. This was decadence on a plate, and being a chocolate-lover I was in my element with this dish. The mousse was like eating a fluffy hazelnut cloud.
We finished on some petit fours which included a beautifully crafted blood orange jelly, orange chocolate truffle and cultured salted caramel.
It is a great place to gather up a group of friends to spend some time wining, dining and wondering where on earth they got their candlesticks from.
One tip for dining here: to accommodate all of the good eating you will undoubtedly experience, wear elastic pants. Preferably with some sort of loud print on them.
Tanya dined as a guest of Deer Duck Bistro.