DUCK is a dish that rarely fails to delight, we hope you agree.
That’s why we scoured the town and found the top 10 best places to eat it out in Melbourne (in no particular order).
1. Duck bao($26/$55) at Supernormal
Gloriously crisp on the outside, steamingly tender on the inside, tear into the twice-cooked duck leg at Andrew McConnell’s busting Asian canteen and pile the pillowy bao high with meat. With a lick of the sweet-sharp vinegar plum sauce and a cucumber round and you have the pick of a pocket of duck.
180 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
2. Hot and numbing crispy duck($42)at Spice Temple
Hereat Neil Perry’s paean to Chinese cuisine it’s not always about the spice, but spice lovers line up for the unforgettable experience of the hot and numbing duck. Roasted duck breast topped with spring onions is served in a pool of spicy chilli oil spiked with Sichuan peppercorns, chilli flakes and black vinegar. It’s a delicious dish that keeps on giving that sizzles and tingles and tantalises.
Crown Complex, Southbank
3. Duck citron($37) at Mon Ami
It’s the sweet little restaurant that’s been the go-to spot for French-style duck for more than a decade and has served more than 21,000 ducks to hungry diners over that time. The wintry rendition of twice-cooked bread served with red cabbage, brussels sprouts and almonds is a plate of perfect comfort, made better only with a glass of pinot alongside.
144 Nicholson St, Fitzroy
4. Duo of duck($39.50) at The European
At lunch you can sit down to a gloriously rich duck and mushroom pie that’s hearty and elegant in equal measure, but come dinner, Ian Curley’s duo of duck reaches the realms of the sublime. A rich pithivier filled with confit leg meat and mushrooms is served alongside a perfectly pan-seared and roasted breast, tanned golden and blushingly pink. Polenta and green peppercorn sauce finishes a dish most elegant.
The European, 161 Spring St, Melbourne
5. Duck liver, pickled quince ($14) at Lume
It’s a dish as mind-bendingly creative as it is delicious. Slices of spiced poached quince are disguised as pan-seared duck livers; a perfect sphere of blushingly pink parfait served simply with a nasturtium flower and leaves from the edible wall garden. Sit at the bar and team with an expert cocktail and you’ll see what some of the fuss is about at this ambitious new restaurant.
226 Coventry St, South Melbourne
6. Fried duck curry($35)at Sugar Prawn
This new hawker style booze hall does good snacks for drinking, but is great for a bigger feed, too. The fried duck in a tamarind curry is generous in its execution, with a nice heat to the sweet-sour tamarind gravy that’s filled with cherry tomatoes, okra, baby corn and finished with fresh red chilli and Thai basil. But the curry’s hero is half a duck, fried to a crisp.
230 Smith St, Collingwood
7. Korean duck BBQ(from $21) at Oree
This new Korean BBQ restaurant specialises in duck in all its guises. Pull up a table and set about cooking a range of duck – fresh or smoked, chilli- or soy-marinated – on the in-table BBQ. There’s duck spring rolls and smoked duck salad to start, as well as duck stew and bulgogi, but the BBQ is authentic and hard to beat.
179 Queen St, Melbourne
He made quite a name for himself at Collingwood’s Old Kingdom a decade ago, now Simon Lay is again plying his three-course duck degustation out in Box Hill. Start with some of the best peking duck in town – 15 silken pancakes to wrap around glossy, crisp-skinned meat, follow with more duck meat stir fried with bean shoots and finish with a bright soup made from the leftover carcass.
197B Middleborough Rd, Box Hill South
9. Anatra risotto($21.50) at Harry’s Bar
It’s recently had a makeover and taken on a new name, but Moonee Ponds’ dedicated risotto restaurant might have added pizza and breakfast to its game, but Maria Tuminello still turns out a mighty fine risotto at her new-look Harry’s Bar. And the duck version is hard to go past, the creamy starchiness of expertly cooked rice teamed perfectly with a rich duck and mushroom ragu. It’s a bowl of perfect comfort.
28 Young St, Moonee Ponds
10. Duck souvlakakia($12) at Gazi
It’s the little package of flavour to savour that redefines the souva into something to savour. George Calombaris adds a hit of pear and onion to the generous amount of confit duck meat and wraps it all into a thick and chewy-charred pocket laden with mustard and ailo and chips. Win.
2 Exhibition St, Melbourne