There was a discussion at work on Perth’s best degustations and special mention was made to Wild Duck in Nedlands so I thought I’d treat myself to a dinner there. Wild Duck offers al a carte as well as a degustation menu. Wild Duck formerly called Albany home where it operated for 6.5 years after starting in 2005. During that time they achieved many awards including RCAA restaurant of the year, a star in Gourmet Traveller and the Good Food Guide in 2011. They then relocated Nedland’s in November 2012. I’m keen to see what chefs Andrew Holmes and Clinton Maclou will serve up, noting they will have to make do with produce that isn’t grown down the road in Albany (I did notice that the quality and taste of produce in the South West is superior to that in Perth on my trip down south earlier in the year).
The degustation comprises 7 courses with the option of matching wines. There are also additional optional courses too – one being a main and one being another dessert course.
Tomato marshmellow, tomato powder, Parmesan custard
Refreshing and yet cheesy. Reminds me of a cheese souffle but with the flavour of tomato to freshen things up, though no acidity which is good. It also doesn’t taste like a marshmallow which is even better. I like it.
Seafood Chowder, Seared Scallop
A lid was lifted which revealed smoke, though I couldn’t detect much smokey flavour in the dish itself. On a cold winter’s day like today, the first spoonful felt like I was home. Warm and comforting, this was just what the doctor ordered. A delicious smooth chowder was interrupted by the bits of corn, bacon, and seafood which provide texture and ‘meat’ to the chowder. I resisted for a while but it was time to try the seared scallop. Perfectly cooked, juicy it just melted in my mouth. Yum!
Confit Salmon, Salmon Gravalax, Salmon Mousse
Wow! What a dish. The confit salmon just melts in your mouth. It’s like smoked salmon but a small chunk and cuts like butter. The creamy sauce underneath compliments the confit salmon perfectly. I love Gravalax which I make at home on the odd occasion and this version was excellent. The pickled fennel provides a lovely burst of sweet acidity against any richness of the fatty salmon and the crunch of the crispy salmon skin is wonderful too. More of that creamy sauce to add additional flavour and the rye bits help keep everything in balance. As for the salmon mousse, wow, smooth, delicious, firm enough to keep it’s shape, it takes salmon to a while new level. An impressive example of the chef’s skill in portraying salmon effectively in three different ways.
Salt and Pepper Squid
Asian salad, Chilli jam, Aoili, Rock melon
The squid is perfectly cooked, nice and tender and quite rich. Against that backdrop, the Asian salad provides a wonderful burst of flavour, a touch of acidity, lots of freshness. The rock melon also delivers a similar effect in it’s own style. More muted, but the fruitiness goes well with the squid. The aoili adds a nice creaminess but probably isn’t necessary. What I would like more of is that delicious chilli jam. I love it. Smooth, a hint of kick towards the back of your palette, it pairs perfectly with the squid.
Slow Cooked Pork Belly
Onion puree, seared scallop, fondat potato
One knife cut and it went straight through. So tender, juicy, succulent, the pork belly was so enjoyable. The onion puree provides an earthy pairing to the pork which works well. The crispy skin of the pork belly is also lovely, but the cracking takes the cake. Golden brown and crunchy, so yum. Another seared scallop was happily enjoyed. The confit potato is a bit unusual but tasty.
Sorbet Palette Cleanser
The raspberry sorbet is perfect, refreshing my palette, the beauty of the sorbet is it carries the raspberry flavour without the tartness or acidity.
Crispy Skin Duck Breast
Peas, carrot puree, crispy speck, duck jus
I’m not sure if they did this on purpose or just by accident but while the duck was tender, it lacked flavour. A bit as if the duck was boiled, the juicy flavours of duck were not evident. Instead a delicious duck jus provided bags of flavour, so too the speck, a salty burst of porkiness. The smooth carrot puree just feels nice in the mouth, the peas provide a touch of richness. Tasty but a little underwhelming compared to what I was expecting.
Eggs on Toast
Meringue and bran on toasted brioche, pastry cream, fresh fruit
This a Heston Blumenthal type dessert, something that looks like something but is not what it seems. Certainly looks like eggs on toast, the ‘yolk’ runs once you cut into it and the meringue looks like the ‘white’. Maybe a deconstructed Pavlova of sorts. Cleverly put together, the eggs on toast is pretty good but I much preferred the house made vanilla ice cream. I thought there was a second scoop of ice cream but instead got a mouthful of rich cream. It’s a bit sickening and not needed in the plate, despite my love of cream. The fruit adds a contrast to the sweetness of the dessert, not that it’s too sweet. Pretty tasty but I was expecting a much stronger finish.
Wild Duck Food Review Summary
Verdict: I thought the Wild Duck degustation was excellent, starting off strong but falling away towards the end. The Amuse bouche tomato marshmallow and Parmesan custard was an interesting starter. The seafood chowder was exceptional delivering lots of flavour and comfort, not to mention that perfectly cooked melt in your mouth scallop. The salmon trio was the standout dish of the night, the chef’s showcasing their skill in superbly presenting salmon three ways each as delicious as the other. The salmon mousse comfortably shaded the confit salmon and salmon Gravalax. The rich salt and pepper squid was effectively paired with a refreshing Asian salad and a delicious chilli jam with some kick. The slow cooked pork belly just cut like butter and was really enjoyable, as too the crunchy crackling. After the raspberry sorbet which cleansed my palette, the next two dishes fell short of the standard set. The crispy skin duck breast didn’t have too much crispy skin to enjoy and while the duck breast was tender, it lacked flavour and juiciness. Instead, a delicious duck jus and salty speck added much needed punch. Knowing what duck can deliver, I thought the dish restricted the duck from being the hero on the plate. Dessert is what people look forward to and the eggs on toast didn’t deliver the bang or grand finale to the meal. While clever and deceiving, it didn’t really deliver enough flavour to leave me satisfied. A very enjoyable meal in comforting surroundings, excellent service, and quality food.
Price: Expensive (in the Entertainment Book)
Wild Duck Restaurant Details
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