Valentine's Day at Cotton Duck
A seemingly reasonably priced Valentine's Day Feast menu attracted me to choose Jared Ingersoll’s Cotton Duck restaurant for the special day offering a 9 course set menu for $65 or with matching wines for $95. It was good to actually see him working in the kitchen. Choosing the 6 pm first sitting the room was filled with only couples as you’d expect. I liked how there was a reasonable amount of space between the tables providing a certain privacy and intimacy to each group and there was no annoying table supports getting in the way of my feet — I like. To start the Bellini ($16) with cranberry juice and lychee juice was good and the bartender's recommendation of the Rhubarb cocktail ($18) of homemade rhubarb jam, gin, Aperol & citrus soon became mine as well. A light yet flavoursome Walnut, Pumpkin Seed Cracker with Taramasalata started the menu. Just a bit more cracker would have helped finish the tasty dip. I really enjoyed the Oyster Beignet, Seared Scallop & Beetroot Puree with its nice combination of flavours although I was hoping for one larger single scallop than the two tiny ones served with each crispy coated oyster.
I loved the chicken skin in The Roasted, Pickled & Raw Beetroot, Delicate Herbs, Crunch Chicken Skin & Beef Jerky Tea — more of that please, and the broth had a good depth of flavour. A single Duck & Crab Dumpling each had more duck than crab taste to me. By this time we’d received our third matching glass of 2007 Tertini Southern Highlands NSW which was very nice but it was hard keeping up with finishing the wines before the next one — I think a little bit more spaced out would have been preferred. The fennel seed with the Seared Kingfish gave an interesting but welcomed taste to the dish. I found the enjoyable flavours in the Roasted Venison, Mole, Corn & Avocado became my favourite dish of the night. Meat was really tender although I wasn’t quite sure about the use of popcorn crumbs which got stuck too easily between the teeth and gave an unwelcomed crunch at times to my palate.
For dessert I wasn’t sure if I’d like the Sherbert & Sweet Goat's Cream but thankfully the goats cream was subtle enough in taste and all the flavours seemed to work nicely together. A decadent and richly flavoured Chocolate & Tonka Tart was enough to share by this stage. I liked the accompanying rhubarb ice cream but my preference would have probably been a vanilla bean ice cream to help cut through the chocolate. To help wash down the sugars was a Bartholomew's Sweet Forest Mead which was quite unusual and perhaps an acquired taste. I wasn’t a huge fan of it and would have preferred something more like a Noble One or a French sauterne perhaps, or even a port. To finish the menu the Organic Berry & Verjuice Jubes were strong in flavour, perhaps too strong for my liking and the ordered Filter Coffee ($5) seemed to have way too much grounded coffee making it very difficult to allow the hot water to get through to the cup. We found it very bitter and in the end couldn’t really drink it — I think we should have just ordered a normal flat white to be safe. Overall it was a very pleasant night of dining helped by the friendly service, ambience and comfortable seating.
PROS: Interesting dishes with good technique and quality ingredients, Nice decor and tables were set a good distance apart, Personable service although at times seemed a little green, Nice choice of ambient music and volume
CONS: Really didn’t enjoy the Filtered Coffee and it was awkward to make it work, Matching wines didn’t seem spaced out enough during the menu (or perhaps we couldn't drink fast enough)
MUST TRY: Roasted Venison, Mole, Corn & Avocado (minus the popcorn perhaps), Rhubarb cocktail
Valentine's Day Feast menu — 9 course set menu for $65 or with matching wines for $95
Bellini with cranberry juice and lychee juice ($16), Rhubarb - Homemade rhubarb jam, gin, Aperol & citrus ($18) SIMON FAVOURITE :-)
Oyster Beignet, Seared Scallop & Beetroot Puree
Roasted, Pickled & Raw Beetroot, Delicate Herbs, Crunch Chicken Skin & Beef Jerky Tea
Duck & Crab Dumpling
Seared Kingfish, Fresh Fennel Seed with Sweet Vinegar Tomatoes
Roasted Venison, Mole, Corn & Avocado
Sherbert & Sweet Goat's Cream
Filter Coffee ($5) — too bitter and didn't enjoy at all
Hot Chocolate ($5?) — wasn't really available but kitchen managed to make one for me somehow, was good except for the unfortunate spillage en route
NV Borambola Blanc de Blancs, Gundagai NSW; 2011 McGuigan Shortlist, Eden Valley SA; 2007 Tertini Southern Highlands NSW; Bartholomew's Meadery Sweet Forest Mead Denmark WA
Bill $229 for two
Chef spotting in the kitchen, Jared Ingersoll (right)
Spacious table seating for two — I liked!
Bar area for a cheeky drink before dinner
Ceiling feature — crazy designers!
Chilli and micro herbs display
Table supports allow uninterrupted foot space — I liked!
Clean toilets — although some helpful directional signage would have been nice when you exit the restaurant to find them (turn left)