17 February 2012

Cotton Duck: Valentine's Day Feast, 9 course set menu, Surry Hills (14 Feb 2012)

50 Holt Street, Surry Hills NSW 2010

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 :-)

Walnut, Pumpkin Seed Cracker with Taramasalata

Oyster Beignet, Seared Scallop & Beetroot Puree

Roasted, Pickled & Raw Beetroot, Delicate Herbs, Crunch Chicken Skin & Beef Jerky Tea

Duck & Crab Dumpling

Already behind on the drinks by 7.07 pm

Seared Kingfish, Fresh Fennel Seed with Sweet Vinegar Tomatoes

Roasted Venison, Mole, Corn & Avocado

Sherbert & Sweet Goat's Cream

Chocolate & Tonka Tart, Rhubarb Ice Cream

Organic Berry & Verjuice Jubes

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!

Restaurant seating

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)


joey@FoodiePop said...

What a lovely way to spend Valentine's; the food looks very good especially the venison with mole. Yum.

Miss Kimbers said...

The coffee looks much too complicated for me. I would have ordered a hot chooclate too:)

Tina@foodboozeshoes said...

Wow - some interesting presentation that's not the standard - I like

gaby @ lateraleating said...

Love that Bellini twist, and both mains look pretty good too. A shame about the filtered coffee, now I know what not to ever order, just to be safe.

Sara - Belly Rumbles said...

Awe romantic dins on Valentine's Day for the new parents :) All on all the food looks great, and good value for $95/person including wines.

Simon Leong said...

hi joey, i'd probably be tempted to go back and try their normal menu.

hi miss kimbers, i think we should have just ordered a normal flat white or cappuccino and get them to do all the work.

hi tina, i'm wondering what their normal dishes look like now.

hi gaby, i think they had to make up the bellini with whatever fruit they had. made me realise you don't really have to use peach puree to make a sparkling cocktail

hi sara, it seemed pretty reasonable at the time to try.

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