Weets Eats: Tuck into duck at Irish-influenced Duckland
You would imagine that a restaurant named Duckland is all about the duck.
Well, the fowl is featured very prominently on the menu.
However, the people behind it - the TungLok Group - are quick to remind us that it goes beyond that.
Duckland is also about Irish food, they proclaim.
The Irish additions are slight though - there is a boiled bacon dish and a lamb stew. I would have preferred a more adventurous list of food, like black pudding perhaps.
But those are just distractions anyway because the duck is the star.
The duck used is from the Silver Hill Farm in Ireland, and without a doubt, it is a superior creature. The meat is juicy, not too gamey, and the layer of fat is tantalising without being overwhelming.
For me, the best way to enjoy it is to have it roasted.
The Roast Irish Duck (from $28) comes with a selection of dipping sauces (raspberry sauce, calamari chilli and yellow mustard) but is best enjoyed just on its own.
Take a moment to savour how the fat coats the tongue - it is bliss.
The Crisp-fried Duck Wing ($8) is just as addictive.
It's a duck wing at the mid-joint, in a beer batter and deep-fried. Biting through the crispy outer layer to get to the lean meat inside is fun and delicious.
Not all the duck dishes work, though. The much-hyped Duck Confit & Waffle ($20) does little for me.
The buttermilk chicken and waffle trend is still going on, so this is a clever twist to that idea. But clever does not make a delicious dish. It just does not deliver on flavour or bite.
I find the meat dry and tough, the skin unremarkable and the waffle too dense for my liking. The egg adds nothing too.
I can understand ordering this for Instagram and I've tasted worse (or prettier) over the years, but I wouldn't waste calories on it.
One nod to Ireland is the Irish Lamb Stew ($22). The first taste didn't agree with me - the flavour of rosemary just punched me in the head - but the more I dug into it, the better it got.
The lamb is delicious and there is a hint of heat in the soup thanks to the peppercorns. The potatoes and carrots have been boiled down till soft, and by the time you hit the bottom of the bowl, it should be stirred down into almost a smooth comforting paste.
I don't see any sort of link between the 'Mala' Pork Cracklins ($8) and duck, but who cares? It is enjoyable all the same.
The Sichuan peppercorn is legit and if you're not careful about distributing the powder evenly, you might end up with a painful mouthful.
The cracklings - deep-fried pig skin - are crispy, crunchy and not oily, and I'm obsessed with everything about it.