There’s something to be said about great produce and what it does for food. Not only does it show in the way a dish tastes, but also in the colours, textures and smells. At Cotton Duck, working with great ingredients is much more than a mission statement, it’s something that Jared Ingersoll and his team practise everyday.
Perhaps it’s the name, but Cotton Duck is a little different to how I imagined it – the decor is refined, minimalist and almost industrial in its use of recycled timber and polished concrete floors. I’m especially taken by the lighting fixture of paper coils and light bulbs (it’s strangely identical to the one on display at Jared Ingersoll’s pop-up restaurant at the Powerhouse Museum a few years back).
The menu at Cotton Duck has changed slightly since its opening last year and showcases a selection of thoughtful a la carte dishes. We begin with some crusty bread, still warm on arrival, and a glass of apple cider.
My salad Lyonnaise was a nice way to start, although nowhere near as good as the version at Cutler & Co. The salad combines perfectly picked frisee lettuce leaves with a sprinkling of panchetta, croutons and a tangy vinaigrette. But it’s the warm runny egg that really brings the dish to life.
Across the table, Mr. Taste was quietly digging into his corn pudding. I sneak in a mouthful and quickly realise why he’s stayed so silent. The dish was a corn-on-corn sensory extravaganza. I couldn’t decide what was better: the velvety pudding, the sweet corn broth or the topping of roasted kernels!
We settled on two very fine looking slabs of meat for our mains. Although the veal scotch fillet was a little over the ‘rare’ we requested, the fillet was juicy and well flavoured. The veal lay on a bed of creamy choron sauce, while the fluffy handcut chips, stacked Jenga style, helped soak up all its goodness.
My pork loin was on the drier side but nicely flavoured nonetheless. The crackling was rendered to a perfect crunch and thin enough to slice without sending pieces flying over to the next table. Yet the highlight of the dish were the tomatoes, which were incredibly sweet and reminded me of apple sauce.
We ended our meal with a sorbet trio of very ‘grown up’ flavours. The coconut and kaffir was my pick of the bunch, while Mr. Taste favoured the blood orange. We weren’t so sure about the apricot and cardomom, which was a weird combination and didn’t quite hit the mark.
Cotton Duck turned out to be a nice surprise and we were very impressed with the offering. It’s an affordable and guilt free meal that will put a smile on your face.
50 Holt Street
Surry Hills, NSW
# 02 8399 0250