You’re in for a quackin’ good time at Holy Duck!
Located within Kensington Street’s Old Rum Store, Holy Duck! is a joint effort between the father of Chippendale’s funkiest dining precinct, Dr. Stanley Quek and Kaisern Ching, creator of Sydney’s favourite contemporary Chinese joint, Chefs Gallery. Spice Alley has been named one of the top ten food destinations in Sydney to try, thanks to the variety and diversity of the food on offer in the area. In China, coming together to dine with many is a treasured experience and Holy Duck! pay homage to this tradition with a specially designed menu of share style dishes.
We recently paid a visit, starting our night with the Whole Crispy Duck ($56, half for $32, quarter for $20), which is entirely different to the usual Peking duck on offer in Chinese restaurants. It’s marinated, dried and then deep fried with hardly any fat. Served with cucumber, shallots and hoisin sauce, these ingredients bring out the flavours of the duck beautifully. We are also served piping-hot steamed Mandarin pancakes, so that we can roll our own Crispy Duck Pancakes ($5 each). This is after one of the chefs demonstrates how to shred the duck ourselves.
For the sharing plate entrees, we were served Crispy Rice Balls ($12), which are essentially Asian-inspired arancini with a beautiful crunch to the outer layer. In China, circular food brings good luck and prosperity, so between the promise of fortune and the shredded roast duck tossed throughout the seasonal side salad, it was an excellent dish.
We also sampled the Spanner Crab with Salmon Roe ($18), which came on a bed of wild rocket and thinly-sliced cucumber. It was deliciously delicate and tender. The chefs clearly don’t shy away from experimentation, mixing new techniques and ingredients so that the dishes are recognisable, but definitely different.
The final entree we tried was the Double Cooked Pork Belly ($15), which was flash fried with black bean and chilli. The mustard sauce was a sensational choice for a side dip, but beware of the extra sliced chilli, which knocked my socks off and made me reach for the wine.
Dr Quek then personally served us the BBQ and Roast Meats Platter ($45), which contained roast duck, sticky char sui pork and crispy crackling roast pork belly. The char sui pork tied for first place on my list of favourite dishes – it has very little fat but a huge amount of flavour.
The other dish sharing first place on my list was the Roast Beef Short Ribs ($36), which came with jalapeño puree, green shallot kimchi and a soy glaze. They were so tender.
And of course, no Chinese meal is complete without a healthy serving of chicken – in this case, a Crispy Whole Spring Chicken ($30) which was served quartered so you don’t get your fingers messy trying to share it. Served with ginger, coriander, shallot, chilli and garlic, the best part was the sweet and sour sauce, which brings out the crispiness of the skin.
We had a quick break from meat with the Stir-Fried Chinese Greens ($16), which was served hot from the kitchen and deliciously crunchy.
Then, it was back to duck with the Fried Rice ($18), asparagus and mustard seeds. The Chinese believe that you should always eat carbohydrates towards the end of the meal, because you should always be full when you get up from the table. And believe me, we were starting to feel that way.
Finally, there was the King Prawn on Ee-Fu Noodles ($32), which was cooked in a lobster bisque and garnished with butter, gainer, shallots and asparagus. Dr Quek helpfully explained that eating noodles celebrated the richness of the world and ensured a long life, so I was sure to eat my fill (and then some).
To finish, there was – and I mean this in all seriousness – the best dessert I’ve ever had the privilege of eating. The White Chocolate Cheesecake Stack ($12), served with salted duck egg caramel was incredible. I cannot emphasise how highly I recommend this cheesecake.
Throughout the meal, we sipped on offerings from the Holy Duck! liquor label, that offers a Cabernet Merlot ($7.50, $29 for a bottle), a Pinot Grigio ($7.50, $29 for a bottle), a Pale Ale ($8) and an Apple Cider ($8.50). The entire meal was an east meets west experience that took on on a modern Chinese culinary journey that I will definitely be taking again.
I recommend getting together a group and take flight to Holy Duck! for a fabulous evening filled with good company and great food. It’s sure to be a quackin’ good time.
Holy Duck! is open daily from 11am to 3pm and 5.30pm to 10pm.
The Old Rum Store
2 – 10 Kensington Street
Chippendale NSW 2008