Should Asian cuisine be kept homely or do you prefer fine dining? Find out here
Wild Duck Fine Asian Cuisine was named as one of the top 30 restaurants in Canberra. So, you know me… I believed it and wanted to be the judge of that. Also, I love Asian food and I’ am still on the hunt to find a great Asian restaurant in Canberra.
On a wet Friday evening, Lauren, Idrus and myself got ready before heading into Kingston for dinner at WDFAC. We were ready for an explosion of flavours in our taste buds. I had called WDFAC on the last minute to book a table for three so when we arrived we were taken to our seats immediately. The restaurant was your typical Asian restaurant with red carpet,walls and table cloths just to name a few with the regular Asian decor and furniture. I think the only non Asian thing I noticed in the restaurant was that there were no chopsticks in sight…. Excuse me, but I wanted chopsticks. Haha #trueasian
It took us a while to decide what to eat as we found there weren’t that many options in the menu as we thought but after fifteen to twenty minutes of deciding and contemplating we finally made a decision.
Let’s start with the entree.
For entree, we chose the Traditional Peking Duck which was originally $15.90 for two pieces but asked for another which was an extra $7.95 – In regular Asian restaurants especially if it’s a restaurant where you order and share between everyone on the table, you are able to help yourself. WDFAC brought each of our Peking Duck on it’s own plate and served it to us. So this meant, we couldn’t put our own hosain sauce on our dish by ourselves. Anyway, the flavours were there and I liked that the duck was crispy but I’ve had better. I also didn’t like that there wasn’t much hosain sauce in the dish.
For mains, we each ordered a dish to share between us. Lauren chose the Massaman Beef Cheek ($31.90). It was a slowly braised beef cheek in Thai Massamn spices and coconut milk, partnered with roasted taro root and dressed with fried crispy onion. I’m just going to go right ahead here and admit that this was my favourite dish of the night and I was kicking myself for not ordering this instead. There, I said it! I’ve actually never had beef cheeks before (well at least I don’t think so) and at first I was a little hesitant but it turned out to be pretty amazing.
Idrus ordered the Manhan Lamb Ribs ($33.90) which was slow cooked in “One Hundred” spices, finished on the grill and served with roasted banana chilli, zucchini and eggplant. When this was put on the table, we weren’t impress as the lamb looked really dry and there was no sauce in sight to dip it in. However, looks can be deceiving and according to Idrus and Lauren it turned out to be really delicious and the lamb was cooked to perfection too. Apparently the flavours were all in the vegetables though, so if you do order this make sure you eat the lamb with the veggies. If you dig deep, there was in fact a bit of sauce at the bottom of the plate.
Lastly, I wanted to be cliche and order a duck dish hence the name of the restaurant so I ordered the Crispy Xiang Su Duck ($34.90) which was the most expensive out of the mains we ordered. My dish was confit of free range duck marryland topped with a thin layer of taro mash then crispy fried and dressed with honey ginger infused Chinese aged vinegar. It took a little while for me to decide that I didn’t like my order. The flavours were so strange and I did not like the texture of the taro mash, I don’t even know what this is but I don’t like it. I liked the pear that was plated on the side, it was marinated in vinegar or even balsamic vinegar – it was interesting but in a good way.
Overall, we didn’t have a bad experience but it’s not a place that we would choose to come again nor would I suggest it to anyone who prefers to have homely Asian cuisine. To me (and Idrus), Asian food should be served and cooked in a “homely” manner. Trying to “fine dine” Asian cuisine is just ruining the whole purpose of “Asian” food, in our opinion anyway. The Asian restaurants that Idrus and myself enjoy are one’s that don’t try so hard to make the dish look presentable and they also don’t cost $30.00 or more. Obviously, if the serving was generous (which by the way WDFAC lacked) then of course we would feel confident and comfortable to pay that much. You would be surprised at how small the serving was for the Masaman Beef Cheek was, it was certainly not worth the price. The flavours were there but it could be better too… I didn’t try the lamb but I can also tell when Idrus really enjoyed something and although he did enjoy his choice of main I know he didn’t love it.
Aside from the food I will add that the service was impeccable and If I must score a restaurant based on “fine dining” then I would 100% give them a good rating but unfortunately for the food, I cannot. If Asian Fine Dining Cuisine is your thing then I have no doubt in my mind that you will enjoy Wild Duck Fine Asian Cuisine and recommend it but if you’re anything like me and see Asian cuisine a homely and flavoursome explosion then save your money because you won’t get it here.
Do you think Asian food and fine dining go hand in hand? Should I give WDFAC a second chance? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.
Until next time,
Shop 77-78/71, Giles St
Kingston Foreshore, ACT
Lunch: Monday to Friday from 12pm
Dinner: Monday to Saturday from 5:30pm
Visit Wild Duck Fine Asian Cuisine here