It’s a couple of weeks since I rocked on in to try the (then) newly opened Cotton Duck in Surry Hills. Jared Ingersoll was at the helm in the kitchen and busy. His restaurant is a statement in sustainability, his food the epitome of fresh. You might remember that I’ve written before that Jared Ingersoll‘s “food is nurturing as well as tasty – I also admire Jared for being so passionate about organic food and small producers, and for his ongoing support as a founding signatory of the Chef’s Charter of – one of my passions – True Food Australia.”
In his new restaurant, it’s not just the menu that is a statement of sustainability. “Using salvaged materials including recycled timber and finishes, Cotton Duck maintains Jared’s ideals of sustainability and environmental consideration: the effect is warm and relaxed, with a spacious feel – the perfect foil for an evening of good food and wine.”
His modern approach to food brings new and old together – new seasonal innovation and updates on classic dishes. This is urban food at it’s best. Ingersoll’s menu and his dishes let the produce shine.
Choose 2 or 4 courses from 12 savoury or 5 sweet. The menu concept is modern and fresh too. We chose 4.
My friend, and dining partner for the evening, Mieka White said she wouldn’t have picked this dish without my prompting. ‘Peas and beans a plate of spring beans, broad beans and parmesan jus’ was my first choice from this fresh and innovative modern menu. The dish heralded the season and was the crowning statement of exemplifying all that Jared Ingersoll and Cotton Duck stands for. Perfectly seasoned, the broth underpinning and supporting the greens, this for me, demonstrates what’s good about organic and fresh local seasonal produce. Chef left the vegetables as the heroes. This was magnificent.
With a love of cured and smoked foods I just had to try ‘Salmon and smoke terrine salmon cured with spice and tobacco’. What a clever play on technique and words with the use of tobacco. It was delightful - masculine and feminine and quirky and traditional creamy and crisp – all at the same time. Most importantly of course the dish was flavoursome.
We’re on to Mieka’s choices now. Not that I couldn’t have selected anything on the menu. All read well, and everything we tasted was beyond expectations. ‘Tuna Tartar tuna, cured salmon and beetroot chips’ was no exception.
I think my choice of the night was ‘Cuttlefish barely cooked in its ink with peppers and walnut butter’. Close to heaven, the texture of the cuttlefish was itself like butter so soft and tender and melt in your mouth. The squid ink was intensive. A highlight of my life. Truly wonderful!
When I was younger, less than a teenager, the first dish I tried to cook that I had never seen or eaten was Vitello Tonnato. I didn’t realise that I had to emulsify the mayonnaise. The dish was disappointing. The sauce was split. Cotton Duck’s version ‘Veal and Tuna a play on vitello tonnato with quail egg and capers’ didn’t have the emulsion. The components were there though. Again, another clever dish! Again it was delicious!
We finished our savoury selection with ‘Muscovy Duck and onion sandwich, with rare breast and livers’ then moved on to dessert.
I just had to try ‘Pumpkin Pie pumpkin cream, gin and brandy snap’ and Mieka chose ‘Treacle Pudding steamed pudding with rye and ginger ice cream’.
We love ‘em all!
I’m glad we choose the 4 courses. 2 just wouldn’t have given us enough vantage of the repertoire. If the test of a restaurant is “would I go back?” Cotton Duck wins. The answer is a most definite yes. And, I will.
50 Holt Street,
Surry Hills NSW 2010
+61 2 8399 0250