A writer sharing travels, experiences, a love of festivals & events. Life is a journey and I hope to inspire others. Visit my blog at https://www.travelwithirenke.blogspot.com
Published March 3rd 2018
Sydney's north shore has a new Chinese restaurant and I was lucky enough to be invited to the launch – a sumptuous feast for lunch for the newest opening of Holy Duck – in Castlecrag (the original restaurant is in Chippendale's trendy Kensington Street).
Behind Holy Duck are Chefs Gallery, where artistry combines with produce to create a palette of aromas, flavours and textures in line with the four traditional Chinese schools of cuisine. As the name suggests, duck is at the core of Holy Duck and it's a venture that is a next-level showcase of Chinese BBQ and roasts. It's where traditional dishes are transformed into modern dishes that excite the senses in a new dining experience.
I was looking forward to trying some barbecued duck and that I did, amongst several other dishes in a wonderful banquet. On arrival, my guest and I were met with friendly faces and a glass of wine each before being directed to a table. A set menu was laid before us, full of interesting items. Not only duck cooked in a variety of ways but pork, fish, dumplings, noodles and more were set to tantalise our taste buds.
A steamed dim sum platter, presented in a traditional basket, was first to hit our table. The prawn and vegetable bundles of deliciousness looked so delicate and were given a nod of approval for their taste.
Following this, the party got quacking with the Signature Crispy Duck and steamed pancakes. Adorning the share plate were pieces of cucumber, shallots and a Hoisin sauce. The pancake was lovely and thin like a crepe, the sauce was sweet and complimented the wonderful crispy skinned duck cooked to perfection. It was an amazing dish, one to most definitely go back for again.
Next up were the Steamed Duck and Pork Dumplings drizzled in a Shanghainese sauce. My picking turned out to be of the pork variety and it was very nice with some spice to it. Silky smooth, it slid down fast like a duck diving into water.
Another Signature dish was making its way to us – the Holy Duck Specialty Platter. This consisted of roast duck, BBQ char siu (pork) and crispy roast pork belly. Some interesting sauces, one creamy and one clear, added to the taste sensations. A winner of a dish, I loved all three items but especially the crispy pork belly and the crunch as you bite into it. 'Yum, yum and yum'.
There was more 'yum' to come though. The Sweet & Sour Pork with pineapple was another winning dish. I loved that the outside coating wasn't thick and all-consuming and, with the decent portions of pork inside, it made this a stand out amongst similar dishes I've had elsewhere.
We were getting full by now but there was more to come. Drunken Fish arrived with greens and wood ear mushroom in a Sake Kasu gravy, adding flavour. The fish was so beautiful, white and fresh. We were a 'drunken' in glory.
Throughout the lunch, we were treated to many drinks from attentive waiters and waitresses. The set drinks menu included a cocktail of lime-infused Vodka with lychee syrup, coconut water and a charge of sparkling wine; an apple mocktail; red and white wine; and to end the lunch, an espresso martini. I loved the Holy Duck mocktail with its kaffir lime & lychee breeze with cold pressed apple juice. It was so refreshing I had a couple of them. The martini with chocolate shavings on top was pretty good too with its vanilla-infused Vodka, Kahlua, crisp espresso shot, salted caramel and dark chocolate.
A big thank you to the owner of Quadrangle Shopping Village, Stanley Quek, a Singaporean medical doctor turned property developer turned accidental restauranteur (as he calls himself) for bringing Holy Duck into the mix of dining options here. It's a wonderful addition.
All in all, I have to say that this was the best Chinese food I've had. The signature dishes were clear favourites and they'll surely see me returning. Looking at the website, there's a number of other options that are catching my attention to warrant another visit. The Roast Beef Short Ribs, the Sichuan Style Hot & Numbing Chicken Wings, and the Fried Ice Cream with Ferrero Rocher, nuts and Nutella, all sound good.
So make sure you duck into this paradise of food for yourself and savour some of these dishes and more from the delightful menu.