70-76 Alexander St, Crows Nest
7 courses of duck prepared by Craig Macindoe (MUMU Grill) and Ben Cooper (St Ali)
$95 pp including wines
It's hard to pare down my favourite foods to a top 5, or even top 10. But if I were served duck, cooked any which way, for my last meal, I would die a happy woman.
When it came to the day of Duckfest, I made it a point to not eat until I got to the much loved MUMU Grill so that I was armed with a clean palate and a spacious belly.
The night starts off with a glass of 2007 Polin & Polin Verdehlo, duck liver pate and a quick chat with Craig. The food is mostly prepared, just awaiting some final touches. All is calm here, not a hint of stress or doubt in sight. He tells me that there is such a long waiting list that a second Duckfest has sold out in Melbourne. By this point I'm gushing like an excited schoolgirl because I know that dinner will not disappoint.
The rich flavour of the duck stock is cut through with the freshness of the spring onion. Imagine the deliciousness of duck juices trickling down your fingers when eating roasted duck. Now imagine a whole cup of it. Yum!
Duck breast with deconstructed XO
Served with a 2008 Little Yerring Pinot Noir. Crispy deep-fried duck breast and scallop are coupled with a hot and sour XO sauce.
Duck sang choi bao - flash-fried duck leg with kim chi and oyster in lettuce leaf
Served with a 2008 Bass Strait Pinot Noir. The duck is so tender that it reminds me of really smooth gow gee filling. It goes well with the pickled ginger and mushroom in the kim chi and oyster.
Twice cooked duck with bok choy and poached pear
Served with a 2003 Parker Estate Cabernet Sauvignon. The meat just falls off the bone as I plate myself up a small portion. The fattyness of the duck is complemented nicely by the sweet acidity of the pear.
"Turducken" - turkey stuffed with a duck, stuffed with a chicken, stuffed with a guinea fowl
Served with a 2003 Ada River Cabernet Sauvignon. I can't tell you how excited I was for this, and it definitely lives up to my expectations. An amalgamation of turkey, duck, chicken and game bird flavours, each layer juicier and more tender than the last.
Duck egg caramel with pineapple and papaya
Served with a Pink Muscato by Innocent Bystander. This is by far my favourite. You can taste the duck fat in the sticky caramel on top. Underneath is a custard that tastes of sweetened duck egg yolk. It is a dessert of complex flavours and the fruit and fresh mint tie it all together.
By the end, Dan and I were just in awe of how amazing the food was and how gracefully the night unfolded. I love it when a menu is creative and it's executed beautifully, especially with a food that is notoriously difficult to cook. Kudos to Craig and Ben for an unforgettable night!
Hopefully this is the first of many Duckfests to come. Craig tells me there's a Porkfest just round the corner, so keep your eyes peeled.