Duke's Bistro, often described as the hipsters hideout, is known as much for it's edgy fit out as it is for its eclectic and experimental creativity. Browsing through 2012's list of Crave Sydney dinners reveals a fair few promising dinners. Unfortunately, my meager budget leaves me very careful about the places I choose. If you're really interested in a dinner, here's my advice: the day the calender for October comes out, seize that opportunity to find the events you like and book them quick. A lot of the events get booked out in a couple of days and most after a fortnight if i'm not mistaken so the early bird really gets the worm.
I'll admit, I'm not exactly the most social person (I loathe the idea of any huge crowd setting) so being presented with the idea of communal tables was quite offsetting. However as the night went on and even initially, with unlimited free flowing booze and such interesting stories to be discovered, it's hard not to get into the mood.
Yes I'm one of those wankers that attempts to drink for taste. That's not working out so well for me because I find all can taste is alcohol. Guess I'm not at that stage yet. Forgive me for the non-existent descriptors of the the matching wines for the night. The photos are terrible because I only started to discover my camera had a flash function. Yeah... Not going to deny it, i'm a big rookie.
Whilst the menu isn't very complicated, before every dish comes out, it is announced at the front and given astute detail.
|Potato, Bone Marrow, Horseradish|
|Duck Liver, Pain D'epice|
|Deers Pudding, Pickled Onions, Malt|
|Snails, Parsley, Pine|
|Potted Swine, Pickles, Bread|
|Spring Vegetables, Quail Egg, Rye|
|Broth of Artichoke and Preserved Truffle, Leaves and Cream|
|Grilled Bug Tail, Leek, Garlic, Riesling|
|Squab aged in Bay Leaves and Hay, Broad Beans, Gamekeepers Tea|
|Grapes in Ashes, Cheese and Lees|
|Chocolate, Chicory, Smoked Prune|
The Duke's Regale was based off what a duke would eat. It's a fascinating concept that I hoped wouldn't compromise on flavor and it didn't. The dishes were unusual to say the least and it seems like booze was very much a secondary theme of the night. Glasses were repeatedly refilled in a blink of an eye and every sort of protein seemed to be dressed, soaked, infused or mixed in some sort of alcohol. Going through many other blogs, it appears tonight's dinner was slightly more conservative then what they usually dish out with no form of molecular whizz-bangery in sight. Just very good clean flavours that work well.
Admittedly, looking around the internet, Duke's Bistro leaves many mixed. It does have it's legions of local followers but at the same time it can be quite polarizing. Service, portion sizes, controversial combinations and pricing are amongst the few problems that I read a lot about. I, however, remain optimistic about it. Those aforementioned issues weren't in the slightest sense present that day and if the duke's regale is any indicator of what Duke Bistro is like on a normal day, I'll be surely back.
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