It’s that time of year again. It’s cold, wet and dark by 5pm. But fear not, the Roast Collection is here to keep us all toasty warm and well fed. Boasting a huge calendar of events throughout June it makes getting from one Food & Wine Festival to the next (March 2014) a little bit easier to take.
And with Victorian produce given centre stage, now is the time to PVOYT. What’s that you ask? Put Victoria On Your Table. Yes it’s a bit of a mouthful, just like the fantastic duck tasting menu being served up every Sunday this month at Taxi in Federation Square.
In fact it’s more than a mouthful, it’s a five-course wine-matched extravaganza – Ducks in a Row – which sees executive chef Tony Twitchett put Greg and Jodi Clarke’s Great Ocean Ducks to excellent use. And these aren’t just any ducks – these are pampered Aylesbury ducks. They roam free by day and sleep on straw by night. In summer they eat strawberries from a neighbouring grove and, in winter, apples from the orchard. You get the idea.
Combining the mix of Asian and Australian flavours and cooking styles for which Taxi is renowned, we start off with coffee-smoked duck nigiri sushi with a teriyaki glaze. To our surprise, rich and fatty slices of duck really do go well with nose-tingling wasabi. This dish was served alongside a glass of Canard-Duchêne champagne. It’s not from Victoria, but the choice of bubbles are proof that everything on this menu really has been planned with the duck as the hero.
Next, spicy duck dumplings with hoi sin sauce, matched with a gorgeously buttery Principia chardonnay from Mornington Peninsula. Slightly crispy wonton wrappers gave way to juicy duck meat, a great savoury offering with a hint of heat from the chillies.
A bit of theatre next with the Sichaun duck soup. Bowls of Thai basil, coriander and water spinach arrive at the table – the ingredients are then submerged in a dark, unami-driven broth that is poured from a teapot. Such a simple dish but it looked stunning. Made on the bones of the duck, it is good to see the whole bird being put to use – it’s bill to tail eating.
The next dish – roasted Sichuan duck with fresh lime and sriracha salt – features duck that has been slowly steamed before being fried. As a result, the skin has retained a satisfying crispness while the meat is meltingly tender. Not surprisingly, it is a Taxi stalwart. It is served with the The Story pinot noir from Port Campbell, the ducks stamping (should it be waddling) ground.
To finish, a stick-to-your-teeth green apple tarte tartan – where’s the duck, you say? Think of this dessert as a tribute to the ducks, after all, apples are one of their favourite snacks.
Sundays from 9 to 30 June 2013, from 12 noon to 3pm
Taxi Dining Room
Tel: (03) 9654 8808
$85 per person