With the Drunken Duck, the Enoteca restaurant group steps out of its Mediterranean comfort zone and opens an unassuming and surprisingly tasty fusion gastropub that combines Asian and Western flavours. It’s rare in Hong Kong to see a tavern with a raw, stripped down interior serve up anything other than bar bites like fish and chips. But here at Drunken Duck, chef David Tamlyn – who’s worked at Michelin-starred restaurants The Square and Pied-à-Terre in London – is serving up top quality pub food while paying respect to Asian flavours alongside an extensive selection of beers and cocktails.
The venture is located just off Staunton Street in Central, at the former location of French eatery La Marmite, and we start the evening with an eight-hour slow roasted and grilled octopus ($108). The octopus is tender, easy on the bite and full of enough warmth, from a hint of chilli, to stir up your appetite. The highlight of the small bites are the crispy Irish oysters with Tsing Tao butter and Thai vinaigrette ($139). Fried to perfection and full of fresh brine sweetness, the oysters are only made better with butter and a spicy Thai sauce that cuts through the oils and adds just the right amount of kick to tingle and tease your tongue.
For the mains, we try the Korean-style shoulder of lamb ($198), which is a take on a traditional pork belly bossam, but instead of pork it’s a lighter, less fatty lamb alternative that’s surprisingly tender. We end our tasting of savoury delights with the signature Tsing Tao marinated duck ($134), which is a spin on Peking duck that falls a bit flat. With all the hype of it being stuffed and cooked with a beer can, the texture doesn’t match up to expectations. The dish isn’t bad, just not up to the standard of duck you can get elsewhere in town.
Word to the wise, save room for dessert. We pick two out of five options, which more than satisfy our sweet tooth. Our favourite is the unique sour cream and lemongrass ice cream ($76) with hints of cardamom and chilli over biscuits, though the Devonshire burnt cream ($76) holds its own with sinful, crispy chocolate mandarin wontons.
Drunken Duck is an unexpected experience with exceptional dishes and desserts when it comes to the context of pub food. Don’t let the décor fool you into thinking it’s just another bar in Soho or you’ll miss out on a winner. Arthur Tam
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44 Staunton St, Central
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