Naughty Babe Dirty Duck is the kind of restaurant you want more of in the city. Interior-wise, it has the trappings of a hip café – salvaged wood panelling, raw brick walls, and pendant lamps with wire frames. But in essence, the restaurant is casual and unpretentious, with a menu that’s very straightforward. Food portions are big, and most importantly, it’s very reasonably priced. It’s the kind of restaurant you don’t need an occasion to visit, but when you do, there are long tables to fit a party.
As the name suggests, this is a porky restaurant. Extremely porky. A big majority of the dishes on the menu are pork, in every iteration possible – chops, knuckles, bacon, sausages, skewers and their famous ribs. There’s a small amount of duck and one each of chicken, fish and lamb, not counting the salad and soup of course.
We started with the recommended appetiser of Oink and Quack Skewer, in which cubes of pork and duck are skewed (sic) with capsicum, onion and button mushroom. It was a decent dish, but what really transformed this dish was the restaurant’s signature dipping sauce – Hot Stuff. A mixture of ground chilli and dark soy sauce (much like the Balinese chilli paste that’s used to barbecue chicken or as a dipping sauce), Hot Stuff first imparts a sweet taste before your mouth burns with a fiery spiciness – it’s got a good kick.
Our first main, the char-broiled Sakura pork chop, was again a serviceable dish even though the meat was a little tough, but the less starchy sweet potatoes made a good accompaniment. Our second main, the restaurant’s famous NDBB BBQ Pork Ribs is rightfully their pièce de résistance. Our half slab arrived on a wooden board, fragrantly charred, and lacquered with a layer of sticky barbecue sauce. It’s huge, almost as big as two saucer plates, and it’s best eaten with hands as you tear the moist and tender meat with your teeth. It was so satisfyingly good in itself that we forgot that the ribs came with Hot Stuff dipping sauce.
The only gripe we had (besides the restaurant charging for drinking water) was the policy where ‘dishes are served without prejudice as soon as they are ready’. Surely it can’t be that difficult to organise your kitchen so that the food comes in the order that they should. Our orders all came at the same time, so after we were done with the appetiser and salad, our meat had become cold and the pork chop’s accompanying broccoli a tad soggy.
But we’re definitely going back, perhaps with a group as the dishes are perfect for sharing. And we’d happily get dirty for the ribs.