The Duck Inn, Chippendale

On a cold drizzly night, a catchup with old friends on the cards, the promise of a warm, lively night at the Duck Inn pub in Chippendale seemed just the ticket.

The pub was packed as we arrived, and our only seating option was in the beer garden outside. A great spot in concept, but not so great as it started drizzling, then bucketing down, after we had taken a big gulp of our first ciders. Using great agility, we hopped, skipped and jumped over to an umbrella-protected table and there proceeded to continue our leisurely chatter until the rain really started bucketing. Luckily a few people had left in the main part of the bar, so we quickly nabbed a table and were thankful for an actual roof.

We started off with a cider and all commented on the slight rancidity involved with sipping a glass of Magners. We all agreed that the taste improves significantly, with rancidity decreasing in inverse proportion to the number of schooners consumed. $7 each.

Dinner is basically pub grub, with the essence of a effort to make things just a little bit fancier than the normal hum drum grub. In our group, one ordered the Classic Oz Beef Burger ($18), one Pork & Fennel Sausages ($17) and two steak sandwiches ($19).

The burger was described as “not the best burger I’ve ever tasted” and it was noted that the bottom half of the bun was cut from a loaf, and was not an individual roll. We reflected on the potentially critical error of this, depending on the sauciness/ juiciness of the burger and the necessity of the crust from a roll to prevent disintegration. We were advised by our resident New Zealander to go to Queenstown’s Fergberger…or the significantly closer Burger Fuel…for a more tasty morsel.

Burgerman

Burgerman

The pork and fennel sausages were described as “amazing”, although the accompanying potato mash was “floury” and “the worst I’ve ever had”.

Sausage king

Sausage king

The steak sandwich, I felt, was slightly on the small size, although the steak was fairly thick. I had a super grissly bit in one corner of mine, which made eating with hands – as any good steak sandwich should be – awkward and with the distinct possibility of ending up with a sizeable bit of steak hanging from my mouth, out in the open. The spiced tomato chutney was described as “pretty tasty”, although I was less optimistic about it. Fairly average and I was not a fan of raw red onion slices – cooked and caramelised is the way to go here.

Steak and bake

Steak and bake

The chips were a good-sized serve, crisp and generously salted. I’m personally less a fan of the french fry style and more a fan of the steak-cut chips style, but that is no criticism of the Duck Inn.

I had pretty significant food envy of the table next door, which had ordered a couple of the Vale Ale battered fish and chips ($18) and the Twice Cooked Pork Belly (about $24, I think)

Another cider (Batlow, $8.50) later, we headed off into the cold, walking past those young things out for a night on King St, and retreated into the warm, warm safety of our apartments.

The Duck Inn
74 Rose St
Chippendale NSW 2008

Food? 6/10. I wanted to like the food so, so much. And I admit my said food envy…but for us, it was average at best! Safe pub grub though, with a few nice hearty touches
Drinks? 8/10 Decent. A few ciders on tap (the boring Magners, the Batlow and then one poured out of an ale pump) and few craft beers
Atmosphere? 9/10 – a cool neighbourhood pub. Lively, packed, a cool beer garden out the back, a dining hall to one side, friendly bar tenders, rushed but nice service. I’d definitely go back for a Sunday afternoon session.
The Duck Inn Pub & Kitchen on Urbanspoon

The Norfolk, Redfern

Since having moved into my new place, I have made it my self-proclaimed mission to check out every single pub in the area until I find one I can deem “the local”. Since making this claim, I of course have been to about three out of the 84,000 pubs around me, so it’s not going particularly well.

To make up for this, a few dining friends and I went to check out The Norfolk Hotel on Cleveland Street a couple of weeks back. The Norfolk is one of those pubs where somebody was probably once stabbed, where the paintwork peeled and where bouncers through punters out the door and onto the street. It is one of those pubs where some hipster thought to themselves…I can make some money out of this hell-hole, and immediately appointed an interior decorator, some attractive bar staff, a couple of decent chefs and a drink called the Tijuana Camel Toe (it’s delicious).

A few beers (and camel toes) into our night, our stomachs made note of the fact that we had been drowning them in alcohol without so much as a stick of grissini to balance it out. We swiftly approached the bar, ordering a duck, a fish, a chicken and a beef taco (4 for $20), “salt n pepa” squid with jalapeno mayo ($14), a beef burger ($18.50) and a deceptively spicy “Chickn” Burger ($17).

Chickn Burger

We later worked out that the Chickn Burger had on it sriracha mayo, which we appeared to have missed in our menu selection. DF1, being a spice-sissy, regretted this decision immediately and swiftly went to gather as many glasses of water as would fit in his hands. Otherwise, he said the chicken was reasonably juicy and the bun was brioche-y. The chips, he said, were crunchy, but did look like they’d come out of a McCain’s packet. No picture of the beef burger, but the two did essentially look precisely the same (and probably could have been, given the number of beers we had consumed). DF2 said “good…nothing special” after wolfing it down.

Beef and duck tacos

The tacos were light, fresh, flavourful bites enveloped in a chewy tortilla of deliciousness. Both meats were tender and well marinated. The duck taco came with tart orange and surprisingly delicious cabbage slaw (for a girl that does NOT like cabbage). The accompanying wedge of lime added a delicious, fresh twang.

Salt N Pepa squid with jalapeno mayo

The Salt N Pepa squid was great. The squid was cooked perfectly – a light crispness on the outside, and perfectly cooked, non-stringy squid on the inside. The jalapeno mayo had a very decent kick, but not so much that it wasn’t enjoyable. The wedges of lime cut through the creamy sauce and everything was brought together beautifully.

I’m a fan of the Norfolk Hotel, not just for its crazy-named drinks. I like their fresh, no frills fare. I like the fact that their kitchen copes pretty well and produces pretty decent, cheapish food for what seems to be a pretty hectic affair. I think I have actually found myself a good, ol’ local.

The Norfolk Hotel
305 Cleveland Street
Redfern NSW 2010

The Norfolk on Urbanspoon