It had been a while since I’ve visited the South side of the Island and hit up the Stanley markets, so when I heard about the opening of Pinot Duck, a brand new restaurant from the folks behind Nha Trang and BÊP, I snapped up the chance to check it out.
Situated next to Classified in the Plaza, Pinot Duck would be easy to miss if you didn’t know it was there. If you’re looking for interesting, fresh food and incredible wine, this is the place for you. Staying true to its name, Pinot Duck serves up a wide selection of Pinot wines and various duck dishes which include influences from cuisines all over the world.
I loved the light and airy interior which is welcoming and relaxing. The trendy interior design give Chinese influences a modern edge, all of which was designed by our fabulous former That Girl, Candace Campos.
Every detail of this restaurant reflects its strong brand identity, even down to the custom made crockery! I loved the black and white floral and ink design on all the cups and even the staff uniforms looks casually cool (designed by our other former That Girl, Paola Sinisterra!). With such an on point setting, I had high expectations for the food…
As the name of the restaurant suggests, Pinot is the specialty drink here. So if you’re a wine lover, then be sure to check out their carefully curated range of red, rose and white wines. We were happy to try two different wines that were paired with our meal, a white 2013 Bannockburn Pinot Gris, ‘Mt. Difficulty‘, and a 2010 Auxey Duresses Pinot Noir, ‘Maison Andre Goichot’. Both were very high-quality with layers of flavour that perfectly complemented the food – I would definitely order the ‘Mt. Difficulty’ again with a few of Pinot Duck’s fresh starters.
If you’re more of a beer swigging girl, then you’ve got to check out the Hong Kong craft beer they have on offer at Pinot Duck. ‘Moonzen Brewery‘ is new on the HK craft beer scene, set up by husband and wife duo Laszlo and Michele. They use only the best ingredients to hand-make five different, flavourful beers right here in HK, that include ‘Thundergod Pale Ale‘, ‘Monkey King Amber Ale’ and ‘Moon Goddess Chocolate Stout’… pretty cool names don’t you think?
If you’re feeling something a bit less alcoholic, then I would definitely recommend the unique Eight Treasure Tea (perfect just before Chinese New Year!). This unusual tea is filled with Chinese flavours, and has a nutty yet sweet flavour that was different to anything I’d ever tried before.
If you love duck, then this is the restaurant for you! Yep, expect orders of double duck in every way shape and form. We began with three appetisers, all of which I would definitely order again.
The Rice Paper Rolls ($78) with duck, mango and nuoc nam were so fresh and light, similar to the delicious Vietnamese summer rolls at sister restaurants BÊP and Nha Trang. Ideal for a quick lunchtime bite!
The other appetiser was more traditionally Chinese, with the Classic Crepe Wraps ($68). Think thin, crispy sheets hugging delicious Peking duck which has been roasted using a special oven imported from the U.S. I really liked how these weren’t over indulgent or too filling, they were surprisingly light and crisp – another great casual bite (may I suggest a Moonzen beer to go with them?!).
Our other light bite that we tried was the Duck Liver Pate ($128) marinated in Hua Diao. The pate was smooth and flavourful – I couldn’t resist scooping up a huge chunk to sit onto of the fluffy, perfectly toasted brioche slices. The dish also came with an unusual side of kale crips – a modern take on traditional Chinese veggies.
We went on to sample two of the salads from the menu, the first being the Xinjiang Hami Melon & Mixed Leaves Salad ($98) with Jasmine tea-smoked duck breast. This bright, colourful bowl was fresh and summery, with the slithers of sweet melon perfectly complemented by the smoked pieces of duck. A dish with a very French influence, that also went stunningly with the white wine that we tried.
The second salad we tried was definitely more of an Asian persuasion! The Wood & Snow Fungus Salad ($68) with red coral seaweed, pea sprouts and tofu water was an acquired taste – not my favourite! However, it gave these Chinese ingredients a modern lift, creating a light and refreshing dish that really showcased the fungus.
After the salads, we went on to try two samples of the soups on offer. The Duck Consomme ($88) with winter melon and quail egg was beautifully light and had a delicate flavour. The little poached quail egg added nice depth of flavour and added to the comforting feel of the dish.
The other soup was the traditional Hot and Sour Soup ($68) with shredded roast duck, wood fungus, bamboo shoots, dried bean curd strips, shitake mushrooms and smoked chipoltes. Whilst it looks a bit intimidating with the dark chunks floating around in what looks like oily water, the actually taste of this soup was incredible! Packed with rich, powerful flavours from the mushrooms and duck, this soup is ideal a cold winter’s day and is totally warming and filling. Comfort in a bowl!
Who doesn’t love dumplings?! These Duck and Fennel Soup Dumplings ($98) were delicate and surprisingly light, though slightly lacking in flavour. I did enjoy trying dumplings with a duck filling though, as I’ve never had it before and it was a pleasant change.
For mains, we tucked into the Duck Risotto ($108) – manchu rice cooked with duck stock and green chilli, topped with a slow poached egg and crispy duck skin. The poached egg was a pleasure to break into, oozing delicious yellow yolk over the large grains of rice. Whilst I enjoyed the crispy ‘crackling-like’ duck skin, the rice didn’t have quite the same richness and creaminess as a traditional risotto, and I would advice that you order it to share with a couple of people as we did and to accompany another main.
The main event was the spectacular Eight Treasure Duck ($198) – a slow braised duck leg stuffed with lotus seed, dried shrimp, chestnut, wild rice, bamboo shoots, shitake mushrooms, pork and dried turnip. This beast looks a bit intimidating, especially as it includes so many different ingredients, but it is a true delight to break into and discover all that lies inside. I was concerned that the duck would be too dry, but it was cooked perfectly, falling off onto the plate. Don’t forget to try it with the homemade spicy sauce for a bit of a chilli kick!
Although we were suitably stuffed with all things duck by this point, we had to try a selection of the desserts. The Carmel Lotus Root ($88) had exactly that – caramelised lotus root which was another pleasant surprise! The chocolate mousse was creamy and rich and I loved the adventurous use of the pickled ginger on top, which really cut through the sweetness.
The second dessert we tried was probably my favourite… it’s hard to make a great Creme Brulee ($78), but the flavour of this one was positively scrumptious! Although the actual creme was not quite set enough, the flavour redeemed it especially with the bursts of the Chinese dried citrus zest.
The final dessert, a Tianjin Pear($68) poached in rice wine with goji berries, was beautifully presented with the pinky purple flower petals and pops or red from the goji berries. The pear itself was perfectly poached, soft but not too soft and sweet with a touch of tartness.
The team at Pinto Duck seem keen to please and the Chef is clearly passionate about his creative menu. Everyone was welcoming and eager to help, although as a new restaurant, some of the staff need to sharpen up on their attentiveness. With a couple more services, I’m sure they’ll be up to scratch in no time! I was just pleased to see that everyone was smiling and see happy to be there.
Altogether, I thoroughly enjoyed my experience at this trendy new restaurant. Despite being an obvious combination (duck and pinot!), Pinot Duck is bringing something totally unique to the Hong Kong dining scene, showcasing creativity with some inspiring and unusual dishes. I hate to use the term, but the ‘fusion’ of different cuisines truly works here, and you have the choice between dishes that have either more Asian flavours or a more European-style.
I personally really enjoyed the different dishes and the range of flavours and textures, especially considering they all revolve around the same ingredient. I would definitely recommend going for a couple of the ‘tasters’ and ‘smaller’ dishes at lunch – those duck summer rolls and the duck liver pate would go down a treat with a glass of vino in the sunshine! It’s also a great way to become more familiar with traditional Chinese ingredients and flavours if you’re not already, but through a contemporary setting. I will definitely be heading back with my family for a chilled Sunday and some delicious duck bites!
Special Sassy Offer
Spend a Sassy day in Stanley shopping and snacking at Pinot Duck! Pinot Duck are offering all Sassy readers a complimentary snack to whet your appetite. Choose from either one serving of Chinese Crepe Chips with Three Dips (Sichuan pepper cucumber pickles, black truffle mayo and home-made sweet & sour sauce) or one serving of Duck Fat Potato Wedges with a dash of cumin salt and spicy cumin tomato sauce. Simply quote Sassy to redeem the offer and hurry, as it will end in one month’s time (16 March).