Keen to try new places especially when they are close to home Adelaide Food Central decided to visit the newly opened gourmet burger and pizza bar, The Pickled Duck Kitchen & Cellar, suitably located on North East Road opposite Westfield Tea Tree Plaza.
Upon entering The Pickled Duck you notice the large light-filled dining area which leads out to a small beer garden overlooking Civic Park. Whilst the name screams Asian to me, it is the ducks that roam Civic Park that inspired the name and I can only assume that ‘pickled’ is in relation to the nearby Modbury Plaza Hotel, or perhaps the adjoining cellar and bottle shop. The main dining area is decked out in simplistic, yet stylish matching wooden tables with complementary black chairs. The wooden theme extends to the floorboards and panelled ceiling, with downlights and some eye-catching pendant lighting completing the picture. A marble bar, together with a large wood-fired pizza oven in view from the entrance, runs the length of the café and makes for a focal point.
The Pickled Duck offers a range of twelve gourmet burgers and ten different wood oven pizzas and features a host of local craft beers and ciders on tap. You can even take advantage of the adjoining cellar (part of the freshly renovated Thirsty Camel Bottle Shop) and select a bottle of your favourite wine to purchase and drink at your table (with a small corkage fee). The Pickled Duck also offer charcuterie and cheese boards that are an ideal companion to your wine choice. In addition the menu boasts sliders, sides, a range of salads and of course dessert.
Given that The Pickled Duck’s menu focuses on burgers and pizzas of course we were going to order a burger, but first things first. To accompany our burgers we decided on a serve of Onion Rings from the ‘Small Eats’ menu and the Loaded Potato Skins. The Onion Rings were served with chipotle mayo and had a perfect golden colour with an even more perfect crunch. The serving size was generous and the rings were equally good to eat with or without the subtly spiced chipotle mayo. The batter was used sparingly (in a good way) which meant the onion rings were a nice ‘light’ snack that wasn’t oily and didn’t fill you up (too much).
The Loaded Potato Skins as the name suggests are potato skins loaded with pulled pork and chicken, wood oven-baked with mozzarella cheese and topped with Ranch sauce and fresh chives. Whilst not an elegant looking dish, the base of the potato skins were delightfully crispy and loaded with chunks of well-seasoned pork and chicken meat. The tangy Ranch dressing added a creamy element and together with the melted-cheesy-goodness made for a tasty entrée.
I opted for the Middle Eastern Lamb Burger consisting of a lamb patty, grilled haloumi, cucumber, hummus, baby spinach and minted yoghurt. Whilst I found the lamb patty a tad overcooked the flavours worked flawlessly together. I loved the squeak of the haloumi every time I took a bite and I should point out that there was plenty of haloumi, no skimping in this burger. I also liked the fact that the cucumber was finely grated opposed to sliced; the latter of which making for a somewhat cumbersome burger to eat. The minted yoghurt added a refreshing hit to the burger and complemented not only the lamb but the nutty flavour of the hummus, which in itself was a nice alternative to a sauce or relish that are commonly used in burgers.
Mr N decided on a more traditional burger option with the Americana Burger with a beef patty, grilled cheese, pickles, American mustard, tomato and lettuce with the addition of an extra beef patty and cheese, which he absolutely loved! The burger was well-assembled even with the extra patty on a soft glazed bun. The beef patties were a good thickness (not like some burger patties which are wafer-thin), well-cooked and seasoned and importantly the same size as the burger bun. The pickles, tomato and lettuce added an element of freshness to the burger. Both burgers were fresh and not greasy at all; definitely a sign of a good burger.
Now you are probably thinking what can you wash a burger down with… do I hear milkshake? Why yes! In the last week The Pickled Duck have added a range of milkshakes and smoothies to their expanding menu and I hear they have been selling like hot cakes. With a choice of six decadent flavours in their Loaded Milkshake range, Mr N chose the Caramel Chrunchie Loaded Milkshake. This was beautifully presented in a Mason jar and topped with mountains of whipped cream and crumbled Chrunchie bar with a decorative drizzle of caramel sauce down the inside of the jar. One word… delicious!!! Whilst probably not ideal for the health conscious these shakes make for a fantastic sweet indulgence on a hot day.
With a dessert menu offering the likes of Chocolate Nachos, Churros Dog, Rocky Road Pizza and more how was I to choose… but choose I did, the Nutella Burger. I will forgive you for thinking that this ‘burger’ looks exactly like a cheeseburger when in actual fact it is a Nutella ‘burger patty’, with strawberry ‘tomato’, kiwi fruit ‘lettuce’ and mango masquerading as melted cheese on a sweet bun served with a side of cinnamon donut ‘wedges’ and strawberry dipping sauce. The Pickled Duck’s head chefs Brook Shepherd and Phil Carey have done a fantastic job with the creativity behind this dessert! Whilst the Nutella patty was wickedly rich the fresh fruit helped to cut through some of this sweetness. For all you Nutella lovers out there this dessert is a must!
The service at The Pickled Duck was prompt and we barely waited fifteen minutes for our food, although we did arrive between services on a Sunday afternoon as we were told it can get quite busy on weekends. The staff were friendly, always smiling and quick to tidy empty plates from the table. Service to me is almost as important, if not more important, as the food itself. Prices at The Pickled Duck are comparable to other such eateries with burgers ranging in price from $9.90 to $14.90, pizzas $12.90 to $21.90 depending on size and desserts around the $12 mark. The Pickled Duck is open Monday to Friday from 9:30-11:30am for coffee and muffins and 11:30-9pm for meals, whilst on the weekends they offer breakfast between 9-11am and meals again from 11:30-9pm. Given that The Pickled Duck currently don’t take bookings it is best to arrive early at mealtimes, especially on weekends, to ensure you don’t have to wait long for a table, but rest assured the wait will be worthwhile.
The Pickled Duck really is a great place to unwind after shopping up a storm at ‘The Plaza’ and an eatery that the North Eastern suburbs have long been waiting for!
Adelaide Food Central would like to sincerely thank Mel for facilitating our visit to The Pickled Duck, along with Matt and the rest of his team on the day for their friendly and generous hospitality. All food was provided free of charge.
Words and Photos by Kelly Betterman
WHERE: 993 North East Rd, Modbury