Outcome: Hung Jury.
Ratio decidendi: Haven’t as yet tried the other lunch menu offerings, but the ‘signature’ rolls haven’t made it easy to build a case for further exploration of the menu.
Salient features: The chips /w rosemary salt come standard with most menu items and are a delight. Also makes for a good catch-up spot if you’ve got a party of 4 or fewer.
Scope of discovery: twice cooked pulled pork roll ($10), 12 hour braised lamb roll ($12)
Case Note: I like the Castlereagh store’s setup and the light-filled, open and airy environment. If you’re primarily looking to catch up, have a smallish party (say <4) and can get there early enough to score some seats it makes for a good lunch spot.
When it comes to the food, the only positive so far for me has been the chips with rosemary salt which are crunchy and well-seasoned. Both my experiences with ‘signature’ rolls on the menu were a letdown. My first visit at a late-ish lunch hour came with the bonus of extra-generous filling, but the negative of the double cooked pork having lost most of its moistness under the heating lamps. Having more of the beetroot relish and aioli in the roll to counter this would have been welcome.
On my second visit I ordered the 12 hour braised lamb roll hoping to erase any memories or doubts over the Naked Duck’s ability to deliver a Pavel & Co-esque roll with juicy filling …but it disappointed again. In some ways I shared some of the blame, failing to realise straight away that they had forgotten to include the tomato salsa and tzatziki and asking for a re-do. I spent a whole 30 seconds staring at the second half of the roll, debating the point, but in the end decided even a re-do would only make a sub-par roll average at best. I think the picture tells the story well – you don’t need to bite into it to know the lamb is dry and the flavour hasn’t found its way to the middle. In my opinion the choice of bread roll doesn’t help either as it’s overly dense and doesn’t absorb the sauces well, which only amplifies the dryness.
Obiter dicta: overheard a passing comment that the Darling Quarter branch does the best bacon & egg roll in Sydney – can anyone confirm/deny?