Deer Duck Bistro – You disappoint

(Since writing this review, I have been contacted by Nicholas, the owner of Deer Duck. Please take your time to also read his comments and my reply below. Although I thought I would never want to return to Deer Duck Bistro, that is no longer the case. The simple act of taking time to read and politely acknowledge what I’ve written tells me this is someone who cares and I would be happy to visit again for a better experience!)

Mike and I purchased a Groupon Voucher ($99) for a 4-course meal (with a glass of wine) for 2 at Deer Duck Bistro.

We finally redeemed it yesterday (Friday) with high expectations. Boy, little did we know!

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Our reservations were for 7pm and we were promptly shown to our seats. Quirky seating arrangements, I loved the long sofas, but the decor looked tired.

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We were handed menus and offered our glasses of wine. Both of us chose red and were given Sacred Earth Clarendon Hills Onkaparinga Grenache 2007 – We were pretty sure we didn’t get a full serving. The wine was good, but when you can buy it for $5/bottle, I feel a little ripped off.

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This was the menu offered on Groupon when we purchased our vouchers:

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The menu we received. There were a few changes that were a little disappointing, which I will mentioned as we go.

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First to arrive was our entree: Share platter of meats, dips, terrines & freshly baked breads.

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Our visual impression was, “Not bad!” The bread crisp was interesting, the house marinated olives were delicious, the fish (herring I think) was nicely seasoned and the pate with carmelized onions was quite tasty. But the house baked bread was dry, terrine and the other meat were both not very flavourful, and the homemade hummus was quite bland.

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Then onto our mains. Our Groupon voucher stated we were supposed to get a side of either potatoes or vegetables but it was not available to us.

It took way too long for the mains to come out – we waited nearly 45 minutes! In addition, both our dishes were already going cold when it came out. Why did it take so long for our food to be served cold?!

Mike got the Prosciutto rolled chicken ballotine, parsnip & pear puree, whipped saffron potato, chicken jus

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Flavours were okay but this is not the size of a main dish, compounded by the fact we didn’t get a side dish as well.

I got the Duck trio, baby leek, apple, fennel, fondant potato, and baby vegetables.

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Do you see any baby leek, apple, fennel or baby vegetables? None. Instead, both our dishes are adorned by a couple little pieces of carrot, asparagus and radish. Barely enough for a few mouthfuls let alone compliment a protein dish. I’ve mentioned it before in other posts, but when the same vegetables are showing up on multiple plates, it’s not for flavour, only decoration. Unfortunate, because all 3 duck meats were really delicious, although why is the duck breast plated skin down? Why?

After finishing our mains, we proceeded to wait for our cheese platter to share. We waited and waited and waited. What on earth takes so long for a dish that doesn’t even require cooking?

The menu said: Cheese plate, lavosh, house baked breads, fresh & dry fruits.

Look at the plate that finally came out…

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Old grapes, 1 strawberry sliced in half, and the same dry bread and bread crisps (not lavosh) as the entree plate. 2 slices of cheddar cheese and a wedge of brie, compared to Millawa goat blue and Pont Leveque cheese on the Groupon menu. Not the same cheeses as advertised deal, which was a disappointment because we felt these cheeses weren’t as special and possibly cheaper substitutes.

By now, we were both frustrated and unimpressed at the quality of the food. After a full day at the clinic, we were also quite tired which didn’t help.

Again, we waited and waited for dessert to come out, which was no longer a surprise.

Mike got the Lemon meringue roulade. Why on earth is there burnt crumbled meringue on the plate? We have no idea.

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I got the chocolate Chocolate tart with chocolate ice cream. The good thing about this dessert? The ice cream and berries underneath. The tart was not even close to being decadent, I probably could’ve found something tastier in the Coles bakery aisle.

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We left immediately after dessert around 9:30pm. It took us 2.5 hours to finish a “4-course meal” where only one dish required cooking. Unbelievable.

Although service was friendly and polite (dishes promptly cleared, never had to ask for water), the dishes were not true to the menu we were given, the quality of food was sub-par, and the wait times were unacceptable. We also noticed that some dining tables had a direct view of the toilet and at one point during dinner service, a less-than-impressed diner had to actually get up and close the door.

Our dinner was most definitely not worth the amount we paid. For the quality of food we received, we would never come back and pay the regular prices. Heck, even if the same Groupon deal was available again we wouldn’t consider buying it. This dinner was possibly the worst dining experience we’ve had this year, what a waste of time and money. 😦

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