Food: Szechuan Roast Duck, Roast Pumpkin Birdie Bowl, Cocktail on Tap/ Consumed at: Birdie’s All Day Bar + Deli/ Date: April 2018.
I live just a couple of minutes away from Sylvia Park, but despite this, I still haven’t had a chance to check out all the new eateries that opened at The Grove at the end of last year. Last Saturday, bored and hungry (plus a little hungover) I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to head to one of the eateries I hadn’t yet been to yet, Birdie’s, to see how it was.
I hadn’t yet talked to anyone who had been there and saw pretty mixed reviews online, but after a look at the menu there sounded like quite a handful of tasty dishes, so I was keen to give it a try.
We headed in for a late lunch (around 3pm) so the place was pretty quiet. I really liked the decor – we sat opposite a wall with wooden frames framing bunches of dried leaves, herbs and flowers and to our left hung baskets filled with plants next to a huge window. We ordered drinks, I ordered the Cocktail on Tap, which happened to be an Apple Mojito and Georgie ordered an Early Bird (which I wish I’d gone for to be honest), a mix of bourbon, Earl Grey tea, raspberries and lemon juice.
Soon after, we ordered our food. I ordered the Szechuan Roast Duck from the ‘Smalls’ menu along with the Roast Pumpkin Birdie Bowl and I added rotisserie chicken. Georgie went for the Roasted Cauliflower and the Chicken Deli Roll.
Szechuan Roast Duck (with roast beetroot, pomegranate, horseradish fraiche, sorrel, roti crisps): I tried the Szechuan roast duck first which was super tasty. The roast beetroot added the perfect sweetness to the dish while the pomegranate added a great tart flavour. The duck was also marinated and cooked really well with crispy skin and juicy meat.
I have a question for knowledgeable food people though: Perhaps I’m being ignorant, but when something is labelled Szechuan, would you expect it to be spicy? Because this was not. I guess Szechuan peppercorn is part of Chinese Five Spice mix though, which isn’t particularly spicy. IDK, I’d genuinely like to know what you think.
Carrying on, the roti chips were a nice textual addition, although I would have preferred for them to be a bit thinner because it was almost like I was just eating plain puff pastry with no filling. Overall though I really enjoyed this dish and would happily, and gladly order it again.
Roast Pumpkin Birdie Bowl (which also included kale, farro, chickpeas, labne, za’atar, roast lemon purée): So when I saw this come out I was like “oh damn, I’ve ordered too much”. It was a pretty generous serving I would say, and with the added rotisserie chicken on top, I knew I had probably over ordered, but it looked delicious. Weirdly there was no roast pumpkin in sight. The salad as a whole was delicious, but I specifically ordered it because I thought there was going to be roast pumpkin, so I was a little confused by that. The additional chicken was a generous serving, although I felt like instead of a huge hunk, it would’ve been better to shred it a little bit, as the meat was a little dry (the skin was super nice and crispy though!).
After a quick chat with Georgie she commented that her cauliflower was tasty, but probably needed a little extra sauce and her deli roll was also great, but how it was served (in a metal basket) made it tricky for consumption!
Overall a good experience, a pricey one, but a good one, and to be fair I was absolutely stuffed when I left. Tasty food, great service and great atmosphere. I’ll happily come back for more as there are plenty of things on the menu I’d love to try. Namely the Miso Roast Eggplant, the Hoisin Beef Rump and their ‘famous’ Chicken Croquettes – may have to wait until pay day though.
Have you been to Birdie’s at Sylvia Park yet? If so, let me know what you thought below. Or, if you’re a Szechuan cuisine expert, let me know your opinion about whether you’d expect something labelled Szechuan to be spicy.