27 Hyndland Street, Mansfield Park
Partick, Glasgow G11 5QF
0141 334 9909 www.partickduckclub.co.uk
A la Carte
Nibbles: £3.95 - £5.95 | Starters: £4.95 - £8.50 | Duck Club Buns: £9.75 - £9.85
Mains: £12.95 - £15.95 | Desserts: £5.95 - £6.95
Cooking 6/10 | Service 4.5/5 | Flavour 4/5 | Value 5/5
The ducks o’ Partick quake with fear,
crying Lord preserve us, here’s McTear
It’s about half nine on a Friday evening when I make first make the acquaintance of Greg Hutcheson, hipsterish co-owner of PDC. While quaking he is not, he has a decidedly worried look. I have absolutely no idea why. His place is packed to the gunwales, the food is good, and the service is great. I suppose part of the reason for a successful business, whatever its nature, lies in having a boss who is always concerned about quality, and how things could be improved. I guess that’s why chains are usually less good than independents.
The McTear of the quotation was president of an informal group of Glasgow merchants and other worthies who used to take Saturday lunch at an inn on this site a couple of hundred years ago. Roast duck was a particular favourite, hence the club name, Fittingly, Greg and his business partner, Ross McDonald, have preserved the proud tradition. In culinary terms they have a pretty proud tradition themselves. Their CVs boast spells at Gordon Yuill, Brian Maule and One Devonshire Gardens. Most recently they ran Cafezique and Délizique. They established PDC two years ago.
We ate there with middle daughter K, and L, her other half, to celebrate a birthday. This being Glasgow, there is never a dull time to be had. Our taxi driver had been at school with Paul Ferris, with many tales to tell, including what not to do if you’re arranging to have someone bumped off in the town – nothing to do with Mr F, I hasten to add. Our table chums for our aperitif in nearby Cottiers regaled us with banter worthy of Sir Billy C at his best.
To the Duck Club. It’s a compact space, giving out the best type of Friday night buzz. In addition to the normal format, the menu contains a Nibbles section, and a separate one entitled Duck Club Buns. Not only does duck feature liberally, you can have duck fat fries served in five different ways.
Everything we ate was pretty darn good. Fried macaroni cheese sounds less than appetising. It turned out in croquette form, with a nice truffly sauce on the side. We enjoyed the burrata mozzarella, even if the use of the word pangrattato (breadcrumbs) does seem a tad on the posy side. Smoked mackerel pate was exceptionally good, as was an Orkney crab rarebit. From the mains, the 12 hour duck leg was done just right, properly crisped without having been dried out. (Whisper it, but I was a little underwhelmed by the celebrated duck fat fries.) Fish pie can be a very mundane dish. Here it was raised up a notch or three, the unusual addition of a potato rosti adding real crunch.
This is not really a place for connoisseurs of dessert. Aside from a good range of ice cream with different things poured over the range is limited. We care not. I think one was sampled, possibly the milk chocolate bread and butter pudding with rum and raisin ice cream. Nice enough.
Well sated and well satisfied we stumbled out into the steady Partick rain, thankful for the fine tradition established by Mr McTear and his cronies. Greg, please cheer up. If I had a restaurant as good as yours, run by such lovely staff, I would sport a very wide smile.