Three Blue Ducks has found itself a third nest to call home. Adding to their eateries in Bronte and Byron Bay, their newest home is located within the heritage-listed Koskela warehouse in Rosebery, formerly known to locals as the beloved Kitchen by Mike.
If you've not been before, then prepare to be blown away by the grandeur of the venue. There's a front deck, two dining spaces and a courtyard, and they're all fitted out with an industrial chic design you can't help but love — even though it's all been done before. With its exposed bricks, beams and ceiling insulation, garage roller doors and concrete floors, it feels like you're walking into a very fancy garden shed. Which is all well and good — but much like your ordinary backyard shed, it's quite cold and draughty in the evening, which, while it's still chilly at night, takes away from the relaxed vibe it's going for. Aesthetically, yellow tints dancing beneath huge woven basket light shades help warm the enormous space — but if you're one to feel the cold, we recommend you request to sit next to one of the few gas heaters they've got fired up.
The heating situation might not be quite worked out yet (Kitchen by Mike never figured it out either), but the dinner menu is a different story. You're in good hands with chefs and co-owners Darren Robertson, Mark LaBrooy and MasterChef 2012 winner Andy Allen looking after things in the kitchen. There's a real focus on seasonal produce and sustainability, while their smoke and fire theme — fuelled by their wood-fired oven, charcoal pits and Argentinian grill out in the garden — is represented throughout each course.
But even if you're not in the mood for rich, smoky flavours, there are plenty of other dishes that'll impress. Keep it light and simple with a couple of fresh-as-they-come oysters with ginger and shallots ($4 each) and perhaps the raw kingfish with buttermilk, roasted buckwheat and cucumber ($19). Of the small share plates, the free-range fried chicken wings with lemon and fermented chilli sauce ($14) are a must-order; they're so good, three just isn't enough. Wash these down with a Lord Nelson Three Sheets Pale Ale ($10) or a Lick Pier ginger beer ($13) if you prefer your brew sweeter. They also have an extensive wine list from which to choose a glass of vino.
If you're really hungry, we recommend tucking into a few extra starters because a potential 45-minute wait between entree and main course is a long time to ponder on your hunger pangs. Luckily Michael Jackson plays on repeat, which makes the wait for your clams with slow-cooked pig's head, confit garlic and greens ($35) an enjoyable one. The big, juicy shellfish come piled high in a bowl of saucy goodness that's just too good to share — so the wait is well worth it. A side of roasted chicken fat potatoes with almond cream and chicken salt ($11) completes the meal in style. Finish with one of their cocktails, like an espresso martini ($17).
As well as dinner, Three Blue Ducks is open for breakfast and lunch. The Cannery precinct in Rosebery — which is also home to Archie Rose, Black Star Pastry and Saporium — is a new direction for them, and with a little fine tuning it's sure to become just as popular as its other coastal outposts.
Images: Monica Buscarino.