Posts Tagged ‘duck’

Luciano’s, Queenstown

Luciano’s can be described quite simply, great meat cooked brilliantly. If you take away the mobster theme; the walls covered in quotes from gangster films, the Tommy gun mounted on the wall near the entrance, and the blues brother’s car that drives around town; then the food can stand on it’s own. I believe Luciano’s is the best restaurant in Queenstown – the food isn’t quite as refined as a couple of other places, however the price is great and the vibe is familiar.

The origins of the food As the menu suggests (see picture) the produce is all sourced as locally as possible and is as fresh as possible. The menu is italian, pizza, pasta, and meat. I haven’t even considered the pizza or pasta – the “3 hour slow roasted 90 day aged Hereford rib-eye baked gratin, seasonal veg, whole garlic & pinot jus” or “Wild fiordland venison, bacon arancini, Sicilian caponata & cherry balsamic” are far too tempting. To make matters even better, the prices are great – any one of these mains for $30  would be a steal but the entire menu is downright outrageous. Couple this with the fact that the portions are quite large and not only do you have brilliant food, it is at great value.

The food isn’t thae only thing going for it, the service is great; friendly, prompt and courteous and the wine list is well considered, a good range of prices and varieties but nothing over the top or pretentious.

What more can I say? Luciano’s probably isn’t going to feature on the list of New Zealand’s best restaurants but it damn well should. It encapsulates everything that the south holds dear – great food, good produce and a warm friendly atmosphere.

Duck & goose liver pate

The duck and goose liver pate. I’m not normally a fan of pate however this was sweet and rich but not the flavour wasn’t too overpowering.

Slow cooked wild rabbit & hare, grilled brioche, quince c

Slow cooked rabbit and hare ragu with brioche and chutney. I’m a sucker for ragu and this didn’t fail to impress. The gamey meats are perfectly suited for slow cooking – it falls apart perfectly but still maintains a great texture in your mouth. Served with brioche and chutney what more can I say?


Half a duck w baked kumara & leek, green beans, toasted almonds & caramelised orange sauce. I only tasted a little bit of the duck and the meat was beautiful but the skin was a touch too fatty. As far as I’m concerned this was the only blemish and perhaps hard to avoid.


The main attraction. Wild fiordland venison, bacon arancini, Sicilian caponata & cherry balsamic. If I didn’t like all the other food so much, I’d say this was my favourite dish. There’s something about venison that makes me wish for a baby’s bib so I don’t have to hold the drool in my mouth. This was no exception. The sweetness of the balsamic reduction cut through the weight of this dish brilliantly.

Rhubarb & hazelnut crumble, berry sorbet

Rhubarb crumble with berry sorbet. Warm, comforting rhubarb. Sweet, acidic sorbet. Almond meal crumble. A well-balanced almost savoury dessert.

Mushroom Risotto with Duck Marylands

I love going to the market, buying a cut of meat and then figuring out what to do with it. This week the mystery box was duck marylands. Chicken marylands are pretty much my favourite cut of any meat and I was hoping the duck would be just as good. Alas, it is far too sinewy and tough and not quite as flavoursome as I was hoping. I probably won’t be buying the marylands in the future (though I’d appreciate suggestions), sticking with breast instead.

A quick Forage and I found Abstract Gourmet’s Duck Breast and Shitake Risotto and this is based on that.

Cropped duck risottoDuck Maryland

  • Mustard seeds
  • Fennel seeds
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Thyme
  • Pimento
  • Whatever other spices you feel might go nicely.

Dry roast all the spices in a frying pan,then grind them, most of the thyme and the salt up in a mortar and pestle. Rub the mix into the skin of the duck. On high, heat the vegetable oil and the remainder of the thyme in the same pan, when the oil begins to smoke, fry the duck, skin down. Turn the heat down to medium and cook on both sides until it’s cooked, but not overcooked.

Mushroom Risotto

  • Olive oil
  • 2 handfuls of field mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 leek, quartered and chopped finely
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • thyme
  • 1 1/2 cups of Arborio rice
  • 1-2 litres Chicken stock, preferrably home made.
  • 1 glass dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Saute the leek in the olive oil in a large frying, when the leak is soft and begins to lose its colour add the mushrooms, garlic and thyme and cook until soft. Now, pour in your rice and give it a good toasting for about a minute. They say you shouldn’t stir risotto, so shake the pan instead.  Next, add the white wine and let it cook down. From now on, be careful not to let the rice go too dry. As the rice starts to dry out, add a couple of ladles of chicken stock. You will probably use about 1.5 litres of stock, but work by taste and feel. It’s important to season this as you go, you’ll probably find (depending on the stock) you will probably end up using a metric shitload of salt.

When the rice is firm, but not hard. You are almost done. Take it off the heat, and fold in the butter, and the parmesan. Serve it while it’s hot and garnish it with a few sprigs of thyme and perhaps a squeeze of lemon juice.


Duck and mushrooms. The perfect ingredients to match with an earthy, intense Pinot Noir. Try something from Geelong or Yarra Valley. Our selection was the 2008 Ata Rangi “Crimson” a perfect match for about $30.