Taxi Dining – Ducks in a row

If you were lucky enough to have overheard news and made your presence at any of this year’s PVOYT as part of MFWF, I applaud you. Sweeping the jargon aside, whilst I did attend one event, I did not exactly enrol with the utmost enthusiasm. Honestly, I had heard mixed feelings about Taxi for a long time, but was willing to give it a chance at reshaping my preconceptions. Luckily, I would be in for a very pleasant smack in the face (as unpleasant as that may sound).

As part of the Roast Collection, I was invited to sample Taxi‘s Ducks in a Row Sunday lunch degustation. While regrettably the event is already over (as of June), I felt it resonated more than enough quality and class to oblige a post. (Plus, there was plenty of coverage during the event from Joyce, Agnes, Msihua & Zeboy. At least that is what I reassure myself with.) So here goes…

The decor is sleek, and the views are amazing.


A little rant to start: I find it rather irritating that many fine eateries that clearly offer fine tea do not put it on their drinks menu. I for one would be interested at what you offer. Taxi is no different.

Having arrived early, I was enticed to warming my insides with tea. I obliged gleefully to some Sencha. For a tea snob, I was stupefied when I realised I had been brewing my own high-grade sencha (from Kyoto) incorrectly. What? I had the right temperature (around 700C), but had been over-steeping my tea. Less than 10 seconds is sometimes all it needs to extract the flavours in one steeping if you prefer less tannins / bitterness; and I had been going for around 30 – the usual timing for Chinese green teas. *quickly scribbles down an extra two points to Taxi* P.S. steeping temperature and time will vary depending on tea-grade, amount of tea leaves used, and taste preferences.


Onto the food…

It is always great to hear that restaurants are jumping on board with sourcing locally, and sourcing from smaller producers. The ducks featured were free-range ducks from Great Ocean Ducks near Port Campbell. Apparently their diet is part strawberries, part apples and part grain. No wonder they are so flavoursome.

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Coffee smoked duck sushi, teriyaki glaze. The light sweetness of the glaze, with fresh wasabi packing punches against the smoky duck was just perfect. Never mind the rice, the duck was a real thrill!

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Spicy duck dumplngs, hoi sin sauce. The duck filling paired with shallots and mushroom was close to a perfect match had it not been tainted by too much hoi sin sauce. A little less seasoning (i.e. sauce) and maybe a slightly lighter-thinner skin would have made me a very happy man.

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Sichuan duck soup, thai basil & water spinach. This one really comes with a damn-hot-kick on the throat. Taxi’s chefs sure weren’t afraid of dialling up the heat. Luckily between the occasional coughing, I could easily discern layered tones in the broth from being cooked with the duck bones, and rich fragrance from the generous basil, coriander, water spinach and water chestnut.

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Roasted Sichuan duck, fresh lime & sriracha salt. Being the signature dish, that has remained on the menu for the past 9 years (in its various forms), it was a classic winner. Steamed, then flash fried, the duck skin is caramel-icious and crispy, yet all the moisture remained locked in the flesh. A little orange, lime and sweet glaze to add a little excitement.

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Green apple tarte tartin - a sinfully magical, warm tarte tartin finished off with vanilla ice cream and calvados caramel. As a pun on the duck theme, the final chapter of our meal would have us eating the apples that have been fed to the ducks. So had we become the ducks?

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Selected wine options were: Canard-Duchêne Principia Chardonnay (Mornington Peninsula), The Story Pinot Noir (Port Campbell), and one from further abroad Champagne Brut (France).

Rating: almost Yummy+2, a very memorable encounter for a place I had so much doubt in. Contemporary at heart, but heavily influenced by Asia, Taxi delivers a pricy but classy dining experience.

[Taxi Dining Room]
Where: level 1 Transport Hotel, Federation Square, CBD
Contact: 03 9564 8808
Open daily for lunch & dinner.

[Disclaimer: I dined courtesy of Taxi Dining, and Little Big Marketing]


Bloggers having too much fun…

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  • Food RATING scale

    Unpleasant: damn upset my desire to eat

    Average: palatable but many shortcomings

    Yummy: a pleasant experience

    Yummy +1: mouth-watering like rain

    Yummy +2: exquisite flavours that hit all the right notes

    Divine: sheer culinary perfection!

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