DUK IN THE BAY

A TINY NEW RES­TAU­RANT ON THE NSW NORTH COAST HAS A SMALL BUT PER­FECTLY FORMED MENU BASED ON THE CLAS­SIC CHI­NESE BAR­BE­CUE.

The Australian - Wish Magazine - - FOOD -

DUK is a mod­ern Chi­nese res­tau­rant in By­ron Bay that does not have a wok. It sounds a ridiculous no­tion but that was part of the at­trac­tion for chef Sarah Swan and her busi­ness part­ner Jeremy Burn in open­ing up DUK; it is a tiny 40-seat res­tau­rant with a tiny kitchen that serves only five dishes.

“The fo­cus is on clas­sic Chi­nese BBQ and roast dishes. It’s sim­ple, straight­for­ward and de­li­cious,” Swan, a for­mer Syd­neysider, tells WISH. “The one thing I miss liv­ing in By­ron Bay is good Chi­nese food and it’s the first thing I seek out when I head back to the city. Cre­at­ing a tight eat­ing space with a fo­cus on great pro­duce and tra­di­tional dishes was al­ways a good idea in my eyes.”

Open since Novem­ber, it is the sec­ond venue for Swan and Burn in By­ron Bay. The pair also run the hugely pop­u­lar café 100 Mile Ta­ble and a cater­ing busi­ness. DUK opened at the end of last year and has been do­ing a roar­ing trade ever since, with lo­cals and tourists pack­ing the tiny place out.

Swan’s love of Chi­nese food comes from spend­ing 13 years work­ing with Neil Perry at Rock­pool as well as train­ing with Kylie Kwong at Perry’s Wokpool. She de­cided she wanted to be a chef at 14 and did her ap­pren­tice­ship at the Sher­a­ton Went­worth Ho­tel in Syd­ney. “I re­mem­ber telling my mother one day when I came from school,” Swan says of her ca­reer choice. “I can’t re­mem­ber what I had seen or read but I knew. I’d make very sim­ple din­ners for the fam­ily oc­ca­sion­ally and on week­ends make pavlova. My mother and grand­mother were also both amaz­ing cooks.”

After a num­ber of years work­ing in Syd­ney and hol­i­day­ing in By­ron Bay, Swan and her hus­band Dan “jumped off the water­fall” and re­lo­cated to her dream des­ti­na­tion. Swan ini­tially ran Rock­pool’s web­sites and so­cial me­dia ac­counts from her home of­fice a few days a week be­fore open­ing a small cater­ing busi­ness that grew two years later into “an op­er­a­tion” that was too big for just one per­son. So she con­vinced friend Jeremy Burn, who worked in the New Zealand wine and hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­tries for years, to move from Auck­land and join her and open the café 100 Mile Ta­ble. Then came DUK.

“The plan was al­ways to cre­ate the clas­sic Chi­nese BBQ: duck, chicken and pork, add steamed greens, rice and some crack­ing chilli sauces and it’s all taken care of,” Swan says. “Din­ers come to us be­cause they are look­ing for a spe­cific taste or din­ing ex­pe­ri­ence – they want char siu and greens or duck. When you crave Chi­nese food, it’s all you want and you don’t want ex­per­i­ments.”

W

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