Brisbane CBD eatery, Public.
This city restaurant delivers beautifully executed food, top-notch service and a fantastic drinks list. But a few rookie errors let down an otherwise excellent night out
PUBLIC: REVIEWED BY ANOOSKA TUCKER- EVANS
MEET what is arguably Queensland’s most controversial dish.
The seemingly innocent and unassuming pieces of deep-fried duck are currently the subject of a legal battle over who holds the copyright for the dish known as KFD.
Brisbane CBD eatery Public, which first started serving the Kentuckyfried duck back in 2012, claims that it holds the rights.
However, the restaurant’s former chef, Damon Amos, who initially created the dish, believes that he owns the recipe. He has since opened his own restaurant, Detour, in Woolloongabba.
The fight has captured the interest of lawyers across the state, who are keen to use the lawsuit as a case study to set a legal precedent over who has the copyright to dishes – chefs or restaurants.
However, the version at Public, which has reportedly been tweaked in the two years since Amos left, makes it hard to see what all the fuss is about.
The duck leg meat is gloriously tender and as juicy as an orange straight off the tree, but the muchhyped crust is a little on the dry side, pleading for a slide in the aioli that waterfalls over the accompanying, lightly charred corn cobs. In fact, a lack of sauce is a common thread throughout the menu.
A fillet of barramundi ticks all the boxes on execution, and pomelo pulp provides an interesting twist on the common citrus pairing. But a scattering of cashew nuts and coconut shards blackened by a coconut husk ash leaves the dish – and diner’s mouth – parched.
The issue is even more pronounced in a pork and quince dish. Though the meat is expertly prepared and of exceeding quality, more of the buttermilk dressing is needed to offset an accompanying thirsty savoury granola.
Perfectly hydrated and with stand-out appeal, though, is a salmon ceviche that’s sprinkled with crisp black ants for textural interest. It is served alongside dusty pink, deep-fried prawn crackers.
For dessert, deconstructed lemon meringue pie seems to be the flavour of the month across Queensland restaurants at the moment. The incarnation at Public proves that pulling dishes apart can sometimes work in their favour. Gooey, torched meringue meets shattering eggwhite pieces, drizzles of tart lemon curd, dollops of sharp, citrus granita and crumbs of streusel to create a dish that juxtaposes sweet and sour, soft and hard with finesse.
A solid, well-composed drinks menu includes a good range of wines by the glass, a large selection of spirits, and some interesting cocktails and mocktails.
With unflappable service as well, the smartly appointed Public is a terrific restaurant. It just needs to get on the sauce.
400 George St, Brisbane. lovepublic.com.au
“This tart showcases spring ingredients. Use whatever veg looks good”
2 sheets butter puff pastry 1 egg, lightly beaten 1 tub (150g) roasted capsicum and pecorino dip (or other vegetable dip) 6 baby zucchini, halved lengthways 3- 4 (120g) yellow squash, thinly sliced with a mandoline 1 bunch asparagus, thinly sliced lengthways with a mandoline
From top: the pork and quince, Public’s bright dining room, and the barramundi with pomelo pulp.