When it comes to all-American Southern comfort food, I've been frequently known to turn from a sophisticated gal into a salivating mess. Forget a napkin; slap a bib on me and I’m good to go. So it was only appropriate that this little black duck visit The Defiant Duck at Gasworks Plaza in Newstead, on opening day to try their home-style soul food: cutlery optional.
Despite being called The Defiant Duck, there's no duck in sight on this menu. And though the food here is well and truly of the Deep South – think buffalo wings, mini corn dogs and pulled pork burgers – the culinary presentation and restaurant atmosphere is much more schmick and stylish for the Brisbane scene. Don't get me wrong... The vibe’s not fancy pants; it's still relaxed, but it’s classy, smart-casual and there’s not a bib in sight. I vowed to try not to get rib sauce all over my face. But this was one promise I was bound to break.
The Coca-Cola beef ribs were so melt-in-your-mouth, fall-off-the-bone delicious that, despite using a knife and fork like a civilised lady, I still ended up with sauce everywhere. But I didn’t care, because they were that goddamn delicious.
Mac and cheese is a must at any good soul food kitchen but these guys make it next-level by crumbing it croquette-style. On breaking them open, the soft, gooey cheese oozed onto the plate and you just knew it would taste positively sinful. Sorry waist, looks like you'll have a bit of extra padding this season.
American joints aren’t usually known for salads but, surprisingly, the Super Bowl Salad was the perfect accompaniment to the heavier ribs, and was incredibly visually appealing to boot. Light and zesty, the combination of the kale, basil, mint and beetroot really complemented the heartier dishes.
And what’s comfort food without a decadent dessert? How about three? My companion and I couldn't decide between the three desserts on the menu so we ordered all of them. The Mighty Duck Sundae – cookie dough ice-cream, shaved chocolate, marshmallow, peanut brittle, pomegranate seeds and cool whip – was indeed mighty and reigned supreme; it was plated so prettily I felt bad messing it up. But not so bad I couldn’t wolf it all down.
The Defiant Duck
3/84 Longland Street, Newstead
p 3252 1581