French Lessons: Duck and Buvette

8 months ago

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DUCK & BUVETTE OPERATES ON A SERIES OF PARADOXES THAT BLEND INTO A MULTI-DIMENSIONAL DINING EXPERIENCE WHICH IN TURN CATERS WELL TO THE NEW BREED OF CULTIVATED PINOY FOODIES. A trio of culinary concepts perform in sync—a café cum bakery cum bar—to alter local perception of French food as a cuisine usually associated with fine dining.

Central to this new casual take on French food is the notion of buvette, refreshment stalls in France that typically serve small plates and beverages. True to its moniker, Duck & Buvette’s menu hinges on dishes that could be described as French tapas, designed to be shared and enjoyed with fellow diners.

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Start your meal off with the Maple Candied Bacon and Lemon and the Grilled Octopus Salad, tributes to Provence’s fascination with seafood, cured meat, and farm fresh vegetables. The tender octopus, farmed in Batangas, has just the right amount of char, and is underscored by vegetables imported from France and cultivated locally. Heed the menu’s advice and enjoy the smoked belly bacon with a spritz of lemon for a delicious appetizer that could easily prompt a second order.

Duck & Buvette’s deft mix of informality and sophistication is best embodied in their anchor product: the lauded D&B Crispy Half Duck Confit. At P980, it costs less than the typical quarter-portion at other establishments. A culmination of rigorous testing and a three-day prep for each half duck serving, Duck & Buvette’s confit is as decadent as its bistro counterpart with succulent, delicate meat, and flaky skin. Artfully scattered cornichons and smeared sides of grainy mustard are another salute to the dish’s heritage. The excess fat materializes in an additional side: duck fat rice served alongside ratatouille vegetables. It’s a witty update of a French classic that renders this dish, like the others on Duck & Buvette’s menu, both approachable and affordable.

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Key to Duck & Buvette’s philosophy is utmost respect for the techniques and art of French cuisine, modernized with atypical French ingredients. This translates to slow cooking, a stringent no shortcuts policy, and letting ingredients speak for themselves.

The Bikini Sandwich, a Catalan version of the croque monsieur, is your grilled cheese sandwich dream come true. There’s no skimping on the parma ham, grana padano cheese, or black truffle, all nestled between their signature bread, baked in-house with wild yeast.

The Brandade de Bacalao Dip, cured on-site, is best dabbed on their wild sourdough and cacao and walnut breads. If you’re a lover of lamb, the slow-cooked and intensely flavored Salsa Verde Lamb Neck marries the French penchant for offcuts to Latin American seasoning. For the adventurous eater, look out for their upcoming menu items featuring rabbit, frog legs, and barramundi (Asian seabass).

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One might expect that Duck & Buvette’s hybrid concept and abundant menu would mean compromised quality. Whether it’s a meal of several courses, after-work cocktails with bar food, or a bite of pastry coupled with a freshly brewed cup of Chicago’s famed Intelligentsia coffee, Duck & Buvette’s offerings are crafted with unfaltering care. Whichever dining experience you choose, you can expect the promise of “good food,” which is what we’re all looking for at the end of the day.


Words by Victoria Keet

Photographed by John Ocampo


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