It’s not everyday that you find a restaurant where the chef creates a meal inspired by childhood memories, and incorporates the finest details into a delicious, beautifully crafted, decadent meal. Well, at onenineone, this is exactly what you can expect. Chef Xavier cherishes the memory of his childhood and the times spent with his family. So much so that he has created a dish which incorporates elements from one such memory, an outing he and his family went on when he was just a boy. Reminiscing about childhood days, travelling to the Drakensberg with his family, Chef Xavier remembers a very special restaurant, The Ugly Duckling. Nothing fancy, just your normal burgers and sandwiches, but the setting and atmosphere will stay engraved on his heart for eternity. Chef Xavier treasures this memory, a moment where the whole family gathered to enjoy quality time together.“It’s not the food that inspired me, it’s the place. Being together as a family, with animals walking around and being surrounded by majestic pine trees. It truly is a special memory that I hold very dear to my heart”, says Chef Xavier.
The iconic Pan-Fried Duck at onenineone restaurant was conceptualised and created by this memory.
Ingredients used in this mouth-watering dish include parsnips, pine needles, tamarind, gooseberries and of course confit duck thigh. The parsnips are used as the starch component and being earthy and light, steer the dish away from being too heavy. “We do a purée and we serve it roasted, so we don’t waste any of it. This ties in with everything we do at onenineone”, says Chef Xavier.
The pine needles are sourced locally by Chef Xavier himself and are incorporated into the dish in the form of a powder, with the addition of pine nuts. To create the powder, Chef Xavier starts by blending pine needles with olive oil, creating a pine oil and eventually producing a pine powder. The gooseberries are sourced from Cape Town, a proudly South African component. Vanilla paste is also added to the gooseberries, accentuating the other components on the dish.
Tamarind is an old favourite of the Chef’s from his childhood. Made from the fruit of the Tamarind tree, its tangy and tart flavour compliments the duck, cutting into its richness. In preparing the duck itself, Chef Xavier will pan-fry the breast, confit the thigh and make it into a croquette, which is deep-fried and filled with mustard and chives. The bones are used to make stock, so again, there is no wastage on the product.
The conceptualisation of the Pan-Fried Duck and sentimentality that the Chef adds to it, makes it one of the restaurant’s signature dishes.