In the 1800s a group of well-heeled Glasgow merchants, bankers and professors used to walk down the old Dumbarton Road every Saturday.
Back then Partick was rural and leafy and after their perambulations their favourite place to dine was a tavern known as the “Bun and Yill House” (Yill is a Scots word for ale).
It was here that the merry band would feast on locally sourced fowl; the recipe de jour was roast duck served with sage and onions with green peas, washed down by a glass of beer.
In 1810 these convivial bon viveurs formally named this drinking and social club, ‘the duck club of Partick.’
In 2017, inspired by this quirky or should I say quacky, local history tale, proprietors Ross McDonald and Greig Hutcheson named their modern restaurant in honour of the society.
Their idea was to create a simple, relaxed and informal dining space, which is open seven days a week from 8am for early breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner.
Since then they have been successfully perfecting their dishes with the focus being on chef-driven comfort food. Naturally old daffy plays an important part on the menu.
It’s a swanky place, situated near Byres Road in the heart of the bohemian West End. The interior is all cool chic and subtle hues.
You will find tweed-clad dining booths, hanging filament light bulbs and orange accent colours which create a relaxed vibe.
On the back wall, there is an illuminated neon sign directing guests to the water closets. I was surprised that they didn’t take the opportunity to use classic Weegie humour with ‘the cludgie’.
It’s an ideal venue for catching up with chums and enjoying good company, and I know the old boys would definitely approve.
To add to the convivial atmosphere, the drinks offerings available are extensive. Whatever your poison is, you should be able to quack open your favourite tipple and say ‘bottoms up’.
It would appear that the good people of the west coast fair like a swally; looking at the designer empty bottles on show, (gins both Harris and Loch Fyne) they must love hosting parties here.
As there seems to be no point in delaying, I dive right into my starter of smooth hummus, accompanied by sourdough toast.
It arrives beautifully presented, drizzled with citrus-sharp lemon oil and a scattering of bitter toasted pine nuts to add bite.
The addition of ripe diced tomatoes and a sprinkle of micro herb intensified the flavours. My plateful is polished off promptly, with no complaints.
The fella loved his Orkney crab starter of rarebit base on sourdough bread with crustacean meat heaped plentifully on top.
Joyously warm Dijon mustard and Coast to Coast beer melted into fine cheese made for great depth and intensity of taste.
Crisp diced red pepper, red onions and scallions elevated the dish further. The fella marked this dish a perfect ten out of ten.
My dark and flavoursome caramelised shallot tart was equally stupendous. Rounds of silky smooth Golden Cross goats cheese was served on top of oodles of roasted shallots, which hid the puff pastry base.
Dukkah sprinkled liberally provides nutty notes and further texture and dots of delicious verjus vinegar on the plate give the dish a touch of class.
I asked the front of house about it. Apparently it is a cheffy brand of artisan fermented vinegar which is matured from grapes picked in Canada when temperatures plummet to minus eight.
The fella felt obliged to join the ranks of the original club and ordered a labour intensive, 12 hours cooked duck leg.
The poultry was served with crisp breaded duck eggs, with fat frites, fried in you guessed it, oil made from our feathered friends, served with tangy and spiced pineapple chutney.
Quizzing staff for clues on their secret recipe, we discovered that the bird is soaked in brine for around five hours to intensify the flavours, before being cooked slowly sous vide for around seven hours.
Then just when you think that your goose is finally cooked, so to speak, there is a final blast in the oven to crisp it up. This is not something I’ll attempt to recreate at home.
The result is moist, tender meat which falls off the bone served alongside two halved duck eggs.
We are in the west so I felt obliged to order deep-fried ice cream cinnamon bun for afters.
It arrived smelling like Christmas with a hint of deep-fried doughnuts, but the ice cream was chilled inside.
The fella chose warm plum and almond frangipane slice served with Katy Rogers creme fraiche.
If you haven’t guessed already we loved this place. Sadly all that was left was to ask for the (duck) bill.
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