Duck Goose – say ayup to the laidback luxury bistro in Leek

On the corner of St Edward Street and High Street, emerald green paint and cosy candlelit interiors offer an inviting and warm atmosphere at Leek’s newest dining offering, Duck Goose.

Located in the former Coffee Corner Cafe, the husband and wife team behind Gallagher’s Deli have given this historic building a new lease of life, retaining beautiful black and white Staffordshire tiles in the bistro, and black metal beams throughout the lower floors, adding green panelling and hints of soft pink. Having opened on November 12, the new venue has already been a huge hit with locals – being fully booked for the first fortnight – and it’s easy to see why.

Jessica and Chris Gallagher have a combined 30 years’ experience in the hospitality industry, and after finding themselves without work at the start of the pandemic, they launched a supper club from their home kitchen, sending out up to 50 meals a night, seven days a week in the local community. It’s success led to the thriving Gallagher’s Deli and Kitchen opening in October last year, selling out their first day in two hours – and being run out of their delicious focaccia subs and tiny tatties most weekends. Don’t get me started on their tart of the week – I would refresh their Instagram page each week just to see what the flavour would be for the next seven days.

But, bistro-style dining-in hospitality is where their heart has always been, and especially coming out of lockdown, it was evident that indoor seating was very much needed – so the couple saw an opportunity and gap in the market to expand their culinary empire. Meet Duck Goose – an exciting, affordable and laidback venue, which is an extremely promising addition to the Moorland’s market town.

Jake and I visited on Saturday evening, and the warmth of the electric heaters, the glow of the candles adorning each table, and the vintage-style bulbs hanging from the industrial wooden ceiling platform were the perfect antidote to the frozen footpaths and chill outside.

An attentive team saw us to our table, took our coats, and offered us water for the table as we took a look at the menus. Truth be told, I’m a serial menu stalker, and had already read it around seven times since the restaurant opened on November 12, pondering what to order.

The drinks menu is currently somewhat limited, but you’ll find something you’ll enjoy, so I opted for pink gin, with Jake ordering a Peroni.

The carefully curated evening menu sees four widely different starters, including spiced butternut squash soup and twice baked Cheddleton cheese souffle made with local cheese, there’s also the option of cold-smoked Scottish salmon – but Jake and I shared the winter-spiced ham hock terrine. Priced at £6.95, the dairy-free starter was served cold, with dressed leaves, chargrilled sourdough and a pineapple chutney. Neither of us had ever had terrine before, but were incredibly impressed and it felt really rather festive, like something you might have on Boxing Day. The chutney was particularly lovely spread across the sourdough, and I’m absolutely going to try and recreate this at home.

The bistros menu, created by two rosette award chef, Chris, will be changing every few weeks to incorporate fresh, new produce, with the current choices feeling suitably seasonal. He’s described the food as ‘simple, but with due care and attention to the ingredients’, while Jessica emphasised the fact it’s very much a bistro ‘for the people’, offering familiar foods at an affordable price point, using local ingredients.

Jake and I ordered the 8oz Dunwood Farm hanger steak – sourced less than 10 minutes up the road – served with moreish truffle and parmesan fries, parsley and peppercorn sauce, roasted plum tomato and watercress. The steak was a beautiful cut of meat – prized for its flavour – cooked medium rare over charcoal costing £16.95.

We also ordered the Duck Goose burger, so we could split both meals and enjoy the flavour sensation and sophistication of both dishes. The Duck Goose burger comprises of two 4oz chuck and brisket patties, with bacon jam, Emmenthal cheese, pickles, lettuce and tomato sandwiched in a brioche bun with skin on fries on the side, priced at £10.95.

Both meals were expertly plated and looked amazing before we even cut into them. The steak was cooked perfectly and was extremely juicy and tender, melting in your mouth with a kick from the peppercorn sauce. And I’ve eaten my fair share of burgers in my life – trust me, as a teen ‘beef burger, no salad, no sauce’ was my order each and every time I dined out – but the Duck Goose burger was one of the tastiest I’ve had. The combination of Emmenthal cheese oozing from between the patties and the sweet, gooey bacon jam was *chef’s kiss*.

There was absolutely no room for dessert, but I couldn’t leave without ordering one – and as sticky toffee pudding is Jake’s go-to order, we were elated to see it on the menu. The sweet spongey pudding was served warm with butterscotch syrup and vanilla ice cream, and was really light and aromatic, too. The great thing about Duck Goose is that every aspect of the culinary experience has been taken into consideration – from appearance and taste, to texture and smell. Staff were extremely helpful, and I found it really nice that each member of the team took time to pop over to check on us, or refill our drinks, yet didn’t feel intrusive, choosing their moments to warmly accommodate our needs quickly, but with time to stop and engage in meaningful conversation, too.

Our total bill came to around £50, including drinks, which we thought was really great value for the quality, atmosphere and service. We can’t wait to see their next menu incarnation, and will definitely be back for a Sunday roast when they launch in the coming weeks. Be sure to book your table to enjoy their fantastic offerings here.

 

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