Food Social, the dining quarter in The Grafton, has added The Duck Truck to its exciting line up of independent restaurants near Vue cinema. Founder Ed Farrell, who hails from Bury St Edmunds, has already been operating The Duck Truck successfully in London as a food truck since 2012.
The Cambridge location, on the first floor of a shopping centre, required some tweaks to the mobile street food concept. The Duck Truck’s signature Airstream trailer was retained, but as a small, stationary version where orders are placed at the hatch, drinks are prepared and coffee is made in their La Marzocco machine.
Next to the Airstream’s gleaming façade is the spacious kitchen where the food is freshly cooked and placed at the pass when it’s ready. Upon ordering, customers are given a buzzer that glows and vibrates when they need to pick up their numbered order from the shelf. It’s a great system that allows diners to find a seat and relax with a drink whilst waiting.
The Duck Truck is nestled between fellow Food Social traders Amélie Flam-Kuche and Chi. The seating is well laid out, with a mix of chairs, booths, benches and stools. It’s a cheerful, pleasant space with a great vibe.
Ed kindly invited me to try out The Duck Truck’s menu, which isn’t “duck only” in Cambridge. Those who don’t like duck are no longer out of luck, as the menu includes chicken, halloumi and a 100% plant burger. They are clearly duck specialists though and the additional menu items have not compromised the quality of their duck dishes – no feathers ruffled here!
Ed made some recommendations for me and Paulo so we could get a good scope of the menu. We placed our order, grabbed a table and enjoyed our drinks – an excellent beer from London Beer Factory for Paulo and a Dalston’s Cherryade for me.
Before we knew it, our food order was ready to be collected. The food was served in metal trays with customised liners. They are so well done… we definitely “quacked” a smile!
I was delighted to taste such high quality duck in their Duck Brioche Bun. Its rich, flavoursome meat paired well with hoisin, cucumber, spring onion and Asian slaw. All of the ingredients in the burger were fresh and delicious. I’m looking forward to trying their crispy duck wrap next time. These tortilla wraps are The Duck Truck’s speciality and they are now making them in Cambridge with buttermilk chicken as well as halloumi.
Paulo loved the Buttermilk Chicken Burger dressed with garlic mayo, Asian slaw and The Ribman Buffalo Sauce. He declared it one of the best he’s had!
Our sides included addictive Duck Croquettes and amazing Duck Fat Frites. I recommend trying the croquettes if you want to get a taste of duck before committing to a wrap or burger.
The Duck Fat Frites were spot on – crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Frying the chips in duck fat rather than vegetable oil imparted a deep, rich flavour.
These frites also form the basis of their Duck Poutine, along with duck, gravy, Monterey Jack cheese and spring onion. As a Canadian from Québec where poutine was invented, this is where I’m expected to say it’s not really poutine unless there are squeaky cheese curds (poutine’s raison d’être). However, I’ve lived in the UK for a long time and I think it’s great that poutine is a word people now recognise, although they erroneously consider it posh chips, cheese and gravy when in fact, poutine started off as a messy, working class dish. The reality is that cheese curds are difficult to source here, so unless it’s a business specialising in Canadian / Québec poutine we are never going to see authentic poutine on menus all over the UK. So I’ve stopped getting my Canadian pride hurt when I see grated or melted cheese on poutine here, although I draw the line when curd-less poutines are specifically advertised / promoted as Canadian.
All this is to say that The Duck Truck’s take on poutine was delicious. The cheese took a back seat to the richness and umami of the duck fat and meat. The spring onions provided a pungent contrast and the gravy was thick and succulent. I topped the poutine with a bit of The Ribman’s Holy F**k sauce, which was extremely spicy. So, not a poutine in my eyes but still a very well put together dish, one that I would gladly eat again.
The Duck Truck offers restaurant quality food in a comfortable, relaxed and casual setting. It has a street food vibe in a tucked away spot in The Grafton. Don’t be distracted by the chains for your coffee, lunch or dinner. The Duck Truck is the latest independent to open in Cambridge and is well worth seeking out. You’d be quackers not to!
I was invited for a complimentary lunch for two (The Duck Truck didn’t give me a “bill” – get it?). I did not receive compensation for my review. All views are my own.
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