It won't surprise anyone to hear that Minh Le, head chef at Deer Duck Bistro in Auchenflower, is moving on. Le, who has been restlessly swapping restaurant kitchens with measured regularity, is finally realising a long-held desire to open his own place. He has just signed the lease on a property at the corner of Moray and James streets in New Farm and is planning to open a modern-Asian share-plate eatery called The Foraging Quail early next year.
Le, whose background is Vietnamese, says while he'll draw on his culture for inspiration, the technique and plating will be much more contemporary.
Share plates will be priced between $16 and $26, with the signature dish a quail version of the famous Vietnamese caramel chicken, stuffed with pork, morcilla, coriander and chilli, cooked sous vide then finished off in the oven with caramel. The quail, along with duck, chickens, nasturtiums, scorpion chillis and wild strawberries, are being grown for the restaurant by a friend.
Le says he has employed interior designers who are responsible for Gerard's Bistro and Larouche and that one of the features will be an extended pass that diners can sit at to watch the kitchen action while they eat.
"The Foraging Quail will showcase who I am and what I like to eat at home," Le says. "And I think this is the perfect spot for the kind of place I want to do. I love New Farm – the cultural diversity and the progression of the Valley and Newstead."
Work is scheduled to begin on the restaurant (previously home to the Tandoori King) soon. Le says he hopes to open in mid February for dinner five nights a week with lunch on Fridays. Le says he will see out the year at Deer Duck Bistro.