Restaurant: Fat Duck Mobile Eatery
Cuisine: Sandwiches/Asian/Eclectic/Food Truck
Last visited: June 12, 2013
Location: Vancouver, BC
Address: Location varies – Follow @FatDuckTruck for updates
Usually at 600 Hamilton Street
Phone: (604) 831-0453
Price range: $10 or less
1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: FMF Must Try!
- Opened June 2013
- Chef/owner Tavis Olsen
- Urban country cooking
- Offers sandwiches
- Eclectic/Asian inspired
- Cash only
- Monday to Friday: 11:30 am – 2:30 pm
- Twitter: @FatDuckTruck
**Recommendations: Duck Confit Sandwich
I was invited to try Fat Duck truck back in June when it first opened, so things could have changed since then. It’s still the same chef and more or less the same menu, but hopefully with improvements, although it was solid to start. I really don’t like writing about restaurants in their early stages because things are always a bit raw, but once a place opens for business, it becomes a service and it’s fair game. Anyway, I decided to hold off on this post until now, so take my comments and ratings lightly.
Chef and owner Tavis Olsen (on the left) wanted to open a food cart ten years ago before the food truck business really took off, but he didn’t want to rush it. He took cooking in high school and continued afterward in a professional context where he earned his red seal. He is currently the Executive Sous Chef at BC Place where he manages the suites for hundreds of people. His career decisions have led him to this adventure and he calls himself a “lifer” when it comes to cooking.
Cooking has always been a big part of his life and the kitchen table was the heart of the home. His cooking philosophy is what he calls “urban country cooking” with a focus on slow food fast. He cooks food that interests him and shares his passion at Fat Duck Mobile Eatery.
The name Fat Duck Mobile Eatery was not inspired by Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck in London, but he knew people would make the association (I did). Olsen decided to call his truck Fat Duck because he simply loves duck, and duck cooked in duck fat (we already agreed on 2 things). Thus his favourite item on his menu is the Duck Confit sandwich (now we agree on 3 things).
The cooking method at Fat Duck is based on one of his favourite styles of cooking – low and slow. He cooks all his meats sous vide which is a traditional French technique used mostly at fine dining restaurants, but now it can be done at home too (see my posts on it here). The result is tender and juicy meats cooked in their own juices.
Olsen isn’t putting out any average sandwich; this is restaurant quality street food and he’s another chef raising the street food standard in Vancouver. It’s already pretty high to begin with too.
On the table:
- +$1 if you substitute the pop.
- This was nice and refreshing, however watermelon was still a bit early in the season when he made it, so it wasn’t as naturally sweet although not too sweet either.
- I tasted a bit more watermelon rind than watermelon, but it wasn’t watery or too bitter. I think there was a bit of lime as well.
- Duck confit “Philly” style with marinated mushrooms, pickled red onions, swiss and a truffle/parm mayo. (Served with pop and house made potato chips $10)
- This is the Fat Duck signature sandwich and it was my favourite.
- It had the most umami and it was the most savoury.
- There was depth and intense duck flavour and I was happy with the amount of duck it came with.
- Duck goes well with sweet and sour condiments and this was missing the sweet component, but I still liked it.
- Tavis originally wanted to do caramelized onions and pickled mushrooms (which sounded even better), but health authorities have strict rules about pickled mushrooms.
- The idea of balsamic onion jam with duck confit is nothing new, but I liked the added pickled onions and mushrooms for texture.
- The pickled onions gave it a bit of crunch and it helped balance the rich duck confit.
- The truffle/parm aioli helped with the umami, and it was great drizzled over the potato chips too.
- He used a hot dog like bun, which was okay, but it would have been even better as garlic bread.
- I lost the cheese in this, but overall it was still very good and crispy duck crackling would have made it excellent.
- The menu seems Asian-inspired, but this was not, so the theme was a bit lost.
- Hoisin soy glaze, pickled daikon and carrots, cilantro, chile mayo. (Served with pop and house made potato chips $10).
- Being tongue and cheek, very fatty parts of the cow, they were cooked well and amazingly tender and moist.
- These affordable off-cuts are best braised, or they can be a bit tough, but here it tasted liked short rib meets brisket.
- The meat was very soft and he apparently seared the tongue for texture, but I couldn’t tell.
- It was the sweetest of the sandwiches and the Hoisin was dominant.
- The soy sauce didn’t seem necessary, but it was still good.
- The crunch of the pickled daikon and carrots ware a nice acidic contrast to the rich and soft beef.
- The large leaves of cilantro didn’t seem part of the sandwich and I would have loved more, but I get its acquired.
- Again, I wouldn’t mind the hot dog like bun more toasted for more crunch.
- With an avocado/cucumber relish and chipotle mayo. (Served with pop and house made potato chips $10)
- I actually lost the pork belly in this, and I wouldn’t mind the fat a bit softer because it still had a bit of chew.
- I loved the crispiness of the pork belly though and he seared it off before serving.
- The gucamole was chunky and very acidic which I loved, but in the end it was guacamole which is very rich with pork belly.
- The cucumbers were diced and mixed into the guacamole, but there still wasn’t enough crunch or contrast.
- I got more guacamole than I did pork and I needed to break up the soft textures, so I did this!
- About $3
- This is Tavis’ favourite dessert.
- I like Creme Brûlée, but rarely order them because they’re so simple and I usually get bored of it before I finish.
- This one was very thick, rich and eggy.
- It was nice and smooth, but it needed more vanilla bean for flavour.
- The top layer of the custard got a bit more cooked, dense, and more jelly like, but the bottom layer was good.
- It was a very classic recipe and there was nothing particularly special, but if you like Creme Brûlée, you can satisfy the craving quickly here.