After being unavailable for almost a year, the classic of French haute cuisine will be back on the menu at Otto’s on Gray’s Inn Road.
As of 14 September, ‘Canard de Rouen à la Presse’ has become available again at the London institution as the restaurant receives its first order of Challans Ducks from Maison Burgaud in nearly a year. Challans Ducks are traditionally used for this dish, as they have thinner skin and less fat, but a gamier flavour than most of the duck that we are used to.
The dish itself is highly theatrical, but not for the faint of heart: the duck is roasted until rare and carved table-side, and the leftover carcass is then placed into an antique Christofle press where it is crushed and the marrow and juices are squeezed out and added to the sauce before serving.
The silver press Otto’s uses is from 1927 (they have another two from 1910), but the dish itself is even older, likely being first served by Frédéric Delair at La Tour d’Argent in Paris in the late 1800s before Auguste Escoffier, that great vector of haute cuisine, brought the dish to London.
Though it’s a style of cooking which is no longer in vogue, there is still an appeal to the dish as a reminder of the gastronomic glories of old, and it certainly sounds delicious too.
For £110 per head (and there needs to be a minimum of two guests, and pre-ordering is vital), diners can enjoy the following decadent menu, prepared table-side:
Canard à la Press – Recette Otto
Challans Duck Liver, Morel Mushrooms on Seared Calf’s Sweetbread
Challans Duck Breast, Pommes Soufflés, Otto’s Pressed Duck Sauce
Semi-Confit and Roasted Duck Leg, Seared Foie Gras and Black Truffle Sauce