Odd Duck Wine & Provisions – A Review

Odd Duck Wine & Provisions is a breath of fresh air in KW’s dining scene. This unpretentious and laid-back spot has shifted the dining focus to the food, the drinks, and the service, which is right where it ought to be. And, with chef-driven food with no corporate mandates, we were pleasantly surprised by this humble restaurant, and I’m sure we’ll be regular diners.

Odd Duck is just that, an odd duck in the culinary world. This isn’t a flashy eatery with a posh dining room; there’s no tipping, and the tip-free model works exceedingly well here; there are no bowls on the menu, and the menu is kept intentionally small; and finally, the staff is about as real as real can get. Tattoos, piercings, and edgy haircuts were common on the staff we saw, which was just fine by us because this restaurant has set out to break the conventional rules of high-end dining.

From the minute you step inside this Kitchener eatery, you know you’re in for something different. To be seated, you walk through the kitchen. That’s right; you can get an eyeful of the team working on the line in the kitchen as you pass through to the dining room. For a foodie and ex-chef like me, that was just fine!

Kitchen at Odd Duck.
Walking through the kitchen area to get to the seating.

The bar is in the dining room, and before I get to the drinks, I should say that the space is small, so if you plan on dining here, make your reservations! They were able to squeeze us in, and that was 2 days in advance, but don’t count on that happening. This eatery filled up fast, and diners were still arriving for 8 pm reservations as we left.

The Food

I feel I should almost talk about the drinks first because, at Odd Duck, they’re inspired by beverages. By wines, by infused spirits, and by new finds.

I was delighted beyond words to hear that the menu changes frequently. Chef Jon Rennie is the culinary mastermind, creating small to medium-sized plates that are Top Chef-worthy. The menu is small, offering a variety of vegetarian and meaty dishes that celebrate the best ingredients and, more importantly, creative culinary freedom.

Menu for Odd Duck.

I was so happy to see no bowls on the menu. Bowls are my pet peeve, and they’re so outdated. I also loved that this was a food-forward menu where the food was unapologetically creative and not catering to the Canadian palate. No burgers, no insipid salads, no curries, no mish-mash of cuisines. It’s just straight-up amazing food.

We had to try a variety of dishes. My daughter was with us and was a bit weirded out because she didn’t know what anything on the menu meant. If you’re like her and you don’t know what these dishes are, then I would encourage you to sit back and let the staff suggest dishes for you.

We had a chat with Wes, one of the owners, who explained Odd Duck’s ethos, which is about letting the drinks inspire the food. And, because they have no corporate overlords, they can craft what they like, as they like it. Hence, the menu is ever-changing. While the above image is the menu we had on a cold January night, it will not ever be the same again.

Dining room at Odd Duck.
Dining room.

We tried: the risotto, the radish, and the mushroom tartare. I was on the fence about this, but I asked Wes what one dish we should be sure to try, and he suggested that. I’m so glad he did – it was OUTSTANDING. It wasn’t too mushroomy, and the combination of flavors, textures, colors and temperatures was just … impressive.

We also tried: the sturgeon, beef, and pasta.

I could fill a book with my comments on all the dishes, but suffice it to say that most dishes were above my expectations. Each dish was crafted with color, texture, and flavor in mind, and the plates were just so pretty!

I will say this about the beef dish. They called the potato accompaniment pommes Anna, but they were more of a potato pavé. My point isn’t the name – but rather, any restaurant that serves potato pavé as a side dish gets top marks from me. This is one of the most technically difficult and time-consuming potato side dishes on the planet. Imagine a hundred layers of super-thin potatoes stacked and cooked and then fried so that the edges are brown and crispy. There is plenty of butter, of course, and the flavor and texture are unparalleled. I’d go back just for that dish and those potatoes!

The Drinks

Odd Duck defies convention with their beverage program, too. Gone are the LCBO generic wines; instead, Odd Duck sources ethical, sustainable, and bio-friendly wines from around the world. If you’re a wine lover, this is the place to visit. You can get a 3-ounce pour to taste something or go for the recommended 6-ounce pour. Every dish has a recommended wine.

If beer or craft cocktails are more your thing, this spot won’t disappoint. And be sure to try the martini and snack duo. This fun sip and bite combo is a great way to start your meal.

But There’s More…

Odd Duck also hosts fun events and holiday event meals, but be warned, those book up fast. Also of note is their walk-up lunch. Each Tuesday-Friday, you can pop over for a to-go lunch, and with both vegetarian and meaty options, you won’t leave empty-handed.

I could say more about Odd Duck, but I think the best thing for you to do is try it yourself! A true gem in Kitchener, Odd Duck is easily my new favorite eatery in KW.

Have you been to Odd Duck? Would you recommend it? Drop your comments below!

Contact Info for Odd Duck

  • Address: 93 Ontario St. S, Kitchener
  • Phone: (519) 570-9463
  • URL: https://www.oddduckwp.com/

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