Duck & Rice, Soho
Discovering new restaurants and eating out is my guilty pleasure. London continues to bless us with many of the worlds best restaurants which have become as much about the 'experience' as the food. The boundaries are constantly being pushed promising us more with each and every opening of a new restaurant.
Who wouldn't be desperate to try a Chinese gastro pub? What a concept. Even more interesting to me was 'does this work?'. When you consider that Alan Yau is the brainchild behind Duck and Rice, known for Hakkasan or Yauatcha and wagamamas. It was obviously never going to be just a pub with a restaurant attached to it, but what should you expect? The interior is truly fabulous. The copper beer tanks which welcome you as you enter add to the unique nature of the interior. Somehow, it does so wonderfully capture the essence and feel of a drinking pub with the glamour of any high end London restaurant. The downstairs is still a traditional drinking pub with the focus on informal drinks and bar snacks (would make the perfect meeting place for quick business meetings) and the upstairs is home to a very glamorous dining room centred around a bar which is nearly always the key ingredient to create that atmospheric restaurant.
It was quite a spontaneous visit as we were running a few errands locally so we took both Gabriella and Lucia with us, 'brave woman' you're probably thinking. As a parent you never know whether a restaurant has that feel that it's ok to bring the children unless you have already tried it or have been recommended or invited. This was going to be trial and error.
Outstanding service, the service was impeccable, very attentive without feeling disturbed and they warmly welcomed us with children and made the experience very enjoyable. Don't expect a children's menu or food for picky children. As you would expect, the food was traditionally Chinese with a contemporary flair. The usually favourites are presented and executed in a contemporary way. The char Sui and the Ginger cod with egg sauce & fried rice were amazing. Cleverly, the menu has enough variety to keep you entertained for a few visits and lots of small plates if you just want to snack.
Duck and Rice attracts a very mixed crowd. Friends meeting for lunch, relaxed business lunches with the odd family and couples thrown in.
I can't wait to return, the next visit will be date night or with friends so that I can take advantage of their cocktails and try the infamous duck which had sold out on our visit.