Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Duck soup

New restaurants open in London all the time. You would need a hell of a lot of time and money to try them all. Some things however, stand out from the crowd. A restaurant headed up by Julian Biggs and other team members from Hix's Oyster and Chop House? This was something I had to see.

There began my surprisingly easy quest to eat at Duck Soup in Soho. Twitter had told tales of long queues and significant waiting times but we strolled in for dinner at 7pm on a Tuesday night and were immediately seated at a place in the bar. So that was nice and easy.

Now I don't mind eating dinner at the bar, some people might, but then if they do, I suspect that Duck Soup isn't the kind of place they would enjoy at all. The atmosphere is, on the whole, very laid back. Vinyl records spin in the corner, belting out an eclectic mix of tunes apparently chosen by both the staff and the customers. Laid back is fine, but it should also go hand in hand with comfortable, and there was a significant failing on that front.

The bar wasn't deep enough for you to sit straight ahead without bruising your knees, so unless you have incredibly short legs, you are pretty much forced to adopt that legs to the side, torso to the front eating position. Not comfortable.

Even less comfortable when halfway through the meal, more people were squeezed onto said bar and I spent the remainder of my meal being jolted in the kidney vicinity by my new neighbour's elbow. Don't get me wrong - he wasn't doing it out of spite but there simply wasn't enough room for him to eat without said rather annoying kidney jabbing action.

Gripe over, the food was stellar. The menu changes daily, and it was nice to see a handwritten menu - small things really do make an impression. We started with smoked crab roe on toast (can't get enough of the little things it would seem) and followed it up with veal shin (me) and gurnard with scallops and clams (Jon).

The veal was melt in your mouth tender with a depth of flavour that is rarely encountered in that meat. The gurnard was firm and fleshy albeit bony, and came with a generous portion of scallops and clams.

Both dishes had us dipping into each other's plates and generally thinking that all is well with a world where you get to eat such things for dinner. The creme caramel was a little on the eggy side, and could have done with a stronger caramel to counterbalance that but was still a good finish to what had been a mostly enjoyable dinner.


Food Urchin said...

Another thumbs up for Duck Soup, will have to elbow my way in there soon

Julianna Barnaby said...

Do it. Food was delicious. I would definitely go back. We got there around 7.30 and didn't have a problem getting in but the people who turned up half hour later had a bit of a wait....

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