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90 Berwick Street
0203 3277 7888
“Vibrant, buzzing, yet elegant” sums up the mood at Duck and Rice, where Pilsner Urquell drinkers rub shoulders with Chinese food fans and the high-spec design features gleaming beer tanks, open fires and Chinese-style blue-and-white ceramic panels. The upstairs dining room is calmer than the ground-floor pub, although both serve the same muddled one-page menu of dim sum, chow mein, chop suey, crispy duck and various bites. If you’re feeling adventurous, order the fiery Szechuan chicken or the melting jasmine-smoked pork ribs. However, D&R’s more traditional dishes are barely above the bog-standard Chinatown norm, making much of the menu seem overpriced – order wisely from the capable staff to ensure the best outcome. Ale-based cocktails (Beer Negroni, anyone?) are joined by “amazing Gin Mares” and a big selection of French-led wines, while weekends are for dim-sum brunching. Finally, an events programme including bingo nights and drag-queen quizzes is exactly what the area needs.
Best Chinese restaurants in London
Best Dim Sum
Best in Soho
90 Berwick Street
0203 3277 7888
Tottenham Court Road Tube Station 318m
Piccadilly Circus Tube Station 376m
Oxford Street Youth Hostel 128m
Freedom Theatre 137m
Mon-Sun 12N-11pm (Fri-Sat -11.30pm Sun -10pm)
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 4
The food is fabulous, they brew their own beer and have a great gin list - what else could you ever ask for!?
I have been to this restaurant on numerous occasions and it is one of my favorites. I have recommended it to many friends and colleagues. Some of my personal favourite dishes are the 5 spice fried chicken, the venison puffs and of course the duck - but I must ask - bring back the chilli beef!
A great chinese for a more upmarket and delicious Asian experience.
Food + drink: 5
Alan Yau has the midas touch for eastern cuisine in London, Hakkasan, Busaba Eathai, HKK, to name a few. Duck and Rice, a Chinese gastropub in Soho central has hit the mark yet again. This is a 2 floor temple of chinese takeaway classics but done to perfection. The ground floor is more a shiny new pub, loud and sohoey but the upstairs is a buzzy boozy restaurant with a cool although slightly loud toons. Service was good with young, sparky waiters with the knowledge of the best dishes and best ales.
Picture the perfect crispy duck pancake with thick plumy sauce and the crispiest,flakiest duck with light gingery saucy greens and plump prawn toasts. The star dish was the bavette short rib of beef, a big hunk of sticky steaky, caramelised beef, you could cut it with a spoon. Sweet and sour pork was the 'grill royal' of sweet and sour pork, crunchy on the outside and porky in the inside. My mouth is still watering, writing about these dishes. I have to find an excuse to go back ASAP!
As with Jason Atherton, Alan Yau’s culinary grip over London continues to grow. From the ever-enjoyable Hakkasan through to the more mass-market Wagamama and Busaba Eathai, Yau ‘does’ Oriental/ Asian food better than most. Into the mix now comes Duck and Rice, described as Alan Yau’s ‘homage’ to the British pub. Located on the site of the former Endurance at the seedier end of Berwick Street, gone is any vestige of the former establishment. In its place is an uber-trendy pub with copper tanks on display and a list of craft beers as long as one’s arm on the ground floor, and then a Chinese casual dining-style restaurant upstairs. Amazingly, the latter can seat 70 covers and while it was full on a recent weekday evening when we visited, it certainly did not feel unpleasantly crowded despite being busy. We did, however, have the lingering sensation that we were being rushed, with the emphasis being on turning the tables rather than creating an enduring (and hence more enjoyable) experience. To take two examples, our wine was poured out before our aperitifs were even finished and, worse, our mains were squeezed onto what was already a very small table while we were only halfway through our starters. In terms of the food itself, diners are left somewhat bewildered by a lengthy and rather inexplicable menu, with certain section cryptically titled ‘heroes’, Buddha’s delight’ or ‘small chow.’ Our server suggested the two of us share three of the latter to begin and then two mains along with rice and vegetables. The starters impressed; the mains less so. To begin, sesame prawn toast was pitch-perfect, juicy, comforting and always – to my mind – a tiny bit indulgent. We also loved the salt and pepper squid, again executed perfectly, while the chilli Sichuan chicken was certainly as good as that I had sampled in China. In terms of the mains, however, our ‘wasabi’ prawns seemed to contain none of the promised wasabi, while the sweet & sour pork was distinctly average. Maybe we chose badly, but diners should certainly scrutinise the menu carefully. Beyond the (very large) choice, prices vary massively. The small chow starters range from £4 to £17, while within the home comfort section, dishes cover a £9 to £33 range. Another gripe is that the house duck dish (which you might think ought to be centrepiece in a restaurant with ‘duck’ in its title) is only available in whole (at £38) or half (£24) portions. Friends tell me that many Chinese places offer such a dish in a more accessible, and reasonable, quarter size too. Perhaps a good tip for Duck and Rice? More positively, the wine menu shows fairer pricing with some great wines by interesting producers available at quite reasonable prices. Our Franz Haas white from Italy’s Alto Adige region was a definite success. In conclusion, while I have no doubt that Duck and Rice will win over many fans, and while I probably would return, I certainly wasn’t blown away.
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