We wonder if Hong Kong import Duddell’s was inspired to open in London Bridge by the success of nearby Hutong, from the HK-based Aqua Group. While Duddell’s might not have Hutong’s Shard views, it has an equally celestial location in the de-consecrated St Thomas Church, its soaring interiors cleverly divided by a mezzanine level and illuminated by covetable, World of Interiors lighting. Classy Cantonese cooking is what’s on offer from a kitchen team that has spent time at the Hong Kong original. Peking duck carved tableside is no longer the novelty it once was in London but done very well here. The lusciously fatty meat is dipped in fennel sugar, or rolled up with an array of piquant condiments into thick pancakes, before being stir-fried as a second course with a choice of sauce; the arrestingly flavoured duck in Martell Cognac and black pepper sauce was the best thing we ate all evening. We also enjoyed deeply succulent smoked beef rib with red wine soy beef, and chicken encased in pliable pan-fried dumplings. Ingredients are top notch – Bresse chicken, Berkshire pork – but prices seem steep for cooking that struck us as good rather than memorable, and you’ll be hard pressed to find much below £40 on the global wine list. Lunchtime dim sum offers a cheaper way in but we suspect that, budget permitting, all-out luxury – lobster noodles, steamed turbot, wagyu with spring onion – may be the best way to get into the glamorous spirit of the place.
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I was so excited to go to Duddles after opened. I took my family for a lovely treat. We walked in and you cannot help but be amazed by the beautiful interiors and the grandeur of the space. We were sat on the terrace area looking down on the majority of the restaurant. A lovely spot although a little chilly. We ordered a number of small dim sum plates and wines. The dim sum was tasty and the wine was eye wateringly expensive, but we tried to enjoy this special occasion as much as possible and ignore the cost. We tried some of the high end wines hoping to be wowed – but they came in such minuscule servings, you barely got a mouthful. Once the mains arrived I cannot help but feel disappointed. The mains were tasty but cold and when a main is over £30 you really expect it to be nothing short of perfection. The plates were ice cold which certainly did not help. Again another disappointment. We all left feeling a little deflated. I wrote an email to the restaurant for nothing more than to let them know that the food was not coming out hot from their kitchen and to give them a kind push in the right direction. This email was not even responded to. It left me feeling quite angry about the whole experience. There are certainly much better high end Asian restaurants in London I would much rather go to again over Duddles. It does not get my vote and I won't be going again or recommending it as a place to hold a corporate event either.
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