Duck and Rice

90 Berwick Street, London, W1F 0QB, United Kingdom

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On the site of the former Endurance is Alan Yau’s pub serving Chinese food. Opening in 2015, it is spread over two floors, located just by the slightly tatty charms of the Berwick Street market in Soho.  It happens to be next door to the original branch of Yauatcha, the Michelin-starred dim sum restaurant that Mr Yau set up in 2004 before selling it and Hakkasan in January 2008 for $60 million to the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority. The Duck and Rice has a smart downstairs bar with large copper beer vats as a feature, with the dining room upstairs. The menu is a mix of dim sum and popular Chinese dishes like Kung Po chicken and crispy duck.

The wine list is quite up-market for a pub, starting at £38 (and just five offerings under £50) and having some distinctly up-market options. Vega Sicilia Unico 2003 at £390 (compared to a retail price of £211) is not something you see on too many pub lists. Other examples were Greywacke Riesling 2013 at £51 for a bottle that can be found in the high street for £19, Henri Fourchaume Chablis 2012 at £76 compared to a retail price of £23, and Mihel Bouzereau Le Limozine Mersault 2010 at £93 for a wine that will set you back £36 in a shop. 

Har gau, the classic steamed prawn dumpling, was very well made, the dumpling light and the prawn filling carefully cooked (14/20). Venison puff is a dish I know well from Yauatcha, yet here it was not quite to the same level. The pastry was fine but the filling was less well balanced than the Yauatcha version, the meat not quite of the same quality (13/20). Sichuan vegetable dumplings had a pleasant numbing bite of Sichuan peppercorns (13/20) and I liked Shanghai dumplings, the liquid centre (melted meat jelly) pleasantly balanced with enough vinegar, the wrapping delicate (14/20). 

Service was friendly and efficient, and the bill per person with just water to drink came to £21 for the dim sum. At dinner and with wine a typical cost per head would be more like £50. I actually liked the food here a little more than the vastly more ambitious Park Chinois, Alan Yau’s Mayfair venture, and the menu here is a small fraction of the price of its posher sister. 


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