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REVIEW: Rawduck, Hackney

WHAT? Sister venue to Soho’s Duck Soup, Rawduck celebrates all things tangy, pickled and fermented. Mediterranean-inspired dishes are washed down with an ever-evolving roster of drinks, a surprising (borderline cultish?) selection of drinking vinegar, kombucha and kefir alongside the wines and beers.

This being Hackney, the look is raw and pared back, though more on the polished side. Toilets are somewhat bizarrely shared with hipster eateries Patty & Bun and Lardo in the chilly neighbouring office block, but inside, it’s warm and inviting.

A trendy neon sign adds fun to the distressed table tops and long wooden benches, but it’s the staff that make the place – fanatical about their food, but never overbearing.

Help is on hand for inevitable questions regarding the daily ferments & pickles (£5) or the difference between natural and bio-dynamic wine (we’re still not entirely sure). Popping in for just a couple, try a hot sake toddy or a sweet pear vodka soda – but dinner calls for a few glasses of whatever’s on the blackboard that day.

The vibe is cognisant, but not snobby – on Monday to Friday between 5.30-7pm all wines are £5 by the glass, so anyone can come in and widen their wine horizons.

BEST DISH: We were told guests rave about the buttermilk fried chicken, so immediately put in an order (£8). As we’d now come to expect, our interest was piqued with a fermented soy and chilli sauce – the type of bold, hard-to-put-your-finger-on flavour that leaves you asking about its ingredients (so you can add them to your ‘things I didn’t know I liked’ list).

Anchovy & thyme pressed toasts with parmesan and lemon (£5) were simple yet moreish, while charred lamb riblets with cumin salt, mint & pomegranate (£8) were fatty, juicy, and burnt up just so (pick them up and gnaw, if you’re brave enough).

Deep-fried cod cheeks with squid and almond aioli (£12) worth a special mention, piping hot, meaty chunks shot through with fresh. zingy blood orange.

We’ll be back to try the breakfast menu: toasts, fruits, cereals and egg dishes washed down with kombucha and kefir. Perhaps a late booking, so it wouldn’t be *too* strange to order some of that orange wine we had two glasses of, and haven’t been able to stop thinking about. That’s perhaps our favourite thing about Rawduck – you come away feeling like you’ve learned a little something new – and an all-new lesson awaits you next time.

DETAILS: Rawduckhackney.co.uk / 197 Richmond Road, London, E8 3NJ /020-8986 6534Sign-Up To FashionBite’s Weekly News

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