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REVIEW: The Duck + Rice, Soho

The Duck and rice soho alan yau

WHAT? Family-style sharing plates of traditional Asian food, served up in a seriously fancy, British-inspired pub hidden behind a beautiful stained glass window.

The Duck and rice soho alan yau

Dreamed up by renowned restauranteur Alan Yau, The Duck + Rice feels sexy and inventive, exploring super fresh Asian cuisine in what feels like a traditional English setting. The offbeat Soho location guarantees a great crowd day and night, but if you plan your visit right, unforgettable entertainment is thrown in, too.

The Duck and rice soho alan yau

Downstairs, you’ll find pumps and barrels touting great Great British ales, alongside brewery-fresh Czech Pilsner. Take the gorgeous spiral staircase up to the stylish restaurant, and inventive cocktails await – order one before you peruse the rather large menu, deserved of far more than a cursory glance.

The Duck and rice soho alan yau

The gin & tonic menu offers eight drinks variations (try the Pink Pepper, with Fever-Tree Mediterranean tonic, grapefruit, and punchy Sichuan), then there’s the beer cocktail list – you might fancy an Irish Espresso made with Stolichnaya vodka, Mr Black coffee liqueur, espresso and Oyster Stout, or The Bee Smoker, combining Springbank 10yr single malt, honeycomb, frangelico and Hiver honey beer.

Other cocktail options include raspberry caipirinhas, negronis and our favourite, the Kriek Manhattan – a potent blend of Rittenhouse rye, belsazar red, cherry beer foam and egg white.

The Duck and rice soho alan yau

WHY GO? To sample Chinese food as it truly should be. On an admittedly large and confusing menu, there are more than a few gems – Singapore fried noodles are perfectly light and moreish, the Cantonese Roast Duck hand-reared on a natural diet at family-owned Silver Hill Farm in Ireland, to produce a succulent flavour.

The Chicken katsu curry rice stomps all over its Wagamama counterpart, while sweet and sour pork chop suey is lightyears away from the dish found in greasy, flavourless takeaways.

The Duck and rice soho alan yau

First, though, order a couple of dishes from the ‘Small Chow’ section. Sesame prawn toasts are thick and juicy, superior to any others we’ve tried, the soft shell crab lightly spiced and creamy. Lobster Cantonese features on the ‘Heroes’ menu, served with ginger, spring onion & noodles, and there’s black pepper mock chicken and jasmine-smoked mock duck for vegans to gorge on.

The ‘No.23’ has no description, but we’ll fill you in on the joke – it’s chicken chow mein, presumably nodding to what most assume a Chinese takeaway is all about.

The dim sum menu is worth exploring, too – the best dishes being fluffy Char Siu, crunchy Mooli puffs (deep-fried, flaky pastries encasing shredded radish) and spicy Sichuan vegetable dumplings – the latter so hot, they come with a warning (nay, a discouraging) from the waitress.

The Duck and rice soho alan yau

ANYTHING ELSE? Every second Sunday you can rock up and enjoy a quiz show and cabaret from 6.30pm, and from September, every fourth Sunday will see Violet, Berwick Streets’ oldest resident (91!), calling bingo numbers alongside dirty dancing, free shots, bespoke Pilsner growlers, and cash giveaways. Has a Sunday ever sounded more perfect?

The Duck and rice soho alan yau

DETAILS: 90 Berwick Street, Soho, London W1F 0QB / 020 3327 7888 / reservations@theduckandrice.com / Lunch is served from 12 – 3pm and Dinner from 5pm / Theduckandrice.comSign-Up To FashionBite’s Weekly News

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