Ducksoup, restaurant review

by Bread & Honey

January 12th 2018

Simple, seasonal European cuisine and natural wines in a narrow, minimalist space with a long bar.

41 Dean St, Soho, London, W1D 4PY

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Forgive me, but the name tricks me. It’s tricky.

I’m expecting velvet jade cushions and darkened oriental vibes; umami broth and hand made noodles under the cloche.

But in reality, if Ducksoup was a dish, it would be a cassoulet. (And a bean does not beckon me to Soho, to be frank.)

But maybe that’s the point and the name’s just cool to say out loud. Or maybe they did a knock out duck soup when they opened? Still, it jars me.

The space is narrow and long, and their impressive bar takes up half of the room. It’s urban gastro-chic, guys.  Basically, they serve expensive Euro peasant dishes – I’m feeling ripped off already. Then we spy a record player, and the homespun sounds of The Rolling Stones suddenly make me feel a hell of a lot better as I relax with my menu in a sunken table corner.

It’s been open since 2011 now, so no new kid on the block. It’s withstood the test of time and always packed.

Head chef Julian Biggs, whose team met at Mark Hix’s Oyster & Chop House, has described it as “a shared idea based on the sorts of places we like to visit time and time again – those that offer an easy European approach to wine and food”.

You must share apparently. And they bring everything when it’s ready – my worst.  This is not Wagamamas.

But sweet jesus does it deliver!  The flavours are comforting and earthy, with nuances that delight and surprise.  On a side note, the fig drinking vinegar was *in the words of Aladdin* a whole new world.

I can see why it’s still busy.

 

Fig drinking vinegar £4.5

Sourdough bread & butter £2.5

 

Shaved delica squash, Parmesan, rosemary & hazelnuts £9

Cavolo nero, butterbeans, chestnuts & gorgonzola dolce £10.50

Salt cured cod, olive oil, clementine, marjoram, chilli £11

 

Roast hake, charred celeriac, bacon & tarragon £19

Lamb leg steak, cicerchia, fried olives & parlsey £20.50

(2 of each)

Fried Cornish mids & hedgerow garlic aioli £4.50

 

Ricotta doughnuts, spiced lemon custard & walnuts £6.50

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The service was intensely relaxed. Delicate yet knowledgable. The wine list, biodynamic. And the bill, astronomical.

Thoroughly enjoyed although we won’t be returning anytime soon.

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