Earlier this year, Alan Yau opened a new ‘Chinese gastro pub’ in the heart of Soho called The Duck and Rice. Alan Yau was first known for founding Wagamama and Busaba Eathai and later moved on to more highbrow Pan-Asian ventures like Yauatcha and Hakkasan, both of which have been extremely successful and were later sold for a substantial sum. Now his aim is to make The Duck and Rice brand equally as renowned.
Upon walking into the space, you are hit by its unquestionable beauty. The exterior is made up on fun geometric windowpanes, the interior dimly lit and seductive, with bursts of pretty white and blue blossom printed panels. We started on the bottom floor, sipping a variety of different pilsner beers on offer from the shiny beer vats that decorate the space. The beer snacks are highly recommended, especially the chilli and shallot cashew nuts and the fried Japanese fish fingers.
Once our thirst was quenched, we headed up the spiral staircase to the jewel of the building, the restaurant. The Duck and Rice chefs have selected staple Chinese takeaway staples and turned them into points of conversation. I ordered the sticky jasmine- smoked pork ribs and the chilli Sichuan chicken, both succulent and cooked to perfection. Other dishes to try are the steamed shrimp dumplings and the sesame prawn toast which are not to be missed.
Is it expensive? Yes, but the interior, service and atmosphere made it worth every penny.