Monday 26 September 2011

Duck Soup, Soho

I broke the rule of not visiting a restaurant on its very first service but what the hey; if they're taking my money, I'm going to spout my opinion. So there's your disclaimer.

I've become a little bit habitual with my lunch options in Soho. Often I eat at my desk but when I get the chance for an actual real life proper hour long lunch break I seize the opportunity and then end up back at Koya or Moolis. I love those places, but when a friend suggested we lunch it was time to try something new and it just so happened that Duck Soup was opening today. With no signage, my friend walked straight past and doubled back on himself. We perched on high chairs at the bar and a waitress wrestled with a black board for small plates at £3.50, then wrestled with another with £7 dishes on, and finally almost dropped the thing spinning it round to reveal the larger £14 plates. And then we had to remember what was on them. I'm not sure if that's a temporary solution but it seemed awkward and cumbersome. Anyway, we made our choices and settled in.

Smoked mackerel with tomatoes (top) was a gorgeous little plateful; the mackerel in particular was soft and silky, gentler than any I've had. Bread was offered and accepted gratefully, and the white creamy butter slathered on went down a treat. I think I'd prefer to have known we'd be charged £2 for it though.

Tete de Moine was a pungent cheese, served in pretty curls made by a girolle. It tasted of farmyard and made an ample cheese sandwich with aforementioned bread.

Raw ceps with lardo and Berkswell was excellent. The earthy mushrooms worked well with the salty Parmesan-like cheese, while the lardo offered a background hint of pig.

And then we waited. And waited. And waited some more. When I enquired after our last dish dish, our waitress apologetically told us it would be an additional 7 minutes. I liked how precise she was.

When it finally turned up, the quail with burnt lemons and saffron mayonnaise was exemplary. Crispy little birds cooked pink were tender and juicy, their flavour accentuated by a a squirt of lemon and a smidge of mayonnaise.

Our bill came to £35 with service; we'd drank only water, so it's not a cheap every day lunch. I really enjoyed the food; the team, former employees of Hix, obviously pick their ingredients well. We emerged an hour and 15 minutes after we sat down and I wasn't full enough that the run back to work was uncomfortable. I'm certain the long wait was first day glitches and I'm keen to go back and try some more of the menu. I hope they'll make a duck soup.

Duck Soup

41 Dean Street,
London, W1D 4PY


Chris Pople said...

I hope that £2 for the bread is optional. Nothing riles me more than an unavoidable cover charge.

Otherwise, looks nice.

PDH said...

Sounds fun and I love the idea of Quail burnt lemons. Probably won't be trying it on a lunch time though unless they work on their timings a bit :^P

catty said...

Ah I do miss Soho!!!! There's always something new opening and this looks like another winner for the area. Yay for more lunch options, albeit a payday lunch.

Unknown said...

Someone asked me recently if I missed London. I told them no except for the lovely Soho lunches!

Hollow Legs said...

Chris - we were asked if we wanted bread. We said yes. £2 appeared on the bill - I'd have preferred it if it was written on the chalkboard or something.

Pavel - Yes, I'll be returning when I have more time!

Catty - Soho is becoming a proper nice food hub. A food hub of queues, I suspect...

Dom - I can see why you would!

Jingan Young said...

Was going to try this place this week but after this...seems like when service is that lax there is no hope. And the price for that portion? hmm...great review, as usual. :)

Unknown said...

You had me at quail with burnt lemons and saffron mayonnaise - sounds fabulous. Hope the service issues improve.