Duck and Rice, Soho

The idea of this place is great: a venture from the creator of Wagamamas which claims to be an oriental gastropub. I really wanted to like it, but I can’t say I was impressed.

There are two spaces to choose from. The downstairs bar which serves a “bar menu” offering only a small number of dishes and an upstairs restaurant with the full menu. Annoyingly, the upstairs restaurant is only open at certain times, so the unknowing can be left disappointed.

IMG_4399 (2)Some of the dishes are dangerously experimental and seemingly overpriced. As an example, watch out for the Chilli Sichuan Chicken – branded as a “Small Chow” dish but at the price of £16.50! We were warned against buying two portions of this for our table by the barman and it’s obvious why. There are more dry roasted chillies and peppercorns than chicken, leaving your mouth numb and almost vibrating like you’ve eaten a box of popping candy. After two mouthfuls you won’t want, or be able to taste, any more, ever.

The duck is…fine…but I wanted more from their signature dish. And again, it doesn’t come cheap. The options available in the heart of China Town round the corner are a lot more inviting, both for your taste buds and your wallet.

While the selection of beers is good, again, they are overpriced, with some usual contenders priced close to £7. Tanks of Pilsner Urquell surround the bar but frankly, I am convinced this beer tastes like cheese and onion crisps and that bars only sell it to use the tanks as industrial decor.

To be fair, the interior is impressive, and I’m sure there are good dishes on the menu. But unfortunately I won’t be taking my chances here again, especially at the prices they try to sell at.

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