A rainy Wednesday evening saw two of us brave the dreaded streets of dining Soho. A plethora of non-booking restaurants with lines of hapless punters queuing cluelessly. So it came as quite a surprise that we ended up in Ducksoup. A place so ‘on-trend’ that in its throwback to a vintage age it is so modern that it’s ahead of its time. Soho is famed for birthing cramped, hipster, dive restaurants serving tapas style sharing plates. Ducksoup is no different, in fact it epitomises this kind of establishment.
Despite this trendy, new breed image which I tend to hate, I thoroughly enjoyed my dinner here. The food was quite delicious. Fresh, seasonal ingredients, executed to a high standard and resulting in very tasty little dishes. The menu changes daily and features various influences from around Europe. The lamb’s kidneys were tender, seasoned perfectly and balanced beautifully with roasted cauliflower. The quail was succulent, the delicate chargrilled notes working wonderfully with the rich, wet polenta. Even the salt crusted potatoes were a triumph, a hearty crunch, encasing fluffy baked potato. When dipped in possibly the finest aioli I’ve ever tasted, they’re the absolute perfect bar-side snack.
I applaud the ethos here, natural food, seasonal, fresh and cooked with love. I would have liked to see an actual ‘duck soup’ on the menu though. Despite the entitlement referring to a Marx Brothers film, it’s a restaurant first and foremost and it’s the name that drew me in in the first place. When I was living in Thailand, my favourite place to eat was a little stall selling duck soup. I must admit that although I did not expect a trendy soho eatery to serve a 50p bowl of nostalgia, I was met with some disappointment that not one single duck item or even soup for that matter was featured on the menu.
The service left much to be desired unfortunately but not unexpectedly. I mean it wouldn’t be very hipster with traditional five star customer service now would it? I ordered a negroni from the drinks menu, the waitress urged me to try the ‘white negroni’ instead. She sang praises of how delicious it was and that I wouldn’t be disappointed. When I expressed hesitance and a certain air of uncertainty, she philosophically retorted by expressing that no one ever experienced anything without taking a risk. By this point I was expecting her to offer to change the drink should it not be to my taste, the option was not offered so I proposed it to her. Apparently this is not common practice in the hospitality industry and it was extremely “unfair” of me to suggest such a travesty. She then continued to propose that if I was at her house then it would be “quite different”. I laughed it off and ordered my negroni, without the white. Maybe it was a dig at the colour of my skin, my lack of adventure, my taste in drinks or a bizarre, reverse courting ritual, God only knows.
Anyway, the kitchen produces some fine cooking and the atmosphere was pleasantly calm. It’s small but felt cozy not cramped, a warm glow and gentle hum floated around the place, I felt incredibly relaxed there. As with any restaurant in Soho, go early to improve your chances of getting seated and not standing around like a lemon on a damp pavement, although they do take bookings for three or more. It’s the perfect spot for a post-work bottle of wine and a few good eats, you won’t be disappointed with that I promise. Just don’t expect any duck soup.
41 Dean Street
+1 20 7287 4599