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Duck Soup

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Given my renowned ability not to find anywhere in Soho without at least four attempts, finding duck soup wasn't as bad as i might have imagined.

It's at 41 Dean Street and despite a handily named (and numbered) restaurant 40 next door, I blithely wandered past, quite taken with Dean Street Townhouse which looked suitably louche as i have been led to believe.

The fact it didn't have any signeage (until this morning according to twitter) didn't help but eventually i managed to work it out, and recognised the setting from photos. Not being totally sure of the layout I was quite surprised how small it was, it makes spuntino look like Quaglinos - though on querying it appears there is a downstairs dining room also, i think they can seat 40.

Much has been made of the 'bring your own vinyl' schtick which initially put me off thinking it was going to be a bit too cool-for-school for me, but it turned to be quite retro with some quality Supertramp on in the early evening, giving a very 'mellow vibe'- I think is the parlance.

Upon taking a seat at the bar it was a bit of a no-brainer to have a beer after a hot central line journey and of course rude not to try the i-can't-believe- they-called-it-that 'Fucking Hell' beer, which wasn't as far as i could tell a novelty own brand, but a proper German beer.

Much has also been made of the menu, or lack of it, a handwritten A4 sheet was the master copy that i was entrusted with whilst the rest was written on blackboards of various sizes and portability.

Being greedy and wanting a meal rather than a pitstop I had a small selection of the bar snacks at £3.50 a pop - tete du moine cheese, girolles and st marcellin and salami. Tete du moine is an old favourite from the cheese trolley at winteringham fields in the schwab's glory days so good to see it again, a very nutty cheese cut properly with a little guillotine into ribbons basically. the girolles and st marcellin was just that and the salami whilst looking quite puny, was way punchier than it looked, and was my favourite, as a precursor to a meal, a better start than the cheeses, which i knew, but greed got the better of me, again.

To accompany a glass of their house white, a golden cortese which belied its price. The wine list is felt tipped on tiles which is inkeeping with the general lo-fi approach of the place. A word of warning though, the pours are a skimpy 125 ml, if you were perhaps, i don't know, err, thirsty, you can rattle through them, my errr, friend told me. Ahem.

'Middle' course was ceps, lardo & parmesan on toasted sourdough. this was really good, just as billed and some nice nuggets of ham on the lardo which looked like it has come from the almost finished leg of ham on the bar, initially slightly disappointed that the berkswell cheese of earlier menus was parmesan were soon dissipated on tasting , really excellent cheese i can still taste, £7.

Along with a glass of i think barbera my last course was lamb chops with salmorigio a herby topping, it was just that at £14 which is quite punchy, but got to say other than tayyabs/needoo chops which are a seperate category, these were truely excellent, up there with Robuchons lozere lamb (but without the pommes puree- there are no sides at duck soup). Dispensing with cutlery (and the handily provided sharp knife) i got stuck in, I even ate the fat which is not usually my scene at all, and even greater reason why my earlier in the day gym joining was required.

Given the next course was either more cheese or a creme caramel, i gave up on the food and opted for a cleansing half of draught vedett, paid up and headed off to find gelupo for a quick desert fix. only four minutes away according to the phone, 20 minutes later i eventually found it.

Overall a fun experience, better than the deliberate low -key looks would suggest, certainly not designed like russell norman's spuntino/polpo empire but similar in ethos. My only quibble whilst admiring the business model from a financial view point, it is quite ruinous for the greedy/thirsty. That casual dinner cost a short £70! (31.50 on food for clarity so you could escape for less).

Edited by Gary Marshall (log)

you don't win friends with salad

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Well its very blogger friendly, which seems to be all anyone cares about these days. That makes it flavour of the week this week as proved by your hasty charge to get in there and eat. Next week who knows?

Russell is smart, he keeps opening new places in a blaze of social media so that he is always riding the wave and leaving the old ones bobbing behind him. He understands that all people want is novelty so they can be first to tweet from table.

I was in at Arbutus on Tuesday, rather quiet and yet still great food. They offer consistency but no one seems interested in that anymore. The lads should move to Paris where they'd be appreciated.


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