The Duck and Rice

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I went to Alan Yau’s newest place a couple of weeks ago and I just can not stop thinking about it. I do believe that the spicy Szechuan chicken has me bewitched!

We’d booked a table for two on a Thursday night two nights before, so it was no surprise that we ended up with a late spot, but we decided to head along early (6:30pm) in the hopes that they might have a table free earlier. No such luck, but fortunately, it did mean that we were able to fully soak up the atmosphere downstairs in the pub. Its loud, kind of dimly lit and takes ages to get served – its a pub. With the added benefit of being able to order prawn crackers with your pint, a perfect combo.  They also go surprisingly well with the fish bowl size glasses of gin cocktails that they serve, mixed with elderflower and fruit. By 9pm, we were a few glasses down and wobbled our way upstairs to the table.

Having already had a glimpse of the menu we knew we wanted dim sum and then some.  What glorious dim sum it was. Venison Puffs, pork and prawn sui mai, char sui buns (my favs) and duck spring rolls.

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The pastry on the Venison puffs was exceptional, light, sweet and ever so slightly sticky. I have to say at this point I was starting to wonder if I would be able to eat anything from the rest of the menu, but we pushed on and ordered the spicy Szechuan chicken. (as a side note when I asked for the dish our lovely waitress, looked at me asked if I was sure and made a my mouth is on fire hand gesture and said, “makes tongue numb”. In a typically English way – hello madras – I said yeah sure and ordered anyway).

When the plate arrived I began to think that I might have outdone even myself this time. There was an approximately 50:50 ratio chicken to dried chilli on the plate. We persevered through the minefield of little red bombs and ate almost every little bite of the chicken. It was delicious. Yes, my tongue was numb by the end but it wasn’t a searing heat and was surprisingly additively.

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My only complaint with Duck and Rice is that I couldn’t try enough. I need to go back pronto to sample more of their delights. The duck has my name written ALL over it!

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