The good: Duck & Rice is absolutely gorgeous. Downstairs is a pub with giant, shiny copper tanks that scream “we serve beer”. Upstairs is a bright and modern dining room, decorated with beautiful white and blue ceramic wall panels. Every piece of furniture is interesting and fits perfectly in the room; wide leather chairs with dark wooden arms, heavy copper tables with textured surface, and a beautiful wooden bar that runs the length of the room.
The bad: The dumplings. Given this is Alan Yau’s latest restaurant (the original owner of Yauatcha and Hakkasan), we had high expectations. Unfortunately, the siu mai wrapper was dry, like it had been sitting out, and the filling was both lacking in pork flavour and over-salted. The har gow was also overly salty, with a mushy wrapper. And we didn’t get to try the xiao long bao because they ran out. We ordered the venison puffs instead on the waiter’s recommendation; the filling was overly sweet and the pastry was undercooked. Not good.
The ugly: The service. Nevermind that we waited almost 20 mins for the first dish to come out. It was a busy weekend afternoon service. What’s unforgivable is that they messed up our order by giving us the scallop sui mai instead of the pork. Twice. In the same visit. If busy restaurants in Chinatown serving at least twice as many customers (for half the price) can get a couple of dim sum orders right, then Duck & Rice should be able to too.
Food Score (out of 5) = 2.5
Service Score = 2.0
Environment Score = 5.0
Overall Score = 2.9
Time for food to arrive: 17 mins
Time for tea to arrive: 3 mins
Cost for 3 dishes + 1 tea: £19.50
Verdict: Three words: Style over substance.
Read more about how we are scoring London's Best Dim Sum
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