We have only ever heard good things about Ducksoup so was excited when we finally got around to going. It is one of the ‘trendy’ new restaurants where you can not book and often resulting in lengthy queues. Fortunately for us as we entered the smallSohorestaurant there were plenty of seats available, they also had seating downstairs to help ease the queues and had the same relaxed atmosphere that seemed to be loved by all the critics.
The atmosphere really was unique and quite eccentric, yet stylishly messy. It was rather minimalist in some respects too, such as the white ceramic walls and the large wooden tables. It was too laid back however to be really minimalist in its approach. The seats available were at the bar downstairs on a wooden bench. Usually we would not like this option but it seemed to go with the hippy relaxed atmosphere so we were satisfied. We then looked at the menu which was a piece of paper with 3-4 options of dishes pinned to the wall. Although rather limited in its choices there were things we liked (though we can imagine more fussy eaters may have found the choice harder).
All good so far. The cocktail list was even more limited, having the selection of two cocktails and their ingredients were annoyingly not listed. These were written up in marker pen on one of the ceramic walls. We ordered starters of crab and tomatoes salad and fried courgettes. The eastern European waitress had trouble understanding us and vice versa which made the ordering hard for a start. For the main course we both ordered braised lambs leg with cannellini beans with a side of beetroot salad andparma ham.
As we waited for our meal the drinks were made in front of us, which was a quirky way to do this although it did feel a little cluttered but we guess that was the nature of the beast. At this point our bottoms were starting to ache from the hard wooden benches without backs for support. Our starters that came out were surprisingly small for the price on the menu. It was simply presented but with care (like one of those people who have the ‘bed head look’ but you know it has really taken hours to perfect). The crab salad was lacking flavour and importantly any texture and we felt mildly disappointed. The courgettes were a lot more robust yet seemed not to be seasoned well at all. Rather plain we would say.
At this point we ordered the other cocktail option and it came in a small whiskey glass with only a drop of strong liquor in it. Not really sure it could be classed as a punch (unless they meant that the strength almost literally punched you), as the only punches that we drink are usually made with rum, and are fruity and deep and manly in scale. This small, clear liquid hardly made the grade.
Our main course of lamb was served with the sides however due to the language/accent issues, the waitress had misunderstood and ordered the wrong sides from the already limited sides options. As we waited for our sides to come out we slowly ate the lamb. We have to admit this was perfectly cooked; the skin was crispy and the meat was just so tender that it melted ones mouth. It worked well with the white protein rich beans and was served in unique stone bowls. The issue here again was that there was not enough of it and left us wanting more. The sides when they did come out were again bland and the beetroot salad was more of a blob of puree put in a tiny bowl. Hardly what I would call a side dish, more of a dip we would say. Following on with the theme this was under seasoned and rather tasteless.
We paid the bill which we thought was over priced for the size and taste of the food. We admit that the relaxed atmosphere and fusion of ingredients worked well but for the language issues in service (although otherwise good) and the actual food taste and texture, there was something really lacking. To us it is the food that really does the talking and makes a restaurant a star; the other things just add to this and DuckSoup seems to be lacking in this vital area.
So for all the hype this hip place has got Sex Drugs and Bacon Rolls was truly underwhelmed and will rate Ducksoup:
Food Atmosphere Service