Two's company. A few words on food, drink and little adventures! @atablefortwoLDN
It speaks volumes of a place if you get terrible service on a Friday evening. The staff either hate their boss, you or a mixture of both. Duck Soup’s staff seemed to be inconvenienced by our arrival. A slight flicker of eye contact above people’s heads was as much of an acknowledgment we were going to get.
Ironically this place was one of the first to employ the wretched self satisfying ‘no booking’ policy. It would seem that the novelty has worn off for the staff with every grimace that greets a new table. Standing for long enough like awkward coat racks we were about to leave. Sadly, before we could a member of staff lead us downstairs into the dingy basement far from the bustling atmospheric crowds above.
The lighting was awful, the seating plan cumbersome and the scrawling of a menu on the dim chalkboards were illegible. If this wasn’t enough, some vinyl screeched it’s way continuously through our conversations.
Inspired by neighbourhood restaurants in France, it’s pricing seems far from it. Boasting a niche wine list you can see why it’s so niche. It’s not very good, pretentious and overpriced. Fearing a loss, your local Co-Op wouldn’t touch them. The staff continued their laissez faire attitude, any recommendation about the wine seemed to pain them. More importantly it was distracting their pre-pubescent flirting. Needless to say we chose the Bianco Dei Muni. At this point we’re not claiming to be sommeliers but this did not taste like a £40 wine. It clouded the palate with great brash tannins that left you so unspeakably puckered. In fact, on further research…it’s not a £40 wine. Some restaurants have the same bottle for £12.50.
After our eyes had adjusted to it’s nocturnal habitat we started the order. Sourdough and butter would tide us over for a while. Diligently they served us the sorry-looking-well-groped heal of the bread. Needless to say the butter was nice. Duck Soup is a small plate (no content) place, so as encouraged we ordered sporadically. Oysters followed, can’t fault them. Obviously for the purists, it was served only with a lemon. Sadly we were denied any further condiments on request.
Next came the raw hanger steak on toast. A lesser spotted cut of beef, it was good to see on the menu. It was perfect, impeccably seasoned and beautifully silky. One of the best tartares in Soho.
Finally, the Summer Bean Salad with Pheasants egg rounded off the evening. Crunchy beans with a lackadaisical egg strewn over the dish. Pleasant, although a little sloppy with the addition of oil as a dressing.
At first glance, the menu is relatively priced. You’ll find that a plate will cost you £7, not much on it’s own. Then again, it’s never going to be on it’s own. You’ll be pushed to buying three or four plates between two, then sides and that’s after the bar snacks you’ve just ordered at £6 to £8 a pop. It’s another bastardized ‘small plate’ import preying on the British public’s gullibility for the ‘exotic’. It brands itself as humble and ‘neighbourhood’ but then charges £40 for bad wine. One could only imagine that if this place was opened in a French neighbourhood the locals would soon be crying zut alors. Our advice, life is too short to buy expensive bad wines and to leave a restaurant hungry. Duck Soup is not unique in supplying French/New Euro food, you’ll definitely find better at 40 Maltby Street or Brixton Cornercopia.
41 Dean St