Duck Duck Goose

Address: Pop Brixton (left avenue) 49 Brixton Station Road, , London, SW9 8PQ

http://www.duckduckgooselondon.com/

Opening times:
Tues-Thurs + Sun: 12-3.30 6.30-10.30
Fri-Sat: 12-4 6.30-11
Mon: Closed
No Reservations

We have been trying to be at least vegetarian in “Vegan January” but this place was too tempting. We thought of posting it in February but that would be cheating, so we are having to own up to a lack of willpower. Duck, Duck, Goose is a small Chinese restaurant in the middle of Pop Brixton that, according to its website, is “inspired by the old school Hong Kong cafes and roast meat shops” and will be “informal, affordable and buzzy.” Housed in a single shipping container it’s certainly cosy. Overall our reaction is favourable, although this is still work in progress.

You need to be on the inside in this sort of weather and couples are easier to sit than larger groups. As they don’t take reservations you need to arrive early if there’s more than two of you. Seating is along one side is at a counter where you have to sit side by side, making conversation tough. We were early on a Thursday so got a booth for two on the other side. Later it  became quite packed, although there are seats outside for when the weather improves.

More than just a cafe, this restaurant has cloth napkins, waiters in spotless white and, rather incongruously, orange plastic chopsticks and spoons. It serves Cantonese food and barbecue. We sat with a good view of the kitchen with the balletic movement of the three chefs cooking in the narrow space. We were also near the drying cabinet of bald pale ducks and next time I am sitting with my back to it.

A short menu with fried and wok vegetables, steamed and barbecued meat (pork belly, duck or goose – only evening). We chose salt and pepper salsify, a simple description which belied the complexity – it was fantastic. The crisp salsify was covered in tempura batter and accompanied by coriander cress and chilli sauce. It was just the right combination of crunchy, hot and sweet with the occasional burst of coriander. Next we had turnip cake with mushroom, which was even better than the salsify and we would definitely recommend as the stand-out dish. The final vegetable was Choi Sum with garlic and soy. We were not that keen on this green veg, following the other two it was a bit boring – not enough garlic. We ordered one bowl of rice and it was acceptable, allowing us to continue to eat with our chopsticks.

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WARNING: Vegetarians or Vegans stop here.

We also ordered the roast pork belly with five spice and a quarter of a roast duck. These came with mustard, homemade pickles and plum sauce and all are needed, as both meats are fatty. The pickles in particular gave a new texture and lightened the mouth. Our favourite was the duck. It was robust, a bit sticky and easy enough to eat. We just couldn’t taste enough of the five spice, except in the sauce which was delicious and plentiful enough to eat with a spoon. We felt the pork needed to be more infused, cooked a bit longer and certainly with crisper skin.

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We still had a dessert which was Cha, Chaan Teng French toast with condensed milk and soy ice cream. We discovered it was peanut butter in the middle of the French toast – nonetheless delicious – the soy ice cream was also lovely too with a great caramel taste.ddg03

We drank a small glass of merlot and one of pinot noir (the pinot is better) but they had Tsing Tao beer on offer and we recommend that, especially with the meat options. The bill came to £53.00 for two – not a cheap night out but definitely more upmarket than a Chinese takeaway.

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