Review: Duck + Champagne
Review: Duck + Champagne
Angela Zaher checks out a winning combination…
At the western end of the King’s Road, where the World’s End Distillery pub used to be, there is now a new concept restaurant called Duck + Champagne, part of the Chelsea Funhouse. This venture is run by the innovative entertainment and hospitality company Lollipop; the restaurant is on the ground floor, there is a 1940’s cocktail bar called The Bletchley on the lower ground floor where you can have immersive cocktails (inspired by Alan Turing and Bletchley Park) and on the first floor, there is a party area for dancing the night away with espresso martinis. The whole setup looks great and undoubtedly lives up to the funhouse name but for this visit, our focus was the restaurant.
Walking into the restaurant feels like walking into an opulent speakeasy – low lighting, velvet sofas, armchairs and banquettes and a chandelier decorated with feathers and strings of pearls. Unsurprisingly, the menu (devised by ex-Ottolenghi chef Claire Hodgson and Michelin-trained Steve Huggett) is dominated by duck dishes spanning French, Oriental and Middle Eastern cuisines. Duck rillettes, duck bao bun, cassoulet, duck shawarma and duck burger all feature together.
Whereas I am happy to eat duck, I would not consider myself as a duck enthusiast but took one along. I eased into the menu with a lusciously creamy burrata with hazelnut pesto, the duck bao bun on the other side of the table was delicious- crispy skin encasing succulent meat inside the fluffy bun with a generous lash of sticky plum sauce- my first pang of duck envy. I went for the duck shawarma next which was served as an assemble your own alongside freshly baked flatbreads, a chopped salad and mint yoghurt. I tore up my flatbreads and scooped my plate clean- I am drawn to food which can be eaten without cutlery and this was right up my street. The cassoulet looked and tasted like it had just come out of a French farmhouse kitchen. All-you-can-eat sides come with a menu choice of 1 small plate+1 large plate +1 glass of champagne (£38.50) but we couldn’t manage more than one portion of flawless fries and heritage tomato salad.
As for drinks, champagne pairs very well with duck and here, small batch champagnes are offered on a rotating basis at reasonable prices (starting from £10 a glass). The wine list likewise is fairly priced and is a hat tip to most corners of the world with a bias to those closer to home.
Another aspect of this restaurant that really appeals to me is that in the boudoir-like dining room there is a window into the pass of the kitchen at one wall where the prepared dishes are finished off on a stainless steel countertop before they are whisked away by the waiting staff. I find it thrilling to have a glimpse into the kitchen and enjoy the contrast between the relaxed and calm feel of the restaurant and the hive of activity in the kitchen that serves it. The friendly service complimented the food perfectly and by the end of the meal, I think I too had been converted into a duck enthusiast.