I'm an open minded diner when it comes to eating out, but things that will always win brownie points with me are if a) they take reservations, and b) they play good music that isn't played so loud you have to shout your conversations, because that paired with good quality food is actually not that easy to come by these days.
Thankfully, Duck & Rice ticks off all those tricky boxes and more. It's a unique place that boasts a relaxed pub setting downstairs (with some of the restaurant dishes on offer), and a restaurant on the first floor with cosy seats and a modern, friendly vibe. E and I had been once before, but our friends and I had not been too hungry for dinner after big respective lunches and had just shared some duck and rice (how appropriate) to share, so we were excited to try it "properly" with my sister and two friends in tow.
The main event of the menu is the House Duck, which is deemed to be the best Cantonese style roast duck in London by many. It really is fantastic, and we had the Salted Fish & Chicken Fried Rice to go with it, which is spot on. There's a solid selection of dim sum dishes available, of which we picked a few (sadly the Xiao Long Bao was sold out, but the others - in particular, the venison puffs - did not disappoint), as well as the Sesame Prawn Toast which is a whole different species to those sad looking fried triangles from Chinese takeaways, and the Jasmine smoked pork rib - amazing.
To my gin-loving delight, they have a few interesting G & Ts on the drinks menu which I really enjoyed - I went for the Bombay Sapphire and it was excellent.
With the exception of Yauatcha, not many Chinese restaurants grab my attention with their dessert menus, but at D&R you'll be spoilt for choice. They all sounded delicious, and we decided to share the Lemon Tart, Egg Tarts and Black Sesame Dumpling. I actually liked all of them, a lot - the more savoury sesame dumpling was right up my street, and the lemon tart was quite unusual but classic at the same time...? Hard to explain, but suffice to say, we all thought that the dessert spread was a big, sweet success.
It's definitely at the top of my to re-visit list of restaurants, and it's the perfect setting to catch up with a friend, go on a casual date or gather with a group and order half the menu. Not to mention, the reservations thing is a huge bonus.