Restaurant review: Raw Duck, London Fields, E8
- Credit: Archant
Last year, the manager of Raw Duck went down to the cellar for a bottle of wine, and discovered a large hole in the wall.
Diners were evacuated mid-meal, and the building in Amhurst Terrace was eventually declared unsafe and demolished.
The owners of the bistro, which had only just opened, were heartbroken but have now opened its second incarnation close to London Fields.
It has the same buzzing vibe but a stripped back décor, with long cast-concrete polished tables, a high concrete ceiling and the signature Raw Duck neon lights.
There’s also a lot more space, so customers can stay until midnight without being kicked out for a second sitting.
There’s something of a food revolution going on here. A bookshelf is lined with jars of the pickles which are made in-house, which apparently exist for a good gastronomic reason.
All of these ferments are supposed to aid your digestion, and are very reasonably priced at £2 a dish.
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I wouldn’t normally have gone for sauerkraut, but owner Clare Lattin sold the concept to us, and we chose the white cabbage and caraway, daikon and ginger as well as the kohlrabi kimchi.
Once my friend and I overcame the pungent smell of greens, we embraced the idea wholeheartedly and munched our way through the whole vinegary lot.
They definitely tasted better than they smelt, and it was nice to have a starter that didn’t fill you up before the main courses, of which we tried four.
All were absolutely delectable, noticeably missing on carbs, and went down very nicely with a biodynamic Rosé.
The charred asparagus with salted ricotta and olive oil was cooked to perfection, blanched and then chargrilled, letting the top-notch seasonal ingredients speak for themselves.
“You wait till you taste that chicken,” cried my friend, as she raced ahead to grab the Korean fried chicken, whose chickpea flour breadcrumbs gave them an amazing crispy dry texture, going down a treat with the fermented soy and chilli sauce.
My favourite of the lot was the Malenca – a kind of cured beef, again made in-house – which came with a sweet kind of buttermilk sauce, toned down by the crunchy fresh texture of iceberg lettuce. Food heaven.
These three dishes were all a bargain at just £6 each.
The hake, priced at £10, was a substantial piece of meaty fish and came with a minty sauce.
I don’t normally go for desserts, but was so enthused by the rest of the meal I just wanted to keep on eating.
The toasted coconut dessert had a pannacotta feel about it and was just magic.
After tucking in enthusiastically, I didn’t feel as bloated as you might after most three course meals.
Testament is perhaps the fact we found the oomph to go out dancing until 4am.
Perhaps there’s something in those pickles after all.