Right in the heart of Soho, Ducksoup offers decent grub for around £20 a head. As with many little joints in Soho it doesn’t take evening bookings, but it’s not the type of place you sit for a couple of hours so the turnaround rate on seats is fairly sharp. The room itself isn’t much more than bare white walls (painted to look scruffy) and a bar area where everybody, apart from the couple of window seats, is perched up on stools. The cooking reflects the no-nonsense decor. It’s simple but stylish.

The menu is European influenced with more of a nod towards Spain, and changes daily, but expect veg to make up a good proportion of the small plates, all around £6 each. The kale came with a lemon and chilli dressing, and was the second best kale dish I’ve had in London behind the one at Barrafina. Just as tasty was a small plate of colourful beetroot that was really lifted by a fresh mint and sour cream dip. There was a potted goose with mini gherkins and sourdough that needed more salt and failed to excite. And quail that was nicely grilled and served with a lovely nutty olive oil and tangy lemon dressing but as tends to be the case with quail you spend more time picking at bones than finding any meat.

What really makes the dishes sing are the ingredients. They’re well sourced and that comes through in the flavour. Ingredients like this are often best done simply, and it takes a good chef to pull it off. Ducksoup isn’t going to change the way you think about food, but it’s affordable and the small plates lets you try a few things. It’s worth chancing that there’s a couple of seats being free next time you find yourself wandering through Soho with too many choice on your hands.

Ducksoup, 41 Dean St



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