Honey and
food and travel

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Raw Duck

Raw Duck was another one that was stuck on my list of places to go for far too long. Although, this wasn't entirely my fault: there was a restaurant disaster and the whole place fell in a hole. This put my visit off for a while until it was resurrected.

The original site was abandoned and a new site created, far away from the threats of diggers and drills. I only peaked my head into the original Raw Duck, but that was enough to tell me that this new site is an entirely different venture. An open, light, airy, white, plant-filled space with long concrete tables, wooden sharing tables, white lights, walls filled with pickling and fermenting fruit and vegetables, vast wine racks, and the ever-trendy open kitchen.

There is a slightly funny smell to the place, but I guess that's the result of lots of kimchi hanging around in the same space for an extended period of time.

We traipsed through the rain on a miserable weekday evening to find an almost empty restaurant. The rain was keeping people hidden away in their homes, making the restaurant quiet and echoey. We were grateful for the music.

What was to come was a mixture of ferments, pickles, and fabulous combinations. Several plates shared, and a couple of glasses of natural wine. Which I am yet to fully understand. Let's start, shall we?

Miso carrots. The most underwhelming dish of the evening. The miso had made the carrots soggy. I love miso, but I don't really want a carrot which has just been dunked in it for far too long. Thanks.

Labneh, dukkah and olive oil. Stunning. Superb simplicity.

Malenca, iceberg and buttermilk dressing. A little too citrusy pour moi, it threw the whole plate of balance a little, but almost, almost there.

Buttermilk fried chicken & fermented soy & chilli sauce. The buttermilk fried chicken seems to be a competitive environment these days. And this one fares very well. Not greasy, but crispy with tender chicken and plenty of dark, umami-rich soy.

Salt cod & pea fritters, cucumber, curry leaves & sumac. The star of the show. Those curry leaves were brilliant.

Grilled aubergines, miso, ponzu, green onion and sesame. Now this is how to cook with miso. One I will be trying my hardest to recreate at home. 

Bellies were full, wine wasn't quite finished, and the rain had ceased, so we left for home without pudding or tea. We'd had enough pickles, ferments, drinking vinegars, and rather unfriendly service by this point. But not for ever. It's back on my list to go for breakfast or brunch. Let's hope for no more building works to completely ruin this plan before then.

Highlight: Pretty plates.
Lowlight: Funny smell.

Raw Duck, 197 Richmond Road, London, E8 3NJ

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