The air of artful nonchalance, currently all the rage in New York restaurants, is successfully transposed to Soho’s Ducksoup, where the rough-and-ready, casual ambience is clearly achieved with much care and thought. There’s little signage outside to indicate you’ve arrived, and in the compact interior space, lit by uncovered light bulbs dangling from curtain rails, diners sit elbow-to-elbow on stools at a long bar, surrounded by bare walls. In the corner sits a retro record player, for customers bringing their own vinyl LPs to play while they eat.

The daily-changing menu, hand-written on yellow paper, is described by the chef as “easy European” – think a bit of Italian plus a bit of French, with a touch of Scandinavian. The place is especially famous for its fritto misto – mixed seafood fried in batter, with saffron mayonnaise – and its roast quail with crème fraîche and harissa. The wine list, inscribed with a marker pen on the white tiled wall, showcases a range of organic natural wines, “natural” meaning they contain no sulphites, so you can drink as much as you like with no risk of hangover.

The “thrown together” approach clearly works – the restaurant is popular and there’s no booking most nights, so you’ll have to queue for a seat. Just don’t forget your LP.


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