Last week, Mr V and I finally got to go to The Crispy Duck. With quite a strong social media presence, The Crispy Duck have managed to create a fair bit of interest and I have heard lots of good things. We accidentally coincided our visit with Chinese New Year which I think that worked out to be very positive as the restaurant was busy and there was a good atmosphere.
We were greeted by a friendly man who we later found out was the owner and shown to our seats. He told us that he would put us at the back as there was a large party due in so it might be noisy. We were shown to a table past the bar and near the back in view of the toilets. Usually, this would not be ideal but actually, the back of the restaurant was very nice and if I had chosen where to sit, I probably would have picked our seats.
The wall on my left was decorated with a huge red stripe on a white back drop and there were pictures on the walls and red Chinese lanterns hanging from the ceiling. It was very homely with coat hooks and standing plants and the furniture was very smart with wooden tables and comfy white seats. Having the toilets in view also wasn’t a problem as they had been done beautifully. Instead of a door with a toilet sign, there was a foyer with scented candles and flowers so you couldn’t actually see the door to the toilet. It will sound like an odd thing to say but it looked strangely inviting and more like the entrance to a spa than a toilet.
The Crispy Duck is a pan Asian restaurant serving mostly Malaysian, Chinese and Japanese food and this was reflected in the decor. It all went very nicely together with red as the main colour, Japanese style table wear and the Chinese lanterns. It felt more upmarket than your average Asian restaurant. Even the menus were beautifully done in a wooden cover and there was a good choice of wine which was displayed on racks above the bar as well as the usual beers.
The owner who seated us, was very accommodating and took our drinks orders and talked us through the menu. I found it a little confusing as it was listed according to region and style of dish as opposed to starters and mains but he was very helpful in explaining it all for us.
To start we ordered Soft Shell Crab Karaage which I was very excited about and Chicken and Gyoza (Pan fried Japanese dumplings with Ponzu sauce). Both were an excellent price at just £5 for the Chicken and Gyoza and £7.80 for a whole crab. They arrived very well presented and were both delicious! The soft shell crab was especially good. Rolled in flour and lightly fried, this Japanese dish was meaty and crunchy and something I would definitely order again (the photo does not do it justice).
The Chicken and Gyoza was lovely and soft and packed full of filling. It was juicy but the sauce stayed contained rather than running out and making a mess. It was nice to have something a bit different and I really enjoyed both dishes.
When it came to the mains, the choice was a lot less unusual than the starters. There were lots of favourites on the menu but not many things we hadn’t tried before. After some deliberation we chose Lemon Chicken and Honey Beer Beef with a serving of steamed rice between us. I had been told by friends that have been to The Crispy Duck that dishes were brought out as they were cooked but ours all came out together which was nice. Waitresses were efficient but timid and always on hand if you needed anything.
The dishes were again nicely presented. The lemon chicken wasn’t what I expected it to be. I thought it was going to be a stir fry but it was more like a cutlet. It was very nice all the same and came with a delightful lemon sauce. It was thick and sweet like lemon curd. The Honey Beer Beef was also very nice and again very sweet.
While the mains were very good, for me , the starters stood out more so if I went again, I think I would have a series of these starters or small dishes instead as they were really unusual and appealing. I wish I’d had the chance to try more!
We were just about to ask for the dessert menu when the owner came over to tell us that he was going to give us a complimentary dessert. We thought we’d been rumbled and he knew we were reviewing but all diners were offered the same. We were all treated to banana fritters with vanilla ice cream. It was a nice gesture and the sort of thing that really makes a dining experience for me.
Overall, we were very impressed! The food was nice, service was good and it’s a lovely place to dine. With such reasonable prices a meal at The Crispy Duck wouldn’t cost much more than eating take away style food in a very average Chinese restaurant. The fact that it is pan Asian also makes it stand out as there is more choice on the menu. This worried me at first as I thought it might be a case of trying too much and specialising in nothing but it wasn’t. With a Japanese and a Malaysian chef, the dishes were very authentic.
My Last Mouthful was: The Soft Shell Crab Karaage
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Quality of food-
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