Ground-floor pub with Chinese restaurant above from restaurateur Alan Yau in the heart of Soho's Berwick Street.
To go out and get tanked has been given a whole new meaning by Duck & Rice, Alan Yau’s new Soho pub and dining room that dispenses ‘tank beer’. Where the scruffy Endurance pub once provided warm brews and great jukebox tunes, there’s now an extraordinary-looking structure that might be an alien space ship trying to blend in, not very successfully, by impersonating a pub. It still has a great jukebox; they got that bit right. But it still has an interior like a set from Star Trek, and – right at the entrance – copper tanks that dispense Pilsner Urquell, imported from the Czech Republic.
There’s no denying that a good pilsner goes well with Chinese food, which is the other lure of this alien abroad. The ground floor pub has a menu of bar snacks that are mainly deep-fried, but range from chipirones (baby squid) with chilli, to chilli Sichuan chicken. Approach both these dishes at your peril as the chillies are decorative, and not to be eaten.
On the first floor is a restaurant, already very popular. If you’re expecting it to be like the next-door Yauatcha dim sum restaurant – which was one of Alan Yau’s earlier projects until he sold it and Hakkasan for £30.5 million in 2008 – then you’re almost right. Almost, because although the quirky interior has a recognisable Yau feel to it, the menu takes a typically oblique approach to Chinese food.