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Duddell's (CLOSED)

Restaurants, Chinese London Bridge
2 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

2 out of 5 stars

Friendly warning! We're working hard to be accurate. But these are unusual times, so please check that venues remain open.

Please note, Duddell's has now closed. Time Out Food editors, DECEMBER 2019. 

How does this sound? A smart Cantonese restaurant, hugely popular in Hong Kong, dropped into a Grade II-listed site a dumpling’s throw from the Shard. Pretty special, right? And yes, it’s a grand space, with imposing period features and futuristic light fittings dangling from double height ceilings. Plus, some of the food is pretty good.

But on the night of my visit, Duddell’s felt cold. Not just in air temperature (though it was definitely chilly), but in atmosphere. Or lack of. The combo of loft space plus hard surfaces creates the clattery effect of eating in a big museum café. It’s visually attractive – lots of emerald green tossed about in geometric shapes – but also came with a pointless thudding soundtrack. Like being in the toilet of a nightclub, when all you can hear from next door is the bass.

All of this might be fine if the cooking was more consistent. The Peking duck is perfectly decent. This comes the high-end way: presented at the table, then carved up for dipping (skin, into fennel sugar), rolling (chunks, for pancakes, with eight condiments) and stir-frying (with noodles; this appears later). Though at £35 for a half it’s the same price as at Min Jiang (where it’s better, plus you get a nice leafy view). Another meaty dish, of house char siu, was terrific, the sticky, honey-glazed pork flanked by sweet, nutty soya beans. While a dessert of pineapple with Szechuan pepper, pineapple sorbet and baked vanilla yoghurt was every bit as exotic and exciting as it sounds.

But too many mainstays failed to make the grade: oversalted soft-shell crab, oversalted salt-and-pepper squid, egg fried rice that was soft to the point of being mushy. Service, likewise, was odd, veering abruptly from brusque to obsequious. It’s a pity, because there are flashes of brilliance here. But at these prices (that dessert cost £9), they're just too few and too far between.


Address: 6 St Thomas Street
Transport: Tube: London Bridge
Price: Dinner for two with drinks and service: around £160
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