The giant marble table in the centre of this ‘fermenting kitchen’ also doubles as a display area, with jars and plates in the middle and chairs along one side. Anywhere you sit, expect an eyeful of the pickling projects. There’s even a muslin bag suspended from the ceiling, containing the Picklery’s own labneh, of course. Little Duck/ The Picklery lives up to its name – it’s basically a sexy, edible version of the Grant Museum of Zoology.
Like its big sisters Rawduck and Ducksoup, there’s a scribbled blackboard menu of natural wines and daily-changing seasonal plates, featuring a well-stamped passport of global ingredients. Except here, obviously, many are pickled or fermented, while others are so fresh they’re almost still on the allotment. Hunks of carosello cucumber came dolloped with that labneh, while cuttlefish in its ink was like mopping up a salty, satiating black hole.
I could have eaten ten more plates of sardines: tender, chilli-cured fish, with enough piquancy to go at them slowly, savouring every mouthful of Med warmth and crunchy pickled walnut. A finger bowl of daikon kimchi was so moreish I asked to buy some (alas, it’s just for diners, although there’s a kaleidoscope of bottled goodies for sale in the corner fridge).
Little Duck is beautifully low-key and serves some seriously cool combinations. Plus, though pricy in the evenings, it does a great lunch deal (£10 for a main and a glass of wine). May it last – and ferment – far longer than our DIY kefir kits.