What? Making its home among the shipping containers of Pop Brixton, Duck Duck Goose is a modern Cantonese canteen by Oli Brown (former chef of Le Café Anglais) based on the old school cafes and roast meat shops in Hong Kong and is now quite possibly, my favourite place to eat in the foodie hub.
New? No, it opened at the start of 2017, but they have recently launched a new spring menu.
The Setting: Pop Brixton is one of my favourite places to go when the sun is shining and you’re looking for a midweek alfresco supper or you’ve got a big group of friends who can’t choose what they want, and you want to just grab a table, a load of street food and have a couple of beers. Duck Duck Goose has some got its self some prime Pop Brixton real estate opening up on the first aisle as you walk in, before it gets too warren like.
The Look: There are only a handful of seats, so they’ve made the most of the small space by keeping the restaurant minimalistic, verging on utilitarian with pegboard for walls and vinyl terrazzo tiles, they also have a couple of tables outside which is where we chose to sit to make the most of the fading summer evening.
On the Menu: Serving up classic Cantonese dishes that you could expect to find in street cafes in Hong Kong, dishes include: whole bream with soy, ginger and spring onion; roast duck; soy chicken with ginger dressing and prawn toast.
What We Ate: We started with crisp spring rolls which are crack open with a satisfying crunch to reveal a duck and rich, creamy foie gras with sharp pickled rhubarb and a dish of salt and pepper courgettes. Like the spring rolls they were anything, but greasy, light batter wrapped round the strings of courgette made them utterly hard to resist.
There was then a dish of beef short rib with fermented bean curd, broad beans, wild garlic, turnips and bone marrow. The beef was so tender that it just fell off the bone, we were warned it was quite rich and we might not finish it, but I’m no quitter there was no way we weren’t going to finish every last morsel. We ordered a side of duck fat fried with pork and it was heavenly, wildly calorific no doubt, but when it’s this good who cares?
The new spring menu is an interesting mix of coconut sorbet with poached rhubarb, Shaoxing wine (a Chinese wine made from fermented rice) and chilli. It’s got sweetness, spiciness and that distinctive tang of rhubarb. However, it was the decadent Cha Chaan Tang peanut butter French toast with caramel, condensed milk and soy ice cream that stole our hearts. Rich, sweet but with the soy ice cream cutting through the caramel to stop it being sickly.
What We Drank: The drinks menu is succinct, with just one cocktail on the menu and a handful of beers and wines, so we kept things simple with a Tsingtao, a light pilsner which goes down just a little too easily.
Go With: It might not be the grandest place but Duck Duck Goose is sweet, it makes a cute a date spot, the food is spot on and Oli’s evident passion about his food means that I can’t imagine you not wanting to take anyone there, unless of course they don’t like Cantonese food and are expecting silver service, then you better go somewhere else.
Where: Duck Duck Goose, Pop Brixton, 49 Brixton Station Road, SW9 8PQ, www.duckduckgooselondon.com
Final Word: Duck Duck Goose might seem like a humble place, it’s home being in a shipping container, but they have a winning formula here. An easy, accessible menu, evident passion and food that is well worth every penny (although it’s already very reasonable).