New? The latest addition to the Darwin & Wallace collection, No.1 Duke Street opened in November 2015.
Where? 1A Duke Street, Richmond, TW9 1HP, www.no1dukestreet.com
On the Menu: The menu is split into small and sharing plates, ideal for nibbling on if you just want a bite whilst drinking, choose from the likes of mini honey sausages and crispy peppered squid. There are then heartier mains including a wonky veg aubergine curry which uses misshapen vegetables, slow cooked pork belly and lemon and garlic marinated chicken. Puddings are classics think crumble, custards and sorbets.
First Impressions: A busy restaurant is always a good sign and No.1 Duke Street was certainly busy, it was the first cold, crisp night and still drinkers were spilling out onto the heated terrace. Clearly the residents of Richmond have realised they are on to a good thing with No.1 Duke Street.
The Look: No.1 Duke Street manages to take a big space (the restaurant is made up of two big rooms, a terrace and further rooms upstairs) and make it both light and airy but also warm and inviting. A decked terrace is strewn with fairy lights and filled with white wrought iron chairs and wooden tables and is separated from the inside by a glass wall (if you’re sitting on the inside next to this panel, bring a jumper there is a definite chill). The restaurant definitely has a lot going on but it all comes together in a distinct look. Walls are kept a simple white – the perfect backdrop for striking green foliage, distressed mirrors, industrial pillars, black and white tiled floors and marl grey, navy and teal shades of crushed velvet found on the chairs. There are large communal tables, booths, banquettes, high bar stools, low chairs and sofas to sink into, whatever you fancy, there is a space at No.1 Duke Street.
What We Ate: The cob loaf which we were told we must try was unfortunately dry, perhaps an off day, but I would skip this and head straight to the starters. We chose a couple of small plates to share and start, aubergine and sweet potato croquettes, which was said to come with a tomato, basil and feta salsa – although a sprinkle might have been a better description. Dill and lemon fish cakes proved a good choice with a golden interior and plenty of filling. A ham hock pie was the perfect choice for a cold evening, thick pastry and a rich meaty filling. The iceberg lettuce that came with it was, well, rather odd: a quarter of a lettuce drenched in sour cream, chives and chilli, something simple like peas would have been a better addition. Sea bass came with plenty of fries, a sweet, chunky pea hummus and watercress and whilst the sea bass was crisp and well-cooked it was tiny. The amount of crème fraiche tartare that it came with could have easily covered three portions.
Pudding made up for any peculiarities in the mains, a generous heap of Eton Mess made with sweet caramel meringue with just the right amount of chew and plenty of strawberries. Whilst a bitter chocolate tart with ganache, mousse and Rice Crispies was a real highlight.
What We Drank: We tried one of their elderflower and cucumber lemonades made with homemade sherbet which make a good alternative if you aren’t drinking, but if you are then we can recommend a glass of the Sancerre Cuvee Flores Vincent Pinard, a Sauvignon Blanc.
Go With: Your friends or date for a midweek supper; I’d also like to go back in on a Sunday afternoon for a late lunch after a long walk in Richmond Park.
Final Word: This is a proper neighbourhood restaurant in Richmond, plan a weekend afternoon around it, fresh air and good food on a Sunday afternoon – ideal.