Fat duck, good duck
In the battle of the ducks between London Fat Duck and Four Seasons Chinese Restaurant, I'm on the side of the former.
London Fat Duck opened last month and the queues formed the moment it served its first plate of roast duck.
The two owners of London Fat Duck - Mervin Goh of the chi chi Akashi restaurants and Tan Kim Siong (one of the bosses of budget chain Fei Siong) - are a curious blend of high-end and mass.
The result is a place serving pricey looking food at friendly prices - about $30 per person for a stomach-bursting meal.
The downside is that service here is either excellent or appalling.
The servers were friendly, knowledgeable and quick. But the bad moments stick to the mind.
When I was there unhosted, I had to remind the kitchen three times about an order. And I finally left without it being served.
Still, I will return. It's one of the cheaper places in the area and there are dishes that I liked. Ignore the service and you'll have a delicious time.
Duck for duck, London Fat Duck trumps Four Seasons. The duck at the other side was good enough but this one won by a skin. The roast duck (from $12.80) is the way I like it - with a crispy skin, juicy flavourful meat and a layer of fat. There's nothing fancy going on, just good old full-on flavours.
The Crispy London Duck Snow Bun ($4.80) is overshadowed by its peppery cousin, but I think this is superior. The skin has a nice bite and an almost milky taste, with a savoury filling.
The Signature Black Pepper London Duck bun ($4.80) is a popular item but I found the pepper overwhelming. I was told it must be consumed within 15 minutes. I left one on purpose and ate it after my meal. And yes, the server wasn't lying. The bun was soft and doughy when cold.
I love the char siew ($13.80) here. The subtle sweetness plus that touch of roast make this a must-try. The owners say this is a Malaysian-style char siew. Whatever it origin, it's delicious
BIG AND BOLD
I was surprised I liked the Hong Kong-style London Duck Dumpling ($12.80). It doesn't look like much but it's packed with flavours, textures and a hefty chunk of duck egg yolk. The dumpling is huge but the bold flavours don't lose out to the glutinous rice.
WHAT: London Fat Duck
WHERE: B1-16/17 Scotts Square, 6 Scotts Road
WHEN: Weekdays 11am to 10pm, weekends 10am to 10pm.
CALL: 6443-7866 (no reservations)