Duck Duck Goose Brixton | London Eater

Wishing you 新年快乐 狗年吉祥 一帆风顺 for CNY 2018. Hope you guys are still enjoying yourselves.

This year, it is with great pleasure that I report on an exciting new find; one which, in my opinion, contends with the best Cantonese siu lap, that London has to offer. It isn’t a high end HK import with a monster financial backers, nor is it Alan Yau re-inventing Hakkasan under a new name. This instead is a tiny operation set up by an English chef with a classical background, with a fondness for roast meats and now cooks his passion inside a repurposed shipping container in Pop Brixton.

Oli Brown is the man, with a CV that includes cooking for the esteemed Rowley Leigh at Le Cafe Anglais, and latterly as Head Chef for The Continental in Hong Kong (consulted by Leigh at the time). He was out there for a couple of years, cooking classic food in his day job, but had made full use of his free time out there to sample HK’s mighty siu lap scene. Alan Poon runs FOH, with stints in Nobu London, and perhaps most significantly, he is indeed connected to Poons, his family restaurant, itself I read is getting a reboot by another member of the family, Amy Poon.

In a certain sense, Oli is ‘self-taught’ in Chinese cooking, specifically siu lap. A bold career move to challenge a cooking style that is so rooted with tradition, secret and competition. Put another way, he’s adapted his classical training in his approach to a (modern) dai pai tong. With many things made from scratch in-house, a few of his own twists on classic dishes and an emphasis on product quality. Meats are sourced from HG Walter, the outfit in Barons Court, and as for kit, there’s a dry fridge on-site, and a custom oven for the BBQ

They keep the menu sensibly short, a few key meats, roast duck, roast pork belly (no char siu on this visit), poached chicken, a few dishes from the wok, and of course the rather important steamed whole fish.

There’s 3 chefs in the kitchen, and Alan runs FOH with another pair of hands, the modest shipping container has been cleverly designed (by Oli’s sister Jamie Julien Brown) with soft primary colours of pink ply and vinyl tiles, it reminds me very much of an indie cafes which you might find throughout South East Asia.

Anyway, I had seen some IGs floating on the twebs showcasing the shiny skins Oli had achieved with his roast duck, so we decided to drop in a quick Friday night dinner.

Selection of roast duck and siu yuk, £18.5
Soy chicken, £15
Greens with dried chilli and sesame, £7.50

Highly impressive siulap, it is like being back in HK again.

So starting with the duck, they are hung in a dry fridge, in which they are aged for up to a week. This is part and parcel of how Oli achieves this snappy, crispy, glass-like skin (scroll down for more piccies), with delicious layer of melting fat supplying mouth-watering umami. It is superb work. I didn’t ask about provenance, but a quick glance at HG Walter’s poultry list reveals Devonshire raised ducks. Min 2kg birds, fits the bill (speculation rather than confirmation).

The pork belly has a crunchy crackling, with moist fat under it, ‘three-layer’ meat as it were, was satisfactory. As for the chicken, the soy poach was to a tee, cooked to precisely the temperature in which the underfillet just turns white, whilst staying completely silkened. If I were to nitpick, I’d say he would just need to do a salt rub to polish the chicken’s skin prior to the poach. This allows the soya sauce to take to the skin, but its more cosmetic comment, as the chicken tasted delicious.

Not pictured are their house pickles, pearl onions, chillies and other things, which we really enjoyed as well. Also crucially, his gravy for each of the roast meats taste as they should.

We also ordered their prawn toast ‘revisited’ as a starter, which I thought was incredible, with a generous prawn mince to bread ratio, bniton flakes and oodles of kewpie mayo. Couple of drinks and sorbet to finish came to £65.81 for 2. Considering the quality on show, this is fantastic value for money and certainly a gem of a restaurant.

In fact, I was so impressed that I could think of this duck to celebrate this Chinese New Year with. So I shot Alan an email to ask if they would be able to do us a whole one to take away, to which they agreed. Hooray. £43 for the whole duck.

CNY 2018 – Whole Roast Duck takeaway, £43

The shine on the skin – immaculate! Light, crispy skin a glowing mahogany sheen, with moist breast cooked perfectly to just a suggestion of pink. The work here is incredible.

I was initially worried that the duck may not travel well (they nestled it in a box), but everything was fine when I got it home. In fact, it was best straight out of the box with the gravy heated up and poured over the room-temperature duck. Later on, I blasted portions of the duck in a 200degC oven for 3 mins, enough for the fat to wobble and for residual moisture to evaporate and for the skin to attain its crispy shine yet again.

I’m Chinese so having good siulap around is somewhat important to my diet and in this regard, I suppose it is important to state my own personal benchmarks (which I’m sure some of you will disagree). For London, I like Goldmine, Four Seasons, HKK (now defunct, I suppose Daren at Duddell’s now takes the cake..) and Reindeer Cafe (in Wing Yip Cricklewood) and IMHO, Oli Brown’s roast duck is the best of the lot. I’ll go as far as to say it is the best roast duck in London today. If nothing else, it is my favourite in town right now.

I am excited about this restaurant, given Pop Brixton‘s fluid status, I also wonder how DDG will grow in the years to come. I love A.Wong, not just because Andrew’s innovation, but at its core, the flavours are what they ought to be, which is how I feel about Oli’s cooking. It tastes right. I can’t wait to return for Oli’s wok-fried dishes, I’ll be looking for the all-important wok-hei of course, and I also hope Oli riffs on other classic DPT dishes, dry fried beef hofun would be nice to savour (my favourite in London currently is none other than A.Wong’s).

So there you have it. If you love your BBQ meats, add this to your list.

I’ve included a bunch of photos Of the whole duck below. The quality is evident, I think. Stellar duck. Enjoy the pictures, and I hope you also like it too when you visit.


Duck Duck Goose Brixton <- No relation whatsoever with Duck Duck Goose Swiss Cottage
£20 to 30pp ave + drinks + service
Pop Brixton
49 Brixton Station Road SW9 8PQ

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