I’m on a quest to find the best duck in London. If you’re Asian/ duck-lover/ foodie, you’ll know THE 2 places for duck in London are either Gold Mine or Four Seasons (restaurant not hotel!). But which is better?
A few weeks back, I tried out Gold Mine for the first time. I’ve heard about Gold Mine (Bayswater) for a LOOONG time but always been a loyal Four Seasons supporter. Four Seasons duck is legend, as evidenced by the hungry horde queuing inside the restaurant every night. In fact, I know people who love their duck so much, they actually freeze it to bring back to Singapore! (What can I say, we Singaporeans love our food…) So if Gold Mine does a better duck that that, I definitely wanted to try it!
Interior of the restaurant
As you can see from the picture, the interior is OK, nothing special. But then, I do think the nicer the Chinese restaurant (in UK), the lousier the food! (with the exception of Hakkasan!) Do note that if you are sensitive to noise, you may want to give this place a miss. The acoustics are awful and the noise level horrific- I couldn’t decide if the crying children or the sound of the plates was louder…
Gold Mine’s specials- I wonder why the duck is not on the list…
Anyway, who comes here for the ambience? We’re obviously here to E.A.T! My friend, Yvonne, & I both went for the duck- she chose duck rice, I chose duck noodles- and to be “healthy”, we added a side dish of Claypot Aubergine. The Claypot Aubergine, however, was disappointing. According to Yvonne, it tasted like home cooked food- and that was not meant to be a compliment! It was just a bit too much on the bland side- they could definitely have upped the salt, the chilli and the hei bi! (dried prawns)
Between the duck rice and duck noodles, both of us felt that mine was definitely the better choice. The duck rice was a little dry whilst the noodle absorbed all the delicious gravy… just thinking of it is making me crave a midnight snack now! However, if I had to choose between 4 Seasons & Gold Mine, I’d go with the 4 Seasons duck- it has a lot more juicy fat and sauce, which seeps into the fat, making the meat oh-so-sweet and delicious !I can, nonetheless, see how some people might prefer Gold Mine. Their duck is of a leaner cut, so if you’re on the more health conscious side, you may be put off by 4 Seasons and prefer this instead. In a pinch, I’d be happy with either, but you won’t see me freezing the Gold Mine duck! 🙂
Note: The meal cost £13+ per person 🙂
Over the weekend, my cousin was in town and we decided to go to Four Seasons- widely believed to be the best duck in London, if not Europe! I’ve had their duck many times, but always at their Bayswater branch. For this visit, we decided to try out the outlet at Gerrard Street (they have 2 in Chinatown).
Usually, all their outlets have long queues and Gerrard Street was no exception, but I was happy to see that the queue moved fast. Note that they only seat you when your entire party has arrived though. As my dear cousin was late :P, it was about 30 minutes before we got a seat (the table was ready but I had to wait for him) and we were starving by the time we sat down, so we ordered:
Salted egg prawns to share!
YUM- my favourite! These were done really well- the prawns were big and juicy, and the egg yolk savoury but not too salty. Makes my mouth water just thinking about it!
Duck noodles each
It’s more common to order duck rice but I prefer dry noodles 🙂 Unlike the Bayswater outlet, they didn’t ladle the duck sauce over the noodles so they were a little dry. (You can ask for more) I was rather disappointed by this dish actually- for some reason, it wasn’t as succulent as the duck at the Bayswater outlet. In fact, my cousin said it couldn’t even compare to the one in Singapore! (One of our friends has just brought the Gold Mine chain to Singapore- that’s how popular it is!- so do check it out if you are in town 🙂 )
Also, it took forever to come. Since they have all the roasted ducks hanging in the window, they really just need to chop it up and put it on noodles- can’t understand why it took 30 minutes to come! (The salted egg prawns came first)
Note: you can ask for the duck to be deboned
Last but not least, BBQ meat. Again, this didn’t quite meet my expectations. The skin wasn’t crisp and there was too much fat between the meat layers. I’ve been told that my standards are too high and that I need to share more positive reviews on my blog- at least you know my feedback is 100% genuine! :P- but this time even my cousin agreed. In fact, he mentioned the drop in the standards before I did 🙂
In the end, I still prefer Four Seasons duck as it’s more tender (i.e. fatty)- but skip the Gerrard St branch and head straight to Bayswater 🙂