If you hear someone telling you that the best roast duck can be found in London instead of Hong Kong, remember that they are not kidding. I was skeptical at first, despite the non-stop raves of a roast duck loving sister who has the fortune of traveling frequently. I bite my words with hopefully a fresh piece of roast duck. I was sold on my first mouthful.
Located a stone’s throw from Bayswater station, the restaurant occupies an unassuming space that was easy to find with their bright red signboard. It’s small for a place with that much fame though, probably fitting only 12 tables at most. They appear to appeal to all sorts of nationalities, seen Chinese, Thais, Koreans, Brits, Europeans alike. The stream of customers was constant, even at the odd hours during my visits at 3pm and 9pm.
Got half a Roast Duck to share (£18 for Whole Duck) among 3 of us. It came looking all fatty and glistening with their signature sauce. Tentatively, I took a piece and examined it. Fragrance? check. Crispy skin? Half check. Ok, and popped it in.
Then, the magic happened.
The meat was tender and moist, without any unpleasant gamey taste. It was made extra juicy from the thick layer of fat under the browned skin. Even if you are the kind that peels away fat like me, please at least eat 1 piece with them as unlike grossing me out like the usual ones, this one had me craving for more. It burst into flavors with each bite, nicely enveloping your tastebuds. The fat can be easily removed from the skin should you wish, unlike other roast meats that stick stubbornly to the skin.
And together with the sauce, which unexpectedly carried a sweet note and had a thin runny quality, as opposed to the usual savoury thick dark sauce. It complemented the meat well in my opinion, and also did help to set them apart. I associate sweetness with Char Siew, not Roast Duck so this is rather different! They are pretty stingy with the sauce when you order take out but it’s fine if you are dining in.
Ordered a quarter Crispy Duck that comes with do-it-yourself Pancake Wraps to try. Hardly see deep fried duck anywhere too anyway! The waiter shredded everything right after placing them on the table so if you want to eat it your way remember to stop them. The meat was drier compared to the roast duck but together with the crisp skin, juicy cucumbers and hoisin sauce on the pancake it was ok. An interestingly close dish to Peking Duck, which we also had on our second visit but I didn’t take a photo as everyone was too hungry from a late flight.
After trying 3 executions of duck meat here, I’ll say the roast duck still triumphs the lot!
Kai Lan with Scallops, they were pretty generous with the scallops. Love how veggies at HK restaurants always remain so crisply green after cooking! I heard it’s because they use alkaline water or something? Not sure!
Mints with the bill. I am not sure of the breakdown but £40.70 got us half a roast duck, quarter crispy duck, scallops with kai lan, a bowl of rice and tea. I thought it wasn’t cheap but if a whole roast duck in Singapore cost SGD30+ then £18 here for a whole duck is definitely more worth it!
Newspaper clipping at the door, which I agree with!
By popular demand from the family, we took 2 roast ducks back to Singapore but personally I feel the taste isn’t the same anymore. Eat there if you can! It’s really worth visiting them if you happen to be in London but in case you are in Bangkok, they have also recently opened a branch at Siam Paragon! Only a limited number of roast ducks are air flown over to the Bangkok outlet daily so might have to try your luck on this one!
Four Seasons Restaurant
84 Queensway, Bayswater
London W2 3RL
020 7229 4320