I wonder what was going through Alan Yau’s mind when he decided to combine a Chinese restaurant with a pub. Not exactly a marriage made in heaven; the only connections I can think of are that beer is often served in one, and deep fried nibbles such as spring rolls and wontons can sometimes be found in the other. Sensible people wouldn’t put money on that kind of thing succeeding in London’s cut throat restaurant scene, but Mr Yau’s Duck and Rice doesn’t need the sensible people. A few years old now, it seems to be doing just fine.
Personally, I think the interpretation of ‘pub’ has been creative. It has many features synonymous with a pub: plenty of beers on tap, snacks to soak up those drinks, nooks and crannies to lean on… but this is much slicker, and sexier even, than any local boozer I’ve been to. But do I care? Not one bit, the atmosphere is swish and the smells wafting around are good… just get me some food to go with my beer, pronto.
When you ask adults if they celebrate birthdays, they usually fall into one of three categories. There are those who loathe them; they ignore the existence of such a thing because that would remind them that yes, they are indeed getting older. For some people, myself included, it’s pretty much just another day… of course it’s nice to do something to mark the occasion, a couple of presents wouldn’t be so bad either but if nothing happens then oh well, it’s not the end of the world. Then we have the ones who truly love birthdays; they mark every year with a hiss and a roar because it’s the day you came into the world for goodness sake, if that’s not worth a toast or three, what else is?
Frankly, I’d love to go all out on my big day but the universe conspired against me and gave me what most people would describe as a rather unfortunate birthday. It happens to be around the time when a lot of people around the world celebrate the birth of a certain well known religious figure, so it can be a little hard to compete. I do however, have friends who plan excellent birthday celebrations for each other- great presents, fancy dinners, weekend getaways… so when we got the call to be part of a surprise birthday dinner, how could I say no? It also helped that dinner was booked at Duck & Waffle; a restaurant that almost every Londoner has either eaten at or wants to eat at.