7:30 p.m. August 11, 2022
When I saw that The Chicken Shop in London Street had undergone a major overhaul, I immediately wanted to sample the new menu. My partner and I like to try dishes that we wouldn’t usually cook at home and the promise of authentic Chinese food was tempting.
We headed to the restaurant on a Monday night after work expecting it to be fairly quiet as most of the time we ate in the restaurant earlier in the week it was. But I was delighted for the owners to see that their considerable investment of around £30,000 already seemed to be paying off, as we were one of many tables to take advantage of the new space. The atmosphere was relaxed and friendly and we started with a few cans of a herbal tea drink made with water, sugar and Chinese liquorice (£3.50). It was an unusual flavor and a refreshing change from the more familiar canned drinks on offer, and when the food arrived, its smooth, almost palate-cleansing flavor really complemented the bold tastes of the dishes.
To start, I ordered a cucumber and garlic salad (£6.50), and my partner opted for the spicy grated potato salad (£6.50). For main courses I chose the Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken (£12) and Steamed Jasmine Rice (£4.50) and my partner opted for Mooli Braised Beef Brisket Casserole ( £12).
All the food arrived at the same time and we ended up in front of a banquet. I was surprised at how much food there was for the modest prices, as the beef brisket dish and jasmine rice would have easily served as a meal for two. It’s quite unusual in today’s economy landscape to find a place with such generous portions for just over £10 – and best of all, everything was absolutely delicious. The beef brisket was so rich, tender and flavorful, with a sticky black sauce that flavored the plain jasmine rice wonderfully when eaten together.
Both entrees were both fresh, crisp and full of punchy garlic flavors that cut through the sweetness of the beef. A particular delight was the raw potato salad dish which was light, fragrant and refreshing, we both enjoyed how different it was from the familiar Chinese takeaways; Duck Sifu owner Paul Liu prides himself on offering more authentic Chinese street food rather than the familiar spring rolls and other dishes that have become popularly associated with the country’s cuisine but do not necessarily reflect what what people eat in China.
My favorite was the salty, almost sweet popcorn chicken, which was every bit as delicious as the name suggests. While we struggled to finish it all, we had no problem putting away the fried bits and fans of the old Chicken Shop will no doubt enjoy a taste of an old specialty in this option.
There is such a wide range of options on the menu I think you would be hard pressed not to find something to enjoy, from delicious beef and duck dishes to more adventurous frog legs – I would highly recommend going for a evening in the renovated restaurant to taste the flavors of China.
Clean and convenient.
The restaurant is on one floor but the toilets were down a small flight of stairs.
The staff were all friendly and attentive.
I was really impressed with the value for money considering the quality and generous portion sizes. Our bill came to £48 which is far less than many restaurants where I have had much less enjoyable dining experiences and there is no way we could have left hungry we could have comfortably eaten a third dinner with us with what we ordered.
If you love Chinese food, you’re sure to enjoy a meal at Duck Sifu. I encourage everyone to take the time to see what the owner has done with the renovation and the delicious new menu options offered by more kitchen appliances.
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