Ooh La La, Monsieur: A Gascon Duck Restaurant Lands In Spitalfields

Monsieur le Duck ★★★★☆

By Lydia Manch Last edited 24 months ago
Ooh La La, Monsieur: A Gascon Duck Restaurant Lands In Spitalfields Monsieur le Duck 4

It's snowing outside on the evening that we visit Spitalfields' newest French restaurant, the spitting hail turning Monsieur Le Duck's bright, canteen-style space and Gascon-influenced menu into a beacon of warmth.

The burger looks like the main draw on the menu: duck patty, prune d'Agen mayo, cornichons. It's good, definitely — pink, soft meat, the crunch-meets-tenderness textures of the bun, pickles, lettuce and duck keeping it interesting — but the mayo comes on strong, swamping some of the duck's flavour and the cornichons' bite. If we were doing this over we'd share a duck burger, and load up on frites, bread, greens and lentils. All the sides, actually.

Maybe it's un petit sacrilège to say it, but the biggest flex here isn't coming from the duck — good though it is — but the peripheral dishes. It's in the duck fat butter perching on top of the bread basket, studded with salt crystals and intensely meaty. It's in the side dish of buttery greens, scattered with lardons. Even the house salad's been given a distinctly French treatment, greenery bowing under the weight of enough peppery oil to make a starter sized bowl of mixed leaves feel eventful.

Fat and salt everywhere, basically, and we're so pleased about it. Did we mention it's snowing outside? This is no time for puritanism. This is a time for everything you eat to be slicked with oil and butter, and washed down with gutsy red wine.  

Maintaining the eating-for-hibernation theme: the cheese board's a simple hat-trick of soft, triple-cream brie, mild goat's cheese and a nutty Comte. And the tarte aux pommes, with its creme fraiche cap, hangs perfectly between bitingly tart and deep, warm sweetness.

The prix fixe menu's surprisingly good value — £17 for starter, main and choice of sides — when you factor in the heavy thunk of flavour and richness delivered with every dish. And we'd be surprised if any of the January chill when we leave can penetrate the layer of cream, oil, cheese and duck fat we've cloaked ourselves in tonight. Because zut alors, does Monsieur Le Duck know how to feed you for winter.

Monsieur Le Duck, 4 Brushfield Street, E1 6AN.

Last Updated 29 January 2019