Beijing has a new contender for the city’s best roast duck. Duck de Chine’s (188RMB) embodies moist, flavourful meat with crispy skin that tastes rich but not the least bit fatty. Even 30 minutes after carving, the skin’s texture still seduces. Of the usual roast duck accompaniments, the remarkably light tianmian sauce, made of fermented flour, stands out most.
The predominately duck menu includes a duck confit (118RMB), lighter than the traditional French version but no less delicious, while a duck taco (55RMB) combines tiny cubes of stir-fried duck, water chestnut and red peppers served with shredded lettuce in a crisp pancake formed into a tea-cup-size bowl.
A must order cold dish is the pumpkin infused with sour plums (22RMB), a balancing tonic to the rich duck. Every bite of the large portions leaves one’s tastebuds feeling refreshed and yearning for more, a testimony to the chefs’ considerable skills.
Duck de Chine’s textured décor adds to its allure. Round tables bedecked with slate grey tablecloths are mirrored by round chandeliers covered in vermillion fabric while the wooden floor is accented by warm brick walls.
The entrance houses China’s first Bollinger champagne bar, a model of understatement, and Duck de Chine’s impressive wine list will appeal to those on an expense account. The only disappointment is the service, still rough at the edges.
Come here if you need to entertain, or if you simply want a beautiful dining room with character, design elements and an excellent dim sum menu. The selection tends to be pretty small – a half-price range includes duck spring rolls, while other dishes such as the plump shrimp dumplings remain full fare. Duck de Chine also serves dumplings made to order, like a number of other restaurants.
Dim sum available 11.30am-2.30pm daily at around 150RMB per person.