When I first arrived in the UK for my post-graduate studies, my uni mates would rave about how amazing the roast duck in London is – that they would eat it every weekend without fail. Back then, it was also one of the more affordable dining out option for students, at just £7 per plate of rice and duck.
I’m not sure what or why I’m so smitten with the roast ducks in London, to a point I would save up just to indulge in half a duck. On my own! Perhaps it’s the fatty Irish ducks they use, paired with the sweet soy sauce that complements the crisp skin and melt-in-the-mouth fat underneath.
Or perhaps it’s because the Chinese in my yearns for duck and rice each time I travel outside of Malaysia.
Four Seasons in Bayswater used to be my preferred choice when it comes to roast duck back in the days, but over the years when I visited London, I found the duck less and less tasty – with the sauce being overly salty and one-dimensional. We then moved on to Gold Mine next door, which was good for a while but in 2016, failed to impress.
Earlier this year when I revisited London, I decided to give New Fortune Cookie a try because I’ve heard good things about the roast duck there. Located just outside Queensway Station, New Fortune Cookie is less chaotic (on a weekday lunch) and prices are slightly cheaper (if I remember correctly) compared to Four Seasons and Gold Mine. I remember paying £24 or so for a whole duck.
And yes, I always order a whole duck even when it’s just Jien and I eating. Because I feel half a duck is barely enough and ordering 3/4 a duck seems odd. But unlike our younger days, we can no longer put away a whole duck. At New Fortune Cookie, Jien and I only managed 1/3 a duck because portion was huge and we also ordered vegetables and a tofu dish for May Anne.
The duck at New Fortune Cookie was good stuff – juicy, tender and fatty with crisp mahogany skin and sweet-savoury sauce. It was what I want in a plate of roast duck and the fact that Irish ducks are used makes it better. I’m not saying it’s better than the roast ducks in Hong Kong, but the ducks used in UK are certainly fattier and tastier.
I reckon New Fortune Cookie’s roast duck is the best I’ve had along the Bayswater stretch, overtaking Gold Mine and Four Seasons easily. If you’re visiting London and want something Chinese for lunch or dinner, give this a shot. Hopefully, their chef is still around because I was told the original Four Seasons chef is now at New Fortune Cookie.
Verdict: The roast duck is tastier than the ones from Gold Mine and Four Seasons.
New Fortune Cookie
1 Queensway, Bayswater,
London W2 4QJ, United Kingdom.
Tel: +44 20 7727 7260