There have been some mixed responses to the new Lucky Duck opening in the Jewellery Quarter. The announcement that it was opening generated massive amounts of hype, followed by vociferous complaints that it wasn’t as perfect as the expectations that people had loaded onto it.
And yes, there are definitely areas that need work. But my duck noodle bowl felt nourishing and hearty, with a perfectly soft boiled egg joining pak choi and pink breast atop a well seasoned broth filled with tangles of noodles, spring onions and chunks of dark leg meat. It warmed my belly and my soul. Consistency might be an issue for Lucky Duck at present, as I’ve heard from others their bowl had seasoning issues, or the breast wasn’t quite right, but it is their first week after all; I think it’s fair to cut new restaurants a little slack in their opening weeks while they tweak things.
There was more accurate cooking in the fillings of the bao; pork came meltingly soft, while the aubergine regained the perfect amount of firmness and the battered cod has a heavenly crunch. The flavour combinations are simple though, and I’d like a bit more funk. I found myself wishing for the texture of sesame seeds or crushed peanut, the fire of chilli, or the aromatics and colour of fresh herbs. The buns needed more fluff and lightness, and veered too much towards stodginess.
All of this is easily fixable though, and what a wonderful spot this will be to eat if they can do so. The bijou space has been beautifully designed, light and minimalistic with pale wood and plenty of swoon-worthy blue and white tableware that had me vowing to conquer Asian cookery to justify purchasing my own. Little details like the origami flowers pick up the same colour scheme and show the love that has been put into the restaurant. Lucky Duck also has an admirable ethos when it comes to sustainability – such as rewards for bringing your own takeaway containers – but if I wasn’t the type to read about restaurants on the internet I wouldn’t have known this; it might be a good idea to include a small note or mention with the menu so that people are more aware.
Feedback seemed to be welcomed on our visit, so I’m betting that this place will come on in leaps and bounds. With a little bit of time and work, Lucky Duck could fly.
Lucky Duck is located in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter at 21 Caroline Street, B3 1UE. Website.