The stained glass windows that front The Duck and Rice in Soho are a head-turning introduction to a very polished venue, yet the attractive leaded glazing is by no means the star of the show here. That honour goes instead to the four enormous shining copper tanks just inside the Berwick Street entrance. These monster vessels hold unpasteurised Pilsner Urquell, brought over each week from the Czech Republic and available on tap to the drinkers in the ground floor boozer.
The Duck and Rice is restaurateur Alan Yau’s homage to a traditional British pub, although his vision as delivered by design studio Autoban is certainly not your typical ale house by any stretch of the imagination. For one thing, over half the venue — the larger upstairs — is given over to The Duck and Rice’s Chinese restaurant serving modern interpretations of Cantonese dishes plus some favourite Western inventions such as chicken chow mein. The Asian flavour extends to the décor of which the highlight is some very decorative blue and white ceramic tilling on both floors. The upstairs and downstairs are connected by a spiral staircase — probably best negotiated before too many of those lagers have gone down the hatch.