It’s unusual in London to be able to eat really first rate food without fanfare and a large bill, but that’s exactly what Ducksoup provides. Set up by former HIX chef Julian Biggs, and Clare Lattin, who has worked in food PR and cookbook publishing for years, you can nip in there on your own or with friends, after work or on your way to the theatre, sit at the bar, have a delicious glass of wine and a plate of ham or some lardo on toast, and then head out into the night. If you linger longer, as we did, you’ll have time to eat more, and though the decor is minimal and space at a premium (and the menu comes scrawled on a sheet of paper torn from a notebook), the food is delectably good. We had papardelle with cavalo nero, hazlenuts and ricotta that was so delicious we ordered a second portion. It cost £7. In fact, we couldn’t stop ordering: we ate ceps, artichokes romano, purple sprouting broccoli with anchovies and sourdough crumbs, a salad of raw sprouts, pancetta salamata, parmesan and walnuts, grilled scallops with guanciale (a sort of bacon), and various other delicacies. We fell about with pleasure at every mouthful. We were taken there by a fantastic chef friend, and as we left we saw two more chefs sitting at the bar. Is there any better recommendation?

Ducksoup restaurant
41 Dean Street, Soho, W1D 4PY
Bar snacks are £3.50; small plates from the kitchen are £7; larger plates of food around £14
020 7287 4599
— Daisy
5th January 2012