A restaurant which serves almost nothing other than variations of French duck preparations has announced that it will open its first permanent site in Clerkenwell next month. Monsieur Le Duck, which has been operating a pop-up restaurant in Spitalfields this year, will close that location on 3 May before reopening six days later on Clerkenwell Road.
It will replace Sarona Eatery — the Middle-Eastern cafe-restaurant, which was announced exactly one year ago today. That restaurant, which sought to “seamlessly blend traditional Middle Eastern cuisine with the modern”, had replaced the flagship cafe of London speciality coffee roaster Workshop, which closed in unusual circumstances in July 2017.
Monsieur Le Duck is the work of “three frequent travellers to Gascony,” in the south west of France, which wants to provide “a portal to the French heartland of relaxed eating and drinking.” The restaurant will serve duck confit, pan-fried duck breasts, and duck burgers. Alongside leaf salads with vinaigrette, puy lentils, frites, and baguette with duck fat butter.
The phrase “douceur de vivre” informs everything the restaurant hopes to achieve — “a phrase synonymous with South-West France.” It literally means “sweetness of living” and, the owners say, refers to “a mellow, leisurely, rustic life-style, of long lunches in friendly restaurants on medieval town squares, where tractors park up and where musketeers once roamed. Bonhomie, carafes of local wine, Armagnac, and duck, lots of duck. We love it,” they say.
Monsieur Le Duck’s mission statement is to be admired and is worth including here, in full:
For some time, we have thought about bringing a small piece of Gascony back home, so more people can enjoy this douceur de vivre. So we are proud to open the doors of Monsieur Le Duck, right in the heart of London. We are no frills and authentic and reasonably-priced. No balsamic reductions, no pea shoots, no nasturtiums, no smears of emulsion across the plate, just duck and frites, with salad, French bread, puddings, sides of fresh vegetables, Gascon wine and, if you so wish, a slug of France’s oldest brandy, Armagnac.