What's the draw
After the success of its original Spitalfields pop-up, Monsieur Le Duck has upped sticks and moved to a new site in Clerkenwell for another, and you can probably guess what the concept is (hint: the clue's in the name). Don't be fooled by the incognito interiors – painted brick walls and metal bistro furniture – the restaurant's logo, a moustachioed duck clad in breton and a beret, carrying a baguette under its arm tells you all you need to know: yes, this is a restaurant inspired by the region of Gascony in south west France, and it evokes Tricolore textbooks, hot summer nights and your dad's god-awful Franglais. Yes, it's a little bit kitsch, but the kitsch is cool: the bread – accompanied with duck fat butter – comes in gingham-napkin-lined wicker baskets, the rillettes (also duck) come accompanied with wonderfully piquant cornichons and there are orange plants dotted around the bright, airy dining room.
What to drink
For those following the French theme, kick off with the Pousse Rapière, a Gascon cocktail made with a sumptuous blend of orange and armagnac liqueur and the region's vin sauvage sparkling wine: its big hit of orange booziness disappears from the palate with a pleasing dry fizz. Otherwise, go for a Chateau Rouge – not a wine, but a saison aged for four months in red wine barrels, which has the effect of softening the beers effervescent fizz and giving it a rich, vinous acidity. Then, of course, there are wines from the great Sud Ouest served affordably by the glass and carafe. Plump for the Saint-Mont red with your main.
What to eat
As you might have expected, you'll be having the duck. Whether that's via the aforementioned fat butter and rillettes, in a deliciously oozy croquette or as a classic confit leg is down to you. Perhaps the best way around the menu, though, is to go for Le Grand Jeu – an overflowing sharer board of chargrilled breast, confit leg, pan-fried breast and inch-thick brioche-bun-clad burger. While the sumptuously rich confit falls neatly from the bone under crisp, crackled skin, the highlight is the chargrilled breast: smoky, salty and just the right side of carbonised, it sits under a crisp cap of fat, the meat gamey and warm with a deep, red-purple hue. The burger meanwhile – served oozing and pink with a smear of prune mayo and crisp little gem – provides you with a level of bite and texture you can't achieve with beef, the minced leg meat juicy yet lean, and incredibly messy to get down. Serve it with a side of frites and some french beans to cut the fat. Then, if you've got room for dessert after that little lot, just get yourself a tarte aux pommes to share before asking for l'addition: you'll fancy some fruit after all that indulgence.
Mains from £12; drinks from £4 by the glass. 27 Clerkenwell Road, EC1M 5RN; leduck.co.uk