Ever had a boozy afternoon at church? Me neither. Until recently, the closest I’d ever been to wining and dining in such hallowed halls was a nibble of wafer and a sip of wine at communion on Sundays when I was a kid. But this heathen has grown up and the only worship on my mind is for what’s on my plate. Step in Duddell’s; the slinky spot straight from Hong Kong.
Inadvertently visiting on The Lord's Day meant that the usual weeknight crowds had fizzled out and we could truly appreciate this unique spot. Taking over London Bridge’s historic St Thomas’ Church, the Cantonese brand has transformed the space into a gorgeous setting. A long teal bar kitted out with gold accents and top-shelf spirits gave way to lofty ceilings, ornate lighting, vivid leather banquettes and a towering altar.
Plunging straight into our spiritual experience, we sunk our teeth into porcini prawn dumplings (£9), truffle spring rolls (£7) and a phenomenal pumpkin duck puff (£7) washed down with a couple of sips from the new cocktail list. Evoking negroni-like vibes, the aromatic Success (£12) blended rum with cynar, chilli-infused liqueur, Chinese red tea and bitters. Love (£12) was a lighter affair; with vodka, Aperol, peach, lemon, vermouth and egg whites underpinned by earthy goji berry liquor.
A tribute to the original outpost, the Duddell’s Defining Cocktails section highlights their OG creations straight from Asia. From this, the Special Administrative Sazerac (£14) got the seal of approval from my dim sum date. Thick and boozy; bamboo-aged Woodford Reserve, Martell VSOP Cognac and absinthe led the charge among cherry notes and hibiscus cues.
Pairing the nutty, frothy and fig-infused Paparazzi (£14) with flawlessly fluffy and plump Iberico char sui buns (£7), the kitchen and bar were working in perfect harmony. Even the controversial beef and foie gras toast ball formation (£9) was a hit. Because when you’re drinking cocktails in a church, is duck liver really gonna hurt? Only God can judge me now.
The DesignMyNight Digest
Fusing modern interpretations of iconic Cantonese dishes with innovative cocktails that utilise quality ingredients, Duddell’s offers the best of both worlds. Topping things off with beautiful interiors that literally make jaws drop, this really is the perfect date night pick any day of the week... whether you're a saint or sinner.