THERE is a branch in Beijing and another in the northern English city of Manchester. Both serve delicious Peking duck - and there the similarity ends. The Beijing version of the Quan Ju De caters to thousands of diners each week in a rumbustious blue-collar atmosphere; the food, rather than the service, is of paramount importance. In Manchester, some 13,000 kilometres away as the duck flies, a newer and more elegant version of the Quan Ju De dispenses duck to yuppie gourmets. Fine French wines accompany the meals, with gentle piano music tinkling in the background. The international up-market transplant was masterminded by Hong Kong-raised restaurateur David Lau Hoo-man. He liked the idea of opening a flashy Peking restaurant in England, but realised gaining permission to use the Quan Ju De name would be no easy feat. ''It took two years to finalise the arrangements,'' said Lau, 45. ''I gained permission to use their trading name, expertise and personnel. The roast duck restaurant is a must in Beijing; it's on the tourist itinerary along with the Great Wall. It is so famous that people go to pay homage to it.'' The original Quan Ju De is a basic, spit-and-sawdust-type diner with little finesse and the kind of haphazard surly service that state-run enterprises have made their speciality. Over in Manchester at 44 Princess Street, the only mainland Chinese likely to be able to afford the prices of the Quan Ju De are state-paid diplomats working at the local consulate. The cost for a meal is around HK$300 a head - a month's wage for the average Chinese peasant. For that outlay, diners get lots of ambience and five-star service. Soft classical piano is played by a concert-level student from the local college of music. ''We attract mostly business people, yuppie types,'' said Lau. ''I decided to come to Manchester because another Chinese restaurant in London would be lost in the market. It is easier to get a higher profile here. ''We serve about 600 meals a week, although not as many duck as I had hoped. English people still enjoy a variety of meats or dishes. There is no other restaurant in the area which specialises like we do. ''We opened in the recession, just after the boom was busting, and so the results have not been as good as I forecast. But customers come here from far away to eat. We are a mecca for mainland Chinese trade delegations who are visiting the northwest of England; local firms bring them here for authentic cooking. They usually find it is a sensational experience.'' Lau's first headache was finding the right supplier for his duck - no simple task in a nation which is notoriously unfussy about the quality and freshness of its food. The restaurateur now has a butcher who fillets the duck to his precise instructions. But conservative British diners have shown a marked reluctance to try the more exotic Chinese fare on offer at the Quan Ju De. Peking duck main courses tend to be supplemented by conservative, well-tested favourites such as sweet-and-sour pork. ''We have tried to market duck's giblets and duck's tongue by putting them on the menu as specialities,'' said Lau. ''But so far we have not had any success.''