Duck & Waffle

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Duck & Waffle. Just in a name you have a dynamite combination and it's making me hungry. This restaurant prides itself on it's signature dish; does the name give it away? Expectations are pretty high my friend. What's also high is this restaurant, sitting pretty on the 40th floor of Heron tower on Bishopsgate - your ears pop on the way up, and your stomach does acrobatics at the rapid descent in the glass elevator. It makes for stunning views though, the vastness of the London metropolis reduced to moving specks below.

At the end of your night, bid (a reluctant) farewell to the dirty kebab and say hello to Duck + Waffle. Don't mind if I do...

To put it lightly, Duck & Waffle has been doing a booming trade since its opening in 2012. C and I were fortunate enough to get a 9pm dinner reservation (practically bedtime). As soon as you walk through the door, it's clear that no expense has been spared for the space. It's a pretty gorgeous restaurant, playing hand in hand with the commanding panorama out of those floor to ceiling windows. From each table you have full view into the open kitchen from where you can ogle duck and waffles aplenty. A rippling yellow panelled ceiling gives the impression that you're in motion, a nod to Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer. 

Interiors by New York architectural firm CetraRuddy. Swish and swish, not a bad looking place! Credit: Duck & Waffle

Executive chef Daniel Doherty and his team are in charge of a kitchen that operates 24/7, no joke. It is open at all hours of the night, making it ideal for a late night stop-off (won't be needing a reservation then!). The menu sees influences from European cooking but using local British ingredients. A huge selection of small plates like roasted octopus or braised pig cheeks are ideal to share. Or you can go all out and order the larger dishes like grilled lobster or whole roasted sea bass (umm, yum?!).

Half a dozen fine de claire oysters with shallot vinaigrette. These beauties were so delicious (and cost a mint). So fresh that I didn't even bother with the vinaigrette in the end - so indulgent

Steaming hot: Essex beets, goat's curd, hazelnuts, capers, sherry vinegar. Can I just say that this was an amazing salad. Yes, quite homestyle and comforting but it just made me smile. Beetroot and goat's cheese together is pretty much failsafe. Happiness in a mouthful (or several)

Duck & waffle: crispy leg confit, fried duck egg, mustard maple syrup i.e. what we'd all been waiting for. Perhaps not the most elegantly plated dish I've ever seen but it does the job. I must say that the confit duck was on the dryer side and the waffle a bit doughy *sad face*. The dressing on the other hand was lovely (the dish needed the moisture!). Maybe everyone had talked this dish up and up and up and my expectations were too high? Anyway, it fell short of the mark for me. Eaten together on a good night though and I think it would have been smashing

Duck & Waffle certainly has its fair share of wow factor. Set in such a magnificent spot, you could almost distract yourself from the shortfalls in the kitchen. But regardless of what I say you can be assured to have a fantastic time - day, night or in the wee hours of the morning (hit with the sudden realisation that you've never felt more hungry than you do now, or have an intense craving for duck + waffle). The intentions are there; wholesome British food cooked with minimal fuss to please the masses. It's certainly worth a try, if only to order that one dish ;)

The tallest restaurant and bar in the UK (even dwarfing the gherkin!) = bragging rights Credit: Duck & Waffle

Thanks for reading!
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