Charlotte Liu discovers what Duck & Waffle is all about
Must-try: Duck & Waffle
Good for: Special occasion
The hype surrounding Duck & Waffle is incredible. It stomped onto London’s dining scene in 2012 and four years on, still takes 24/7 reservations two months in advance, gets booked out as quickly, and sets time limits on table seatings. I went to see if the food and vibe is worth all the fuss.
Step in through a rather nondescript entrance on Bishopsgate, and prepare to be whizzed up 40 floors in a private glass lift, rather Charlie & the Chocolate Factory-esque. Even before your Duck & Waffle experience begins, you’ll be treated to stunning views of London.
It’s a rather strange walk from the lift to the restaurant, along a corridor that leads off to the ladies and gents and a storeroom. But past that, you’ll arrive at the bar and come eye to eye with the very top of the Gherkin.
The restaurant interior is designed for the ultimate vantage point, from which to gaze across London and its landmarks. The floor-to-ceiling windows and open kitchen give it a contemporary feel, while curved booth seats and wooden elements in the décor inject a sense of warmth.
40 floors above ground, in the middle of the city yet so detached from the hustle and bustle below, it is the ideal setting to celebrate a special occasion.
Executive Chef Daniel Doherty has created an inspired menu. Of course, the Duck and Waffle (£17) was top on my list to try. It is a leg of duck confit with perfectly crisp skin, sitting atop two fluffy waffles, crowned with a fried duck egg and served with a mustard maple syrup. Somehow, it manages to feel a little bit like breakfast, hangover cure and dessert all at once. It certainly deserves to be the title dish.
The BBQ-Spiced Crispy Pig Ears (£5) are a crunchy treat, with a good balance of smokiness and sweetness. They’re classified as a snack on the menu and get delivered to the table in a playful brown paper bag – reminiscent of takeaway chips but much better. Ratte Potatoes (£6) come in a generous portion, swimming in butter with strong umami notes from Marmite and herby freshness of thyme.
The Roasted Corn & Buttermilk Mousse (£9) is an intriguing creation full of exciting tastes and textures. The mousse is light and airy, while the crispy milk shards melt as soon as they touch the tongue. They go well with the crunch of the pistachios and popcorn, but everything is tied together with the drizzle of toffee sauce and a scoop of chocolate ice cream.
Finish off with their recommended wine pairings or hang around the bar to soak in more of the breathtaking panorama, and there you’ll have a perfect meal.
Considering the magnificent views they have to offer, Duck & Waffle is not as much of a splurge as it may first seem. The menu has been cleverly crafted and the restaurant is a cheeky hideaway from London life. Make it a luxury day out for any special occasion – but remember to book!
40th Floor Heron Tower
London EC2N 4AY
Featured image credit: Chris A Sharpe