Friday, 4 January 2013

Duck & Waffle

I recently visited the much talked about Duck & Waffle, situated on the 40th floor of the Heron Tower in the heart of The City with three friends, Hannah, Leila and Mindy.

Having heard much about the place since it opened in the summer, I was itching to try out a few of the dishes for myself and get a load of the much-applauded view.

The first exciting thing to happen was the journey up to the restaurant in the high-speed elevator that has some seriously spectacular views over the financial district and beyond – it really did put me in mind of Charlie & The Great Glass Elevator and immediately the big kid in me was awoken.

You are welcomed into the bar area as you come out of the elevator, and even though it was only 6:30pm (the only time we could get a table!) and early in the week too, the bar was quite busy and had a great vibe. As I generally come home from anywhere in London via Liverpool Street station, I can see this being a regular watering hole on the way home!

We were shown to our table in the smart interior of the restaurant, and we immediately selected some mocktails (a combination of antibiotics, drivers and December hangovers prevented us from drinking). I had a Virgin Mary, which wasn’t on the menu but which was happily provided for me and was delicious with a fiery kick – perfect for the cold evening it was. 

Garlic & Rosemary Bread

The ‘All Day’ menu is separated into different sections, all aimed at being sharing dishes, and with lots of cheeky sounding, fun things on the menu. From the snacks menu I simply insisted on ordering the BBQ Spiced Pig Ears. From here we also chose the Rosemary & Garlic Bread and the retro sounding battered sausages. As suspected the pig ears were ridiculously good, tasting like pork scratchings, but less meaty – they were SO moreish and I literally couldn’t stop eating them until there was none left in the brown paper bag that they arrived in, complete with rubber, branded seal.

BBQ Spiced Pig Ears

The Rosemary & Garlic bread was tasty, the garlic was roasted beautifully sweet and the bread was topped with crunchy sea salt so made for a great flavour combination. The battered sausages were exactly that, although good quality, frankly I liked them as a schoolgirl for the naughtiness they represent, and they are still as good today, as a 28 year old.

From the ‘Cold Cuts’ section of the menu we simply selected the Rabbit Rillette that came on crunchy sourdough bread. This was lovely, meaty, juicy and exactly as a pâté should be – with the gentle flavours of a mild oniony chutney enhancing the delicate and sweet rabbit meat. A great dish.

Crab on Toast

We selected three more dishes, all from the ‘Small Plates’ section. I was quite keen to try the Spicy Ox Cheek Doughnut which comes with an apricot jam, but my friend Leila who’d visited before has said how she was under-whelmed by it previously so we omitted this one – but after reading another recent review, I will definitely be giving this a try next time (there will be a next time).

Instead we opted for the Hake and Haricot Beans, my old favourite – Crab on Toast, and Clams with Nduja. 

Rabbit Rillette

Regular readers will no-doubt notice a pattern between my being unable to resist crab on toast wherever it is on offer, and I’m unashamed of this fact – it is simple, delicious and a beautiful, beautiful thing when it’s done well, as it was, once again at Duck & Waffle.

The Hake and Haricot Bean casserole was for me, the one dud dish of the day. The Hake was ever so slightly over-done, but was flavoured well in a saffron-hinged sauce but the beans were so underdone to the point of being crunchy and just simply weren’t enjoyable – such a shame.

Hake & Haricot Beans
Our final dish, the Clams with Nduja was a triumph, served with a crunchy flat bread and a plentiful dish, the clams were seasoned well in a herby, Nduja flavoured broth – it really was a delight and mopping up the juices with the bread was a joy.

Clam with Nduja
All in all I would say the views at the Duck & Waffle are worth the visit up the great glass elevator alone for a drink, but the food is pretty bloody good too. Our waiter was attentive, friendly and knowledgeable helping us decide with drinks and food dishes too and the value for money was also good. We paid £104 (including service) for all of the above dishes, one gin, a round of mocktails plus water for the table and some olives which given the quality and the fun-factor I thought was really reasonable. Next time I go I want to try the Ox Cheek Doughnut for sure and something from the ‘Large Plates’ section of the menu – but the smaller plates option means you could pop in for lunch or a quick bite too, which is great.

Duck & Waffle really has a fun, almost child-like vibe and I can see this being a popular venue for city workers for a long time, the impressive views across London make it a great place to entertain clients, friends or even a date.

For once, one of these seriously talked about venues, truly has lived up to the hype.

Duck & Waffle on Urbanspoon

Square Meal

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