It’s often said that the three most important things in real estate are location, location, location. While this certainly isn’t true for the restaurant business – it doesn’t hurt. Situated on the 40th floor of Heron Tower in the heart of London, Duck and Waffle has some of the best views going. It’s been the talk of the town for the last few months and I took advantage of a quiet Thursday afternoon to check it out.
The restaurant itself is lovely, a spacious bar out front provides a pleasent waiting room while the main seating area is rightly positioned around the full length windows, with an open kitchen along one wall. The staff were friendly and attentive without being intrusive, and were happy to provide recommendations The menu is intentionally quirky – a real mix of ingredients and influence with a broadly modern British feel.
I have to admit to being split on the starters – I went for the fried pigs ears and the ox cheek doughnut. I’m only human! The ears were thinly sliced and dusted with a spicy bbq blend. They were lovely and crunchy, but perhaps could have done with some little dips and a bit more attention to detail around hair removal – i’m fine with the odd bristle, but they were pushing it!
The ox cheek doughnut is a really interesting idea. A ball of slow cooked meat is encased in a spongey batter, dusted with smoked paprika and sugar then served with an apricot jam. It’s an interesting combination of flavours but it does work – it’s a real novelty dish.
For the main course I felt compelled to try the eponymous duck and waffle. It’s a duck leg served on top of a soft american style waffle with a fried egg and some mustard infused maple syrup. The meat/sweet combination is well established – just see the American fondness for bacon and pancakes for details – but i’ve never seen it done like this. The duck goes really well with the richness of the egg. Technically it was beautifully cooked, and it certainly makes good eating, but i’m not entirely sure i’d order it again single handed – it’s a much better sharing dish!
For dessert I trusted my waitress’ judgement and went with the Torrejas – a Spanish version of French toast. It came served in a very hot cast iron dish with a lovely caramel sauce, cooked apples and a scoop of ice-cream. The bread had a lovely crunchy crust with soft, delicate innards. Perfect given the swirling snowstorm outside.
I really enjoyed my visit – the food is cooked to an excellent standard and I like the fact that they are bold with their flavour combinations – it’s a big risk for a restaurant, but they make it work.