Friday, 18 January 2013

High and (mostly) Dry

Duck & Waffle (@DuckandWaffle)
Heron Tower, 110 Bishopsgate, EC2N 4AY

Duck N' Waffle
Zooming up in the much-discussed Roald Dahl-like glass elevator to the 40th floor of the Heron Tower is as much the exhilarating, if nerve-shattering, experience as has been discussed in other blogs. Once at the top, you are lead to the main dining room, a surprisingly intimate affair, with floor-to-ceiling windows surrounding three quarters of the space. The panoramic view here is largely unbroken and the table setting allows for pretty modest views even for the middle tables (unlike our experience with Galvin at Windows). We went for breakfast in this case, but they are impressively open all night. I'm guessing this for the benefit of the more industrious workers in the city, as well as late night revellers looking for something more adventurous than the standard dirty doner (must be quite a sight at 2 am!).

The Dining Room
Unfortunately, we never got to enjoy the views to their full extent, as the cloud cover was very low, covering the top floors of the Heron Tower. Apart from some very good views of the Gherkin behind me, I was having a serious case of deja vu after experiencing some similar levels of fog from my room in Delhi a day before.

View of the Gherkin

All of which would be a great shame if the food was not up to scratch. However, this is where Duck & Waffle deviates from its peers (Galvin at Windows, Paramount, etc.) as the food really comes first here. The combination of concept and location merges to create a dining experience that's more than just your standard anniversary/birthday novelty restaurant choice.

We ordered two duck based dishes, with a side order of toast and home-made jam. I ordered the Duck and Waffle, the eponymous show-piece dish. It comes across as a sophisticated Modern European take on what is a popular American Southern dish of Fried Chicken and Waffle (executed to high praise at Screen Door in Portland, Oregon, USA). The dish consisted of a generously sized confit leg of duck, with skin cooked to an almost Chinese-like crispiness, topped with a beautifully cooked fried egg (runny yolk, tender whites!) on top of a sweet, soft waffle. Using a soft waffle instead of a more typically flaky one really works here, contrasting against the crispy duck skin. This was served with maple syrup with floating mustard seeds. Even though I was warned that it would be quite sweet, I didn't find this to be the case and found myself slathering it all over the dish.

The other dish we ordered was the duck egg en cocotte. The duck egg was fried and served in the same cast iron dish, served with toasted soldiers, an abundant amount of fried mushrooms and flavoured with aromatic truffle oil. Truffles always combine wonderfully with egg, and thankfully the dish was seasoned well enough to allow the balance between the two flavours to be appreciated to its fullest. This dish was the embodiment of the sophisticated comfort food that the restaurant's concept promises and has to be one of the best breakfast/brunch dishes in London.

Duck egg en cocotte
In conclusion, I found that despite the lack of view (apart from a very surprising visit from some window cleaners!), we enjoyed the food so much that it did not infringe on our dining experience. I would recommend a visit even on an overcast day. The pricing is incredibly fair too; mains run at about £10-15 with ample portion sizes. Must try to get a table for the much sought-after weekend brunch!

Window cleaners attack!
I can't finish this review without a quote from Cleetus, the slack jawed yokel from the Simpsons: ''I can see my mum from here! Hey mum, get off the damn roof!''

Square Meal

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  1. I have heard and read about Duck Waffle from Zagat. I like the idea of fusion food that ranges from Latin and Oriental ones. I love to check out the place for myself.

  2. Yes Rosalind, I think it's definitely one of the best breakfast places I've been to in London. I'd like to try the all day menu too though...they had something called an ''Ox Cheek Doughnut'' listed as a special. Sounds like something worth trying!


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