Duck & Waffle is one of the first restaurants which made it on my London’s bucket list. I had meant to visit for months but never went ahead to book a table. With my parents visit coinciding with my mum’s birthday, I knew it was about time I finally stepped foot in Heron Tower’s lifts for dinner in the sky!
After a swift journey from the floor to the clouds (actually a lot less scary than I thought it would be), we were greated by the most amazing of views. D&W definitely doesn’t oversell on this point; it’s simply breath-taking.
The rest of the experience though? It might be because, having read so many good things about the restaurant, I had really high expectations, but in the end, I wasn’t exactly blown away by it. Really loved the atmosphere in the bar though. Oh, and the floor. Now that I think of it, I’m kind of sad I didn’t take a few seconds to click pictures of the floor (but you see, I was busy trying to convince my dad to use similar tiles in my parents new bathroom…).
What I did take pictures of was my lovely family once we were all comfortably seated in our booth!
Blackmail (in the form of cocktail-related promises) might have been used to convince my sister into not doing faces… But I can’t really say I regret this as we were soon presented with some seriously pretty glasses!If my favourite actually ended up being my sist’s choice (the Distilled Hemingway), the prettiest of them all was definitely my own glass (the Removed Aviation Cocktail).With the Hay Old Fashioned also deserving its own special little prize for quirkiness!
Overall, we quite enjoyed the cocktails, but for the price tag they come at (£14 each), I was actually expecting a bit much from them. The Distilled Hemingway (Bacardi Rum, Marashino liquor and citrus juice) was the only one that fully delivered on the promise (it was perfectly balanced with hints of each component in each sip) while the others unfortunately underdeliver a bit (the Old fashion was a bit too sweet; I wasn’t a massive fan of the gin used in the Removed Aviation (I’d have liked something with a cleaner after-taste); the Whisky Sours, while perfectly balanced, had a rather unpleasant strong eggy smell).I quite enjoyed the N’Duja and Gruyère bread. I must admit I was rather intrigued by this one, and slightly afraid the strong, spicy flavour of the N’Duja would overpower the whole thing, but I’m glad to report it wasn’t the case at all. The bread had a really nice texture (close to that of a Ciabatta) and definitely comes near the top of my list of the best things to start a meal with.Another major hit at our table were the Crispy BBQ Pork EarsAs a result, we had a bit of a fight-off to decide who would get to break the seal (which my dad ended up winning, he’s much stronger/sneakier than the rest of us!). But then he shared the crispy, BBQ-dusted chip-like ear strips with us, so it was all okay. Those were so yummy I had to stop myself from ordering another bag!Next came the Ox Cheek Doughnut. I didn’t originally want to order this one but both the waiter and my boyfriend insisted that we should get it. In the end, this was one of the dishes that divided opinions around our table; my mum (who eats doughnuts any chance she gets) & boyfriend loved it, while the rest of us were a bit less convinced. I personnaly found the dough rather heavy and kind of bland (I’m sure a pinch of salt here and there would have improved the whole thing majorly). The Duck & Waffle is an absolute must-order. It would just be rude to head to the 40th floor of Heron Tower and not get the eponymous dish, wouldn’t it? Especially since the meatiness of the confi-ed duck leg, the richness of the egg yolk, the doughey-crispiness of the waffle and the sweetness of the syrup all works rather brilliantly together. Would have loved getting a bit more of the advertised mustard coming through but a strong dish anyway (also, THAT plate 😍).
I love beef tartare (so French of me, I know, I know! 🇫🇷), so I obviously had to order the Angus Steak Tartare. I loved the flavour profile (and the Tabasco mayo!) but was less convinced by the texture; the beef chunck were too big and the toppings too “string-ey” for the different flavours to mash up together as much as I would have liked them to.
The Scotch Bhadji looked stunning and was the best fusion dishes I’ve had in a while! I didn’t like the accompanying pickled cauliflower all that much but my (Indian) boyfriend said it was actually pretty typical in terms of flavour , so I might have to get used to it before I ever visit India!The Coal Charred Aubergine were okay; the texture was quite nice and silky, but the dish didn’t bag as much flavour as I expected (mainly because of a lack of salt).The last of the savoury dishes we tried was the Foie Gras Crème Brûlée. Being a foie gras lover, it was the dish I was most looking forward to trying and it certainly did not disappoint. There was something almost magical in the combination of creamy foie gras parfait, crispy burnt sugar, firm lobster tail, peppery watercress and toasted brioche. Heaven in a mouthful if you ask me. We were all starting to feel rather full but couldn’t resist taking a look at the dessert menu. And we simply couldn’t resist ordering (almost) one of each! The Pistachio & Dark Chocolate Macaroon was probably the prettiest of the bunch and very tasty too.The Brownie Sundae was also quite sexy and the crunchy peanut topping was the sort of things you get addicted to after just one bite.But my favourite dessert was the Torrejas: what truly made it for me was the brioche slice; it was so big and moist I could have eaten the whole thing all by myself! I also loved the cinnamon icecream but the apple could have been a bit more cooked…
As I said earlier, we had a good time at Duck & Waffle. Good but not great though. I can’t really pinpoint what it was, but there was something missing for me to be truly impressed. I was glad I finally got to visit and try all those iconic dishes, but I’m not sure I’ll get out of my way to visit again. Or maybe for breakfast (just imagine those views at sunrise!).
What: One of London’s most acclaimed restaurants, with the most breath-taking of views, serving up its Modern-European-with-a-twist signature dishes 24/7.
How much: Count £40-50/person with a drink and dessert
Why: The views are the #1 reason to head to Duck & Waffle and you have to be aware of the fact that you’ll definitely be paying for it too. A lot of attention given to details, especially when it comes to presentation. Anything that sounds like a very unlikely dish (Foie gras crème brûlée, BBQ pigs ears, Duck & Waffle…) would actually be on my must-order list.
Where: Duck & Waffle, Heron Tower, 110 Bishopsgate, London EC2N 4AY