Last night, we had the rather unusual experience of going to dinner at 1 am. Other than wolfing down a hubcap sized burger after a drunken night out, this is not something I generally do…mainly as most restaurants in the UK are shut past 12 for the majority of evenings.
But the Duck and Waffle is a 24 hour food fest, only taking a short break between 5 and 6 am,and serving alcohol until 3 am. This piqued my interest, it has to be said. However what really drew me to sample it’s varied delights is it’s location.
It’s found on the 40th floor of the Heron Tower, in City of London. The views are spectacular, and I am nothing if not a sucker for a view. I have spent the past year and a half now hunting down good places overlooking London. There aren’t many, at least not around my haunts. But the Duck and Waffle ticked that box perfectly for me,
But I’m jumping ahead of myself. Me and my other half arrived at Liverpool Street at 00.42 to be precise, and headed over to Heron Tower. Easier to find than I thought would be, it was literally a 2 minute walk. The entrance to the Duck and Waffle was roped off and looked after by door staff, who had a reservation list. As we had only made ours a couple of hours before, they had to radio up to see if we were on there. After a couple of nail biting minutes we were allowed in, and told to take the lift to the 40th floor.
One would not think the lift would be a particularly eventful part of the evening, But in this case whooshing up in a tiny see through pod was actually – for want of a better way to put it – really cool! Unfortunately as it travels at 5 mps (I know, pretty speedy…) my camera couldn’t compensate for the movement for photos. My other half got a video on her phone though…
We were taken straight to our seats, through the bar – after wowing at the Gherkin from above. And St Paul’s Cathedral. Once again I sadly couldn’t get decent photos, much to my frustration. But our seats were right by the window, luckily. Despite condensation sadly making the view a little misty, we still had fun pointing out things – particularly police cars which, with their flashing blue tops, became very obvious.
They were served in a brown paper bag, shut with the seal and logo of the Duck and Waffle. Seeing how we oohed at it, the waitress went and got us our own to take back with us. They certainly were attentive. Any how the pig ears were quite tasty, but I found it difficult to get past the cartilaginous chewiness that made it abundantly clear to me that it was indeed an ear I was eating. My other half felt the same. However we finished most of them off any way…so not bad!
They were served on a salt block, if you’re wondering what that giant pink slab is. A Himalayan salt plate to be precise, that can be both heated and cooled and gives the food on it a slight salty texture. The waitress took the time to tell us this when she served us.
They were very tasty. I woulda liked more scallop less apple, but I enjoyed them – more than the pig ears if I’m honest. But both of them were served in an interesting way which I thought was nice, added a bit of…uniqueness to the whole dining experience.
We each decided to share the eponymous dish…of course, the duck and waffle. Which was surprisingly, delicious…:
I would never have thought a duck leg, a duck egg, a soft and sweet waffle and mustard maple syrup would be so damn good…but it was. It was damn good. My other half thought so too, we couldn’t stop laughing at what a surreal moment it was. 40 storeys up, at half one in the morning, eating duck. And waffle. Paha.
A lot of people commented online (having done some extra curricular research before going) that it wasn’t anything special…but I thought it kinda was. It perhaps isn’t a culinary sensation, but it was something fun and new, and that you can’t get anywhere else. That’s rare in a city where chains are becoming more and more prevalent. So I very much enjoyed my duck and waffle. So much so I decided we had to try for the finale…drumroll please?
Dun dun DUUUUUUUUN…the oxtail doughnut. I know, I know. I was horrified too when I first discovered this. A doughnut dusted with sugar and paprika with oxtail meat in it…served with apricot jam?
(It wasn’t served like that. But I took that photo to prove it’s no bluff…that really is a meat doughnut. Who knew?) Any way…the verdict? Tasty, but a little heavy handed on the paprika unfortunately. It kinda overwhelmed everything else, although dunking it into the apricot jam was good – added some tanginess to it. Perhaps not my favourite thing that time, but I was glad to try it out myself and it was pretty good, so no complaints. And I really was very suspicious of that dish.
Drinks were good, my other half asked for a caipirinha and they made one for her – though it wasn’t on the cocktail list. I got a Winter in Manhattan. Served very plainly, unlike most cocktails in my experience, it tasted like Christmas. But then it got too sickly and alcoholic and after that I stuck to lemonade. Oh well!
Overall, we both really enjoyed it. As we left the door staff told us we’d been the friendliest people that evening and to come back soon, which made us both leave with a bounce in our step too. It’s always nice to hear that, flattery or not! In all fairness being late on a Saturday the bar was pretty busy so they’d obviously been dealing with a lot of traffic.
It was an amazing view, the service was great, food was good – perhaps not amazing, but good. And yes the prices aren’t exactly bargain store, but considering where the restaurant is – I think it’s pretty damn good. Especially when you compare to other restaurants with views and locations like that – the brasserie at the top of the Oxo tower for instance. A main course is at least 30 quid. Duck and Waffle the most expensive one is about 16. So when you look at it that way, I don’t think the prices are too bad. Not for London. And not to see a view as good as that one. Literally, the city at your feet. Definitely worth a go, guys, if you’re ever about!