I’ve been dying to go to Duck & Waffle but my friends and I always seemed to put it off, and before you know it, 5 months had passed. So we finally decided to bite the bullet and reserve a table.
Duck & Waffle is situated near Liverpool Street station in ‘Heron Tower’ where you’ll be dining on the 40th floor. As soon as you enter, you’ll be left feeling impressed. The lift to get to the 40th floor, is on the outside of the building with a glass window and you can start to see the city as the lift gets higher. It’s a thrilling experience not only because of the view, but the speed in which the lift travels. (It’s the little things..)
After winding through the corridor, you’ll find the bar area which has a lovely modern yet traditional feel to it. I was waiting for a few friends to arrive and this was the best place to be; sipping cocktails whilst admiring the tremendous views.
Led by the hostess, we were seated in the corner of the restaurant with spectacular views from the West and South of London. The open kitchen was another delight and I was able to glance every now and again at the chefs who seemed remarkably calm throughout the evening. You won’t find Mr. Ramsay-style language here!
The menu is divided into 5 sections – ‘To Start’, ‘Raw’, ‘Freshly Baked Breads’, ‘Small Plates’ and ‘For the Table’.Dining with friends meant that we could all order off different parts of the menu and share the experience between us so we didn’t miss out on any key dishes.
Also I wanted to highlight that one of the dishes on the menu was unavailable when we dined on a Monday evening; the hyped/raved about bbq-spiced crispy pig ears weren’t available, which was a huge disappointment as apparently this is one of THE dishes to try at Duck & Waffle.
From the ‘Raw’ section I picked Scallops which were served on an ice block. Beautifully presented and a nice start to the meal. The scallops were balanced perfectly, with the juicy-ness of the apples and a little earthy-ness from the truffle. A pleasant dish that worked well, although I much prefer cooked scallops.
Also from the ‘Raw’ section, Carlingford Rock Oysters which was ordered by my friends.
I’d read mixed reviews about the ox cheek doughnut and had to try it for myself. I was excited about trying something completely different that challenged my taste buds by putting sweet and savoury together. I was completely surprised by the doughnut itself and didn’t expect it to be so big.
As you can see from the inside of the doughnut, the ox cheek was not in the centre of the doughnut and this meant that parts of the doughnut were far too sweet and the dish felt more like a dessert than a starter. Although, when balanced with the ox cheek the sweetness was an added flavour to the ox cheek and was a delight to eat. However, the size of the doughnut and the small portion of ox cheek let the dish down, and it’s frustrating as the ox cheek and doughnut does work extremely well together.
The bacon wrapped dates was the winning starter. I was shocked at how much I enjoyed this dish and as I was sharing with my friends, disappointed that I couldn’t have ‘gobbled’ all of these myself. The dish comes accompanied with a side salad and a honey mustard dressing which was a nice addition but unnecessary as the dish speaks for itself; a crisp smoky exterior and a sweet interior that leaves your taste buds dancing for joy.
My friend ordered the Pollock meatballs from the ‘small plates’ section of the menu. Confusing to some but Pollock is a fish and not meat which was a nice added twist to the dish. The Pollock was cooked perfectly and had a lovely creamy sauce that complimented the fish. A good dish but not one of my favourites of the evening.
One of the most disappointing dishes served was the caramelised onion, anchovy and caper bread. I was hoping for a nice crusty yet soft texture to compliment the other dishes we picked, but this was a little too crisp and difficult to share with the group. I also found that the bread lacked flavour.
If you’re dining at Duck & Waffle, it makes perfect sense to try the dish the restaurant was named after, we all felt the same way and each ordered our very own Duck & Waffle. If I told you that this was mind-blowing you probably wouldn’t believe me, but this was the highlight of the evening. The confit leg of duck was cooked perfectly, crispy on the outside whilst being pink on the inside and mixed with the egg and the sweetness of the waffle, it worked a treat.
What I would say is that, for me, the maple syrup wasn’t needed. When I added the maple syrup to the rest of the dish, the flavours were too sweet and the duck was overpowered. However, I don’t have much of a sweet tooth and found that this entirely depends on your sweet tolerance. My friend, much preferred pouring the maple syrup over the dish and felt it worked better that way. I’m very glad the maple syrup is served in a jug rather than coating the dish as I know if this was the case this could have been a recipe for disaster but thankfully it wasn’t.
Although we were full by the end of the evening, two of us had to order dessert. My friend ordered the chocolate brownie, which, apparently, was amazing. I’m almost kicking myself for not trying the dish but I had my hands full with my own; crispy fried mars bar served with ice cream. I’m a northern lass at heart and the thought of a fried mars bar brings back university memories and I had to try the Duck & Waffle version.
I almost melted at how good this was. If you’ve never tried a fried mars bar before, it’s battered, crispy chocolate on the outside that has warm melted caramel oozing out once you’ve taken a bite. This went perfectly with the ice cream as the melted caramel coats the ice cream. The only problem is it then leaves you wondering why you don’t eat fried mars bars everyday.
If I had to sum up Duck & Waffle I would say that it was an extraordinary evening. Everything about the restaurant was phenomenal, from the spectacular views to the fancy cocktails and the exciting food. Don’t get me wrong, the food isn’t perfect, they were dishes that I’d never order again as they weren’t as good as some of the others but that doesn’t change the way you feel about the dining experience because that’s what Duck & Waffle does best; it gets you excited about food and the endless possibilities that can be created just by mixing two very different things together.
- Duck & Waffle, Liverpool Street