Getting the lift up to Duck and Waffle, which resides at the top of the Heron Tower in Bishopsgate, is quite an experience in itself. It’s on the outside of the building meaning the view, as your hurtle up at what feels like 90 miles an hour towards the 40th floor, is quite astonishing.
Once there, after walking through the open plan bar area, where you’ll see the most incredible view of the Gherkin, we were shown to our booth table overlooking London towards Canary Wharf. It was quite simply stunning.
The dining room was a fairly simple square space meaning there’s windows wherever you look – it really does make you feel like you’re high up. The open kitchen encouraged the buzzy atmosphere and everything felt very relaxed and comfortable.
We started things off with some rosemary and garlic freshly baked bread (£6). I don’t mind paying for bread if it’s going to be that good; it was totally divine. So good in fact, that we decided to order the fresh porcini bread too (£9). It was topped with mushrooms, goats cheese, rosemary and served alongside a pot of mushroomy ketchup. Lovely stuff.
The BBQ spiced crispy pigs ears (£5), served in a brown paper bag, are easily the tastiest snack you’ll ever encounter and are worthy of the orange stain that remains on your fingers for hours afterwards. Crispy, fatty and slightly chewy yet not at all sickly – they are the epitome of moreish.
From the raw section of the menu we opted for the Scottish scallop (£9). The slices of wafer thin scallop placed on top of small chunks of apple had a subtle flavour of lime and truffle which was an unusual but altogether pleasant combination. They were a bit small though. Presentation was impressive however as they were served on a brick of Himalayan salt, meaning you could season the dish yourself by rubbing it on the surface.
The 300g Angus rib eye (£36) came atop a bed of pearl barley and heritage carrots of various colours which looked really enticing. The beef, served pink, was soft and luscious with a charred exterior. The pearl barley tasted really meaty too meaning it wasn’t boring in any way.
We couldn’t resist ordering the signature dish of duck and waffle (£17) which featured the slightly peculiar combination of a crispy confit duck leg, fried duck egg, waffle and mustard maple syrup. Presentation could have been a little more flamboyant as everything was stacked on top of each other. Either way it was ruddy delicious; sweet, meaty and totally indulgent. Who knew!
Desserts were equally as flavoursome. The dark chocolate brownie sundae (£10) wasn’t just a load of sweet stuff thrown in a sundae glass – it was well thought out. Chocolatey enough to feel indulgent but not too sweet to make you feel podged out afterwards. There was even a little square of perfectly tempered chocolate with the Duck and Waffle logo printed on it. It’s the little things.
The vanilla baked Alaska with strawberry liqueur and mint oil (£9) was a thing of beauty; it looked like an alien’s egg – well I thought so anyway. Every mouthful provided a blend of textures and flavours that were any pudding lovers idea of heaven. The mint oil was a brilliant touch that lifted the whole thing.
Service was efficient and friendly; we felt looked after from beginning to end. What I love about Duck and Waffle is that it doesn’t just rely on safe and simple coking to accompany the amazing views. Head chef Dan Doherty has produced food that would wow at ground level – but take it up to the 40th floor and you’ve got yourself a truly outstanding restaurant.