I’ve waited long and hard for my Saturday brunch table here. I set my alarm exactly two months in advance to reserve the booking. I’m excited. I want all of the things.
Everyone knows Duck and Waffle, and if you haven’t – who are you? It’s one of those few restaurants that’s gained a reputation for both stunning views of London and a cracking menu. I’m amazed at how many places think they can get away with a pile of cack on a plate because aaah, look how little Big Ben is from here! Not only does D&W prove that vistas and flavours aren’t mutually exclusive, they show up the competition by doing it 24 hours a day. How cool is that?!
I’m prepared for death threats from over-enthused hazelnut spread fans given this isn’t on the menu anymore but fuck it. The Nutella Negregi was a complete stroke of genius, uncannily similar in taste to its inspiration and served in a neat Nutella jar. V nearly passed out with chocolatey glee.
There’s some batshit crazy inventions everywhere you look on the cocktail menu. Even fancied a chocolate and blue cheese martini? Can’t imagine you have, but chances are D&W have somehow made it work. Case in point was my ‘Mind Your Peas & Qs’, a freshly cut lawn of a G&T with garden pea compressed Bombay Sapphire, every inch a strange yet instant summer classic.
It’s these cheeky concoctions that make D&W so memorable and – most importantly – FUN. Exec chef Dan Doherty sidesteps the pretension pitfall of City skyscraper-dining by injecting a playfulness in his menu. But before you start thinking this is just concept food, it’s not. It’s fucking outstanding food.
The ox cheek doughnut is unmissable. Cut into its spherical, spiced paprika sugar-dusted crust to find fluffy goodness and a juicy ox meat centre that – don’t ask me how – goes perfectly with apricot jam. We got one to share as a starter along with a couple of bacon-wrapped dates, glorious little smokey bites with a sharp mustard dressing.
You’d hope that if you name your gaff after a dish on the menu that it’s going to be white shit hot. My duck and waffle comfortably fit that description. There’s nothing on earth quite as satisfying as a rich fried duck egg yolk and mustard maple syrup, oozing into crispy duck leg confit and a waffle base.
V’s duck egg en cocotte was less ambitious on the combos but graciously high on indulgence. We’re talking wild mushrooms, gooey gruyere and truffle shavings, with a side of soldiers ready for dipping in a sunny-side duck egg.
The deal was I got to try the meat doughnut if V could get a dessert. Fair transaction I’d say. We shared a portion of torrejas – sort of like a Spanish bread and butter pudding, but the bread is soaked in milk and fried. And it’s about a million times better. These ones had lovely crispy corners served with hot maple syrup, chunks of caramelised apples and a delicate cinnamon ice cream. In short, immense.
Incidentally we sat down opposite a chap who’d just taken a wad of fifties from his pocket as we arrived. It just registered when I asked for the bill: shit, are we about to get rinsed? It’s a lot more difficult to do a runner when you’re forty floors up…
It’d be worth it in any case, but the crowning glory is that Duck and Waffle isn’t nearly as expensive as you’d think (£50 each for 3 courses, two cocktails and a coffee.) I thoroughly enjoyed our brunch from start to finish; if I were saying anything negative it’d be that service was good not extra special, but I’m really picking holes in an otherwise seamless experience. I’m quite taken by the idea of rocking up off ones chops at 5am and sitting down for the Best. Munchies. Ever. Give me a shout if you fancy it.
Heron Tower, 110 Bishopsgate, EC2N 4AY