Sunday 23 September 2012

Duck & Waffle, London

As mentioned in my last post, when we were in London a couple of weeks ago, The Soldier and I ate at Duck & Waffle. It's not been open that long and I just happened to hear about it when I was doing my usual rounds of the London food blogs. I booked us in for 5.45pm and hoped that we'd 1) get a decent table with a good view and 2) be there for sunset. Check and check.

Now, I'm no restaurant reviewer. I love (LOVE) food and I know what I like and what I don't. But I would never profess to be knowledgeable about it and I don't have the words to explain just why I loved Duck & Waffle so much. So, in my normal style, I'll turn to photographs. Although, given that no "big" cameras are allowed, these were taken with The Soldier's iPhone and, therefore, they're not of the quality that I'd like. But still....


We started with the cods tongues (sound a bit grim, taste like little fishy pieces of heaven) served on a bit of newspaper, with a good ol' bottle of Sarson's and THE BEST tartare sauce I've ever had. The infamous crispy pigs ears followed soon after, served in a brown paper bag and tasting like the best Frazzles you've ever had. Now, The Soldier usually has an aversion to all things pig-fat related. So I was hoping and praying that he'd hate these (Helen doesn't like to share food) but, of course, he bloody loved them. Fuming isn't the word.


Crab on sourdough toast was next to the table and it was glorious. I've read other reviews complaining about the "sparse" amount of crab. Ours was certainly not sparse and we wolfed this down far quicker than is strictly decent in polite society. The burrata, which overall was perhaps the weakest dish, was creamy and chewy and addictive but the salad that came with it was missing something. The pink pickled onions and caper berries were great but.. meh. Something just didn't quite click.

Something that definitely wasn't missing anything was the inimitable haddock scotch egg, served with a curried mayonnaise. We couldn't eat this fast enough. Just. So. Good. The scallops, with apple, black truffle and lime, were served atop a block of pink Himalayan salt, which we were encouraged to use to season them. Genius. These were little pieces of fresh, crunchy, sweet, salty, sour, bivalve heaven.

Then came the signature dish, the majestic duck and waffle. A beautiful fat duck leg, with two waffles,  a perfect fried egg and the most incredibly moreish mustard seed maple syrup. Just wonderful. Every single person that I've told about this dish has pulled a "REALLY?" face but, I promise you, it is magnificent. Despite eating half the menu (I have a tendency to massively over-order), we managed to find a bit of room for dessert...

I'd read VERY good things about the chocolate brownie and that, coupled with the fact that I could never go past peanut butter ice cream on a menu, meant we ordered the brownie plus the peach melba. The brownie was gooey and rich and came with huge hunks of honeycomb. The peanut butter ice cream was, obviously, sublime. The peach melba kind of stole the show for me though. A glorious sweet roasted peach, cake, caramelised almonds and a rasberry sauce. Heaven on a plate. I love chocolate brownies more than pretty much any sweet treat so that should indicate just how good the peach melba was.

The view from Duck & Waffle is incredible. We could see The Gherkin, Tower Bridge, the Olympic Park and numerous other London landmarks from our table. When the sun set on the other side of the building, the whole landscape was swathed in the most glorious reds, oranges and yellows. We sat and finished our wine (a very good Malbec which is also the cheapest on the menu, at £25) and then moved to the bar for one last drink. A Whiskey Sours and an Amaretto Sours went down very well, as we watched London twinkle beneath us. Pretty magical.