Perched on the 40th floor of the Heron Tower in the City, Dan Doherty’s Duck & Waffle is one of the culinary jewels of London skyline. Having dined there a year ago with colleagues, I was keen to try it again in a more informal setting (that and the fact that Chef Savla had been pestering me to take him!).
We’d booked a late afternoon brunch slot on Sunday, so I thought I’d have plenty of time to squeeze in a film at the Curzon Mayfair beforehand. It turns out I’d mixed up my timings, making the journey to the restaurant a bit of a mad dash. Knowing I’d be a tad flustered on arrival, Chef Savla wisely pre-ordered an espresso martini for me to enjoy while perusing the menu, and the panoramic view.
As there were 12 of us during my work dinner, we went for the group menu, which showcases the most popular dishes; I therefore knew exactly what I wanted this time. Since most of the options can be easily shared, we ordered a few of my favourites. First up was the foie gras crème brûlée with a pork crackling-studded brioche bun drizzled in syrup. Eating this was a strange experience as your eyes register the caramelised top and your mouth expects a sugary taste, but instead you get the silky, meaty flavour of the foie gras.
The next two dishes arrived together: the signature duck and waffle and smoked salmon. The former continued the sweet and savoury theme, with a crispy duck leg and fried duck egg on a fluffy waffle, all of which we doused in the mustard and maple syrup sauce. I loved how the rich yolk and sweetness complimented the duck, with the waffle soaking up all the flavours. The salmon, however, was nice enough, but a little disappointing after some exciting textures and tastes.
From meat to fish and the very moreish pollack meatballs, covered in a rich lobster cream sauce and Parmesan gratin. While it sounds like a clunky plate of food, the fish was surprisingly light, and the sauce was so good you could eat it on its own.
Our final main was the spicy ox cheek doughnut. Again, you know it’s a sweet-savoury combo, but you’re still caught off guard when you taste meat inside a smoked paprika sugar dough. The apricot jam adds a subtle hint of sweet to round things off nicely.
We were almost defeated at this point, but how could we leave without indulging in a modern brunch classic? Time for the Full Elvis to step up to the plate: pbj, banana brûlée and assorted berries on a giant waffle (hold the Chantilly for me; never been a fan). This was the perfect end to our sky-high gastronomical adventure as each element of the dish had a different texture, so you got crunchiness from the peanut butter and caramelised banana, softness from the fruits and waffle then the sticky jam.
The Duck & Waffle diner is spoilt for choice with the intriguing courses on offer; I definitely need a third trip to try out the things I just didn’t have room for. The lunch specials posted on Twitter and Instagram all look incredibly tempting, so a daytime dalliance is on the cards.