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Duck and Waffle Breakfast – a Food Memo

This review of breakfast at Duck and Waffle is the first of my new series “Food Memos”- shorter posts but still some (hopefully) useful info on the best and worst London eating places. Enjoy!

Where?

Duck and Waffle is a 24-hour restaurant, opened in September 2012 on the 40th floor of the Heron Tower, in Bishopsgate, where the City meets with the East End. The chef is Dan Doherty, former head chef of The Empress. “Duck and Waffle” is the name of the signature dish, which is served on all menus (breakfast, brunch, all day and late night).

duck and waffle, Heron Tower London 40th floor

The apparently disharmony of “duck and waffle” could be also a cue to the style of the venue – painstakingly designed to be mismatched, with plain reclaimed wood tables in dull tones clashing against a yellow undulating ceiling and pops of fluo colours at bar. Unless it’s grey and foggy – which NEVER happens in London- your attention will likely be drawn by the view anyway.

When?

Certainly too late, as every other blogger seems to have been there ages ago ;) but I can’t stand queues and elusive reservations. So I rode the superfast elevator on a Tuesday morning and went to Duck and Waffle for an impromptu late breakfast, encouraged by the warm sun and the euphoria of being back in the city. It goes without saying, on a sunny day the view was stunning even though London is not the prettiest city to look at from up high as many landmarks are not visible.

What?

Steak'n'egg hollandaise, duck and waffle and homemade Nutella on toast

Clockwise: Steak’n’egg hollandaise, duck and waffle and homemade Nutella on toast

We picked from the breakfast menu – or rather its reduced version, as the homemade pastries were not ready at 10 AM when we arrived were still not ready when we left (a shame, because I would have really liked some muffins or a croissant- you can tell so much on the quality of a place from its pastry!). Coffee and cappuccino were very good and service prompt and very knowledgeable.

We shared the signature “Duck and Waffle” dish (a trio of confit duck leg placed on a waffle with a fried egg unceremoniously slathered on top) and a “Steak’n’egg hollandaise” which was exactly as light as the name suggest –i.e. not at all. The duck was nicely cooked, crispy and moist, but we found it hard to see how the combination with the waffle (having lived in Belgium, I guess I am hard to please when it comes to waffles or gaufres) and the egg made it any better. The addition of maple syrup mustard is a nice touch, but otherwise the ingredients don’t really come together in the plate.

The hollandaise eggs sat nicely atop a big mound of tasty pulled steak and crispy buttered bread– a very gourmet breakfast version of a philly steak indeed, and a lot of food for £9. The moment I stopped looking outside the window to seeif I could see the Olympic Stadium in the haze, I noticed that the hollandaise was on the verge of bitter, with a powerful lemony zing. It is surely meant to give you a break from the richness of the fat and egg, but there was a bit too much of it from my taste.

As I was craving something sweet after the salty and tart combo of my meat sandwich, and the pastries were still not out of the oven, I ordered Nutella on toast. Not a fan of the original industrial Nutella, I would say the homemade version at Duck and Waffle was infinitely better.

How Much?

The bill came in at little over £30, including service, three beverages, two breakfast dishes and a dessert. A steal if you think that you can pay more at some all-image, no-substance place nearby place like The Breakfast Club. And the view is free! Truth to be told, I noticed the wine list is breathtakingly expensive (something has to pay rent I guess) but you can always pretend to be inebriated by the altitudeand skip the alchohol if you’re on a budget.

duck and waffle menu and bar

 Why? Yay or Nay?

For me, it’s a yes. It’s a great space and a welcome addition to the Bishopsgate area. I wouldn’t say a few breakfast dishes really allow me to form an opinion on the overall food experience at Duck and Waffle. The dishes we had were very good, if not perfect, and the eggs and the duck confit show lots of skill and good produce on display. Plus, Duck and Waffle deserves  extra points on my scale because it could easily rely on its plush location and the pull of the view but it’s trying hard to be a good restaurant instead.

I’ll be back to try the all-day menu and check if things like crispy pigs ears and ox check doughnut are just the obligatory hommage to 2013 food trends or are worth the bloggers’ hype.

Duck & Waffle on Urbanspoon

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