Andrew and I first met as second year university students when we moved into the same house. That was in 1996, and four cats and one child later, we’re still going strongly. Although we never buy each other anniversary presents or cards, we always like to mark the occasion with a nice meal or holiday. We did both this year, with a very exotic holiday at Centerparcs (oh how life has changed) and lunch at the Duck and Waffle in London. Thanks to my mum, we were able to spend the afternoon eating and drinking while Ioan was indulged by Grannie Annie!
Obviously before I walked in there I knew I was going to try the Duck and Waffle signature dish: duck and waffle – confit duck leg with a fluffy waffle and maple and mustard sauce, topped with a fried duck egg. I am not a fan of sweet sauces and meat (especially not when combined with a fried egg) so this wouldn’t normally have appealed to me, but it just had to be done …A fantastic anniversary lunch at @DuckandWaffle in #London - so much food! Click To Tweet
We arrived at 110 Bishopsgate and were escorted to a private lift which takes 40 seconds to whizz you up to the top of the tower (one of the tallest in London) at 5mph. We were lucky that the weather was quite good for January and we had a clear view across London, so were hopeful we would be given a nice table. While we waited we drank gin and tonics at the bar, which looked much too trendy for the likes of us, but the staff were welcoming and friendly while they served us the eye-wateringly expensive drinks. But you know, you are paying for the view so you just have to suck it up really.
When we were taken to our table (a window view – yay!) we were told that items on the menu arrived as they were cooked, and most people ordered sharing dishes. In fact, in our experience, most people there ordered the duck and waffle and then left, but we were going to be there for the duration so ordered a glass of champagne and a nice bottle of red from the charming sommelier, and then picked several choices from the menu which we fancied.
Normally we have found that the nicer the menu, the poorer the service and / or food, but the Duck and Waffle more than exceeded our expectations. The Gherkin for example has nicely cooked food, but the service each time we have been (4 times) has been abysmal. You really do pay for the view and they don’t seem to care whether you come back or not (we returned for the view so that we could share the experience with our friends).
The Shard wasn’t too bad in terms of service, but the afternoon tea (expensive even by afternoon tea standards) was pretty rubbish, with dry sandwiches and stingy (I want to be offered seconds of everything when I have afternoon tea – I don’t care if I am too full to eat any more – I want to be offered it).
Anyway, getting back to the Duck and Waffle, we started with crispy pigs ears which were dredged in a barbecue dust and tasted delicious. They were crispy and moreish and we kept dipping our red-stained fingers into the bag to munch on more.
We went for some lighter options including smoked eel with creme fraiche, horseradish and samphire:
and cured salmon with cucumber, curried scraps and lime:
Plus a rather heavier Angus beef tartare with marmite egg yolk and pickled onion:
Smashed marmite egg yolk:
And an amazing gruyere and nduja bread:
Obviously we were already full by the time our main courses arrived, which were duck and waffle for me:
And rabbit with smoked cauliflower and crispy cabbage for Andrew:
Everything was cooked beautifully and presented in a lovely way, but I can’t help but say that I didn’t enjoy the duck and waffle. For me the duck was too dry and the egg yolk and maple syrup didn’t do enough to counteract that. I am still not sold on the sweet maple syrup with duck and egg either. I was disappointed, although nothing else we ate could be faulted, and the gruyere and nduja bread, although probably a bit too spicy for me, was stunning.
We especially enjoyed the steak tartare – it’s not for everyone, but the flavour of the beef and the sticky egg yolk was richly superb.
We didn’t need pudding, but still wanted it, so ordered the torrejas for two, which included caramelised apples and cinnamon ice cream. The torrejas is basically French toast, and I’d say it was a touch overdone and burnt (not enough that we would have been confident to send it back), but it did taste good and I would like to try making the dish myself.
With dessert wine, of course:
As a thank you for my mum for looking after Ioan I ordered the selection of homemade biscuits, which they kindly packed up for me to take away: these included a custard cream, Jaffa cake, and bourbon biscuit, which looked very cute:
Mum appreciated them, although Ioan snatched the Jaffa cake from her to eat himself.
If you have the chance to go to the Duck and Waffle, and have a hundred pounds burning in your pocket, then definitely go and you won’t be disappointed. If you have a spare £300 then you’ll be able to enjoy some nice drinks and the wider menu, and although you will feel a bit poorer over the experience, your culinary adventures will be richer.