Entering Duck & Waffle is a little special – you use a separate door at the bottom of Heron Tower (just down the road from Liverpool St Station), and then shoot up 40 floors in the glass-sided lift to the top of the building, with The City shrinking below you. Perhaps not the best venue for those scared of heights, but a fabulous view across London, with the Gherkin rising up right next to the window.
Duck & Waffle sits with its bar on the top floor, with Sushisamba on the 39th below, which serves a fusion of Japanese, Brazilian and Peruvian food (I’ve heard mixed reviews, but yet to visit). The bar is quirky with its open stations displaying the interesting ingredients for their really innovative drinks. The gin and tonic (£11) came as a glass of tonic water with a ball of potent Hendricks gin and rose petal sorbet floating in the top, with a yuzu foam – really fun and an excellent drink.
The menu is split into ‘Snacks and breads’, ‘Raw’, ‘Small plates’, ‘Brick oven’ and ‘For the table’ (which includes the namesake dish of duck, waffles and maple syrup). We started with some filthy sounding battered sausages (£4), which were mini, and far tastier, versions of the chip-shop classic, with a creamy, sharp mustard dip.
The small pea and mint arancini (£5) were nicely crunchy and worked well with the truffled mayonnaise, and the mackerel tartare (£6) was fresh and not overpoweringly fishy, with a crunchy tang from the pickled cucumber, although we couldn’t taste the smoked vodka on the menu description.
From the grill section we shared the lamb cutlets with smoked aubergine puree and mint yoghurt (£12) – these were pink and juicy with a spicy coating of green chilli and coriander, but the puree was a little mean so didn’t add much to the dish. The other large plate was tender salt beef with new potatoes, gherkins, poached egg and mustard (£11), which was a clever take on the classic salt beef, mustard and pickle flavour combination.
Our favourite dish was the first dessert – Torrejas are a kind of Spanish French toast, and this version came with apples, cinnamon ice cream and a gloriously buttery, rich maple caramel sauce (£7). This was sticky, sweet and delicious. The chocolate brownie with honeycomb and peanut butter ice-cream (£7) was less impressive, as the brownie was too dry and not squidgy enough, but the ice-cream was fantastic.
The service was excellent and the food was good value, although the drinks are pricier, with not many bottles of wine under the £40 mark. Duck & Waffle is open 24 hours and serves breakfast between 6 and 11 am – it would definitely be an interesting, if a little surreal, experience to visit at 3am in the morning after drinks one night.
With the spectacular views, original cocktails and solid cooking with some interesting touches, dinner at Duck & Waffle was a lot of fun, and I will definitely be back for the Hendricks sorbet and lift ride alone.