A classic on London's dining circuit, you can find Duck & Waffle on the 40th-floor of Bishopsgate's Heron Tower
If you’ve ever tried to get a table at Duck & Waffle, you’ll know how popular it still is, eight years after it opened. So the first piece of advice; if you like the sound of a 24-hour restaurant with panoramic views over London, open a new browser window and see if you can nab a table. Someone else will have got it by the time you finish reading.
The D&W experience starts before you’ve even set foot into the restaurant. Step into one of two express lifts and zip up 40 floors in just 40 seconds. At 230m high, 110 Bishopsgate is one of London’s tallest buildings – I’ve never felt like I’m looking down on the Gherkin before. You might spend a moment or two admiring the décor – an eclectic combo of stainless steel and frosted glass, white marble, rustic metal, weathered wood and ceramic tiles – but the view is the star attraction. We visit on a gorgeous sunny day – already plotting to come back, if not at sunrise, then definitely sunset – and London is showing off all her curves and edges, the gleaming buildings and meandering river.
Given that it describes its own offering as ‘playful’, we’d love to think the restaurant is named after the oh-so British verbs ‘to duck’ and ‘to waffle’, but no – it’s the signature dish, which is as bonkers and delicious as you’d hope. A hot fluffy waffle, drizzled with sticky-sweet maple syrup (given a mustard kick), is topped with crispy, salty duck leg and a fried egg. By the looks of it, every other diner agrees that this is a winner. My brunch date and I also share Colombian eggs – perfectly soft and scrambled, but we’d have liked the chorizo chopped and fried rather than as a sausage.
This is as decadent a menu as they come, and it’s a place to indulge, devour, guzzle and savour every calorie-tastic dish the D&W chefs have dreamt up. Think bacon-wrapped dates, duck egg with Gruyere and truffle, the Full Elvis Belgian waffle – ‘PBJ, caramelised banana, Chantilly cream, all the trimmings’ – and fois gras crème brulee with a pork crackling brioche. The crispy polenta bites are so good we were tempted to order a plate of them as a main course.
And of course, there are cocktails. Go big or go home with a vodka-based Breakfast Fizz, a classic rum and ginger Duck & Stormy or a Reformed Pornstar. The non-alcoholic Tropical Sonic is also very good, although priced at £14, it makes being the designated driver as expensive as drinking. If you actually have space for dessert as well as liquid refreshments, go for it. The chocolate fondant with peanut butter ganache, vanilla ice cream and praline crunch is, predictably, a warm, oozing, satisfyingly sweet treat, while the torrejas is a surprise delight. Two huge wedges of French toast are served with caramelised maple apples and cinnamon ice cream. We're full until past suppertime. So Duck & Waffle, when can you next fit us in?
Christmas at Duck & Waffle
Is it too soon to be thinking about Christmas? Definitely not. Selfridges’ Christmas department opened in August and, now that it’s September, we fully embrace getting excited about mulled wine, cosy jumpers, twinkly lights and festive food. Duck & Waffle is hosting Let It Snow, a wintery fairytale wonderland, from 15 November until January 2020 – we’re promised “snow-covered trees, glistening icicles and other magical winter trimmings” – so start dropping hints for your Christmas party. If you don’t fancy cooking on Christmas Day, let D&W do the hard work for you (£110 per guest) while you gaze out over a merry, uncharacteristcally quiet London, enjoying everything from eggnog and lobster to turkey or turbot and Christmas pudding, cheese and mince pies. We suggest booking ASAP if you don’t want to miss out, if our experiences trying to book a brunch slot are anything to go by.
Duck & Waffle, 40th Floor, 110 Bishopsgate, London EC2N 4AY; www.duckandwaffle.com