Tall buildings meanwhile are understandably a fascination, man overcoming nature and all that, but London has a shortage of them with, for the most part, the public being denied access to those we do have. The 171 metre Post Office/BT Tower was closed to the public in 1980 due to an IRA bomb while 235 metre high One Canada Square's (aka Canary Wharf) viewing platform suffered a similar fate in 1992, so permanently closing this tower to the public also. The utterly brilliant Gherkin sadly is, and always has been, a general public no-go zone.
It is laudable therefore that Heron has opened the very top floors of this record breaking tower to the public with accessibility through two restaurants, Duck & Waffle and SushiSamba, and unsurprising then that London locals and tourists alike have embraced the giddy opportunity so enthusiastically. What is surprising however is that the food at Duck & Waffle is worth the visit even if you didn't have the view, but you do have the view so together, it's a winning and remarkable combination. With one more Ace up their sleeve, 24 hour opening, Duck & Waffle has already become a capital dining landmark which is, all in all, not bad for a restaurant open (at the time of writing) for less than a month.
The very combination itself, Duck & Waffle, has provoked much interest in London's food circles though diners of a State-side inclination will be more than familiar with chicken & waffle, which is suggested by some to date from Thomas Jefferson's importing of a waffle iron in 1790; no one seems to really know however though it's now a regular on US menus. Crispy duck provides a new take here and topped with a fried egg on waffle with mustard maple syrup, it is, as you'd hope from the headline act, an appropriately enticing dish that delightfully works with salty-sweet, crispy-soft, chewy-runny combinations. In this one dish alone they have achieved something worth coming back for.
Heritage tomatoes fared less well and were simply just too ordinary. The 'heritage' label promises an intensity of tomato focus that these never reached which, at £7, is poor value.
One small gripe however on the drink front, the small bottle of Pale Ale ordered, while nice, came in at a shocking £6 per bottle before service for a half pint, so making this with service a £13.50 pint which seems to me utterly unreasonable. Am I just behind the times? Is £13 a pint the right price point for London restaurants to charge for beer? I may have to stop drinking. Still water is £5 a bottle.
Whinge over, we did enjoy Duck & Waffle as it stands while recognising it holds even more promise for the future. Open less than a month under substantial scrutiny, chef Daniel Doherty (@DanDoherty_) is delivering engaging dishes in a fun and vibrant setting. The occasional miss will likely be weeded out in due course and months from now an already appealing menu will likely be strengthened. Soon to be open 24 hours, we can imagine eating at Duck & Waffle lots going forward, at all times of day, happy and approving of Bishopgate's latest offering in its near thousand year history.
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