As if in cahoots with the elusive peak of The Gherkin
and the mysterious, top-floor lights of The Shard, Duck & Waffle watches the city from novel heights. The 40th floor eatery, reached only after a very quick ride in a glass lift, catapults diners into a culinary world that could have been imagined by Roald Dahl.
The kitchen trades in hip oxymorons: an all-day breakfast is made decadent by the inclusion of foie gras; fresh and delicate scallops sit, naively, atop a brick of salt; and an eclectic, artistic menu is set against an exclusive, city welcome. If Duck & Waffle is attempting to act as a bridge between trendy Shoreditch and the finely-tailored financial district, it does so to mixed effect.
A visit last summer impressed, the restaurant was newly-opened and being seated, even without a reservation, wasn’t difficult. Smoke poured upwards from a cinnamon Manhattan, barbeque pig’s ears were strange and delicious, and a view of Sushisamba’s fire-red cherry blossom gave insight into the experience served below. The restaurant’s signature dish was interesting, the confit duck both tender and crispy, the egg perfectly soft, and the maple sauce sweet and sharp, but everything together was confused, like too many colours on a palette. A second visit, in the winter, was less of a pleasure. The previously magical ambience conjured by chocolate-factory-esque decor and the glittering skyline had been lessened by an uprising of tipsy bankers and the essentiality of a reservation.
Nevertheless, dining on the 40th floor is an experience worth having, and the food, crafted with imagination, is superb at times. As it turns out, in the case of the restaurant’s eponymous dish, there is actually quite a lot in a name – successfully creative duck, and a bit of superfluous waffle.
Duck & Waffle
110 Bishopgate, London EC2N 4AY