Since opening in summer 2012, Duck & Waffle has been one of the hottest dining spots in town. Standing out with its 40th floor views of the city and its signature synonymous dish, the restaurant has backed up its unique selling points with a stellar menu. I have wanted to go for some time, but unsurprisingly, with a long waiting list, I hadn’t quite got round to booking a table. Earlier this year, when I heard one of my best friends was visiting from South Korea, we decided to treat ourselves to a Saturday brunch at the venue and booked our table two months in advance.
I had already dined at D&W’s sister restaurant SushiSamba downstairs five months earlier, so was well aware of the stunning views of the City of London and beyond. However, views aside, D&W would be providing a totally different culinary experience. Overseen by award-winning Executive Chef Daniel Doherty (who is quite the avid Tweeter and tweeted me after my meal), the menu is inspired by British and European cuisine and including breakfast, lunch, brunch and dinner.
Despite having been to SushiSamba, for some reason the high-speed lift was faster than I remembered as it whizzed up to the 40th floor. After checking in with the hostess, I was thrilled to see our table for two was in the corner of the dining room so we had windows to the left and back of my seat. As I had already dined in the building before, I decided to let my friend have the 180° view while I had my back to the window.
Although lunch options were available at the time of our seating, my friend and I were determined on brunching. While the food menu had too many delicious things to decide on quickly, we started our session with mimosas. My friend – a carnivore – decided it would be wrong to not order the signature dish – Crispy Leg Confit served on a Waffle, topped with Fried Duck Egg and Mustard Maple Syrup. As I am a pescatarian, I decided on a twist on an old favourite – Organic Colombian Eggs with Avocado served on Toast, paying a supplement to add Smoked Salmon. The added herbs and vegetables gave a refreshing twist to the usual eggs on toast. The eggs were perfectly fluffy and light and the bread not too over-toasted (a pet hate of mine, so many brunch places love to make their toast rock hard to cut!). My friend absolutely loved the Duck and Waffle and said the fusion of savoury and sweet worked really well.
Although my friend was stuffed after her evidently more filling dish, I knew I had to find some room in my stomach for the absolutely divine dessert menu. I ordered the Bananas Brûlée Belgian Waffle served with Homemade Nutella, Vanilla Ice Cream and Peanut Crunch. It was absolutely heavenly, I’m a huge fan of waffles, Nutella, ice cream and peanuts in general, so the combination of them all was dessert heaven for me. Admittedly after having just eating eggs and toast, it was a bit of a challenge to finish, but fortunately my friend gallantly offered to help me out.
Overall, all of our dishes were absolutely delicious. The service was fast, friendly and informative and I was grateful they had given us such prime seating. At around £76 for our whole meal, including service, is perhaps a bit steeper than I would usually spend on brunch, but the experience made it worth while. I noticed a lot of couples, friends and families were there for special occasions, such as birthdays and engagements, so is a nice venue to treat yourself. I will be back… am particularly curious about visiting at 3am as the restaurant is open 24 hours a day!
- Duck & Waffle, Heron Tower, 110 Bishopsgate, EC2N 4AY. Nearest station: Liverpool Street. For more information and booking, visit the Duck & Waffle website.
For Metro Girl’s review of Duck & Waffle’s sister restaurant downstairs, SushiSamba, click here.
To read more of Metro Girl’s restaurant reviews, click here.
In 2012, SushiSamba finally made its long-awaited arrival in London. Situated towards the top of the Heron Tower in the City of London, the restaurant is a welcome and unique addition to the city’s dining scene, with its fusion of Brazilian, Japanese and Peruvian cuisine. Like many women of my age, I first heard of SushiSamba on an episode of seminal TV show Sex And The City when the New York venue featured in a scene. I remember admiring the venue and hoping to visit one day. While I’ve never got round to visiting SushiSamba on my New York trips, I did enjoy a meal at the Las Vegas branch at the Palazzo last October and was enthralled (read Metro Girl’s review of Vegas and its SushiSamba here.
This month, I finally got round to booking a table at SushiSamba London. Over a year after it opened, SushiSamba is still hugely popular so you need to book far in advance for peak times. I booked a table for five (four weeks in advance) to celebrate my mother’s birthday, opting for a Sunday lunchtime slot. One thing that sets the London branch apart from its international ‘sisters’ are the stunning views from the 38th and 39th floors from the Heron Tower on Bishopsgate.
Upon arrival at the entrance to the Heron Tower, we were shown to the lift, where we were whizzed up in moments to the 38th floor – be ready for your ears to pop! Before reaching the restaurant, we passed through the bar area, featuring one of SushiSamba’s three kitchens, seats and tables on both the 38th and 39th floor atrium with views looking over the City of London looking west over the capital. Upon entering the dining room, we were shown to a semi-booth facing outwards with views over East London, including the Olympic Stadium.
To start, we spent ages perusing the extensive cocktail, wine and sake list. There are some imaginative cocktails, averaging around £12-£13 each, with bottles on the wine list starting from £26. We opted for a bottle of El Muro Macabeo, a really lovely, fruity Spanish white featuring peach, apple and citrus.
SushiSamba’s food menu is quite unique – there are three separate kitchens, with many of the dishes being served in smaller ‘tapas’ style servings, or some large plates for those who want to keep their meal to themselves. Fortunately, my party were up for a culinary adventure and decided to order a variety of dishes from the ‘Small Plates’, ‘Robata’ and ‘Aperitivos’ sections of the menu. One of my particular favourites was the Rock Shrimp Tempura served with snap pea julienne, spicy mayonnaise, black truffle vinaigrette. SushiSamba’s version of Calamari – Chicarron De Calamar – was totally sumptuous. The batter was thinner than usual, with less oil, leaving the flavour of the squid coming through, fusing nicely with the fried plantain, tomatoes, onion, mint and tamarind.
The Peruvian kebabs were also very popular amongst my party. The salmon, in particular, was cooked in a way I had never had before, with orange miso and peruvian dark chocolate giving a unique flavour sensation from the fusion of savoury and sweet. Despite the volume of food we had, we weren’t left with that horrible ‘stuffed’ feeling, but rather content. Our party was unanimous in our praise of the unique combinations of dishes, each rich in flavour in their own individual way. Despite the variety of plates, they all complemented each other well. I’ve eaten in some of London’s best restaurants over the years, but personally, I would consider SushiSamba one of my new favourites.
Finally to finish, we ended up sharing Chocolate Banana Cake, served with maple butter, plantain chip and vanilla rum ice cream – a delicious, but light pudding providing a perfect end to an amazing lunch. Overall, my party were unanimous that it was one of the best dining experiences we had had in London. The combination of views, food and service made it an enjoyable and relaxing culinary adventure. While admittedly it cost a bit more than a usual meal out, it’s the perfect location for a special occasion.
- SushiSamba London, Heron Tower, 110 Bishopsgate, EC2N 4AY. Tel: 0203 640 7330. Nearest station: Liverpool Street. For more information and booking, visit the SushiSamba London website.
For a review of SushiSamba’s sister restaurant upstairs Duck & Waffle, click here.
For a list of all Metro Girl’s bar and restaurant reviews, click here.