Apologies due for the delay since my last post; I’ve been exceptionally busy decorating a new flat amongst other things. Speaking of other things, I see Giles Coren has been taking pot shots at bloggers who take photographs of food in restaurants. Doubtless, food lovers around the world who snap their plates will be hanging their heads in shame, weeping with angst and flagellating themselves. Here you may detect a delicious hint of bitter sarcasm with top notes of scorn and derision. What surprises me most is that a man in Giles’s position surely has no need to snipe at bloggers, being as well supported and published as he is. Still, if it displeases the canon of food criticism who am I to disagree? I will simply refrain from posting images here from now on.
Duck and waffle isn’t exactly a predictable name for a stylish London city skyscraper restaurant, but then it’s not exactly a predictable venue. For one, it features elements of a rustic shabby-chic interior, the likes of which you would normally expect to find in a country pub or boutique hotel, not on top of a monolithic skyscraper in Bishopsgate. The menu also features some quirky twists, with plenty of variety at commendable standards and at prices that don’t so much break the bank as leave a minor dent in it.
A Wonkaesque glass elevator pings diners to the 40th floor faster than you can say Jack Rabbit, which you wouldn’t say anyway as you’re more than likely glued to the glass, marvelling at the expansive cityscape. In the Hollywood dream version of my life I imagine having such a broad readership that thousands of visitors from now on glide up the 40 floors whispering Jack Rabbit at the glass as they gaze out and over the city. Schmollywood dreams.
The menu is varied and features a wide range of entrées – referred to as snacks and breads of which we chose bbq spiced crispy pig ears, served in a cutesy wax-sealed brown paper bag, and bacon wrapped dates with linguiça sausage and dandelion salad. This was a grand start to the meal and really got the tastebuds going, prepping the way nicely for rabbit rillette, which whilst slightly lacking in flavour, had a pleasing texture complimented by crisp, chewy sourdough toast and a beer chutney. Yellowfin tuna served with watermelon, balsamic and basil was succulent and melted in the mouth. There is a good selection of wines by the glass of which I chose El Muró Macabeo from Cariñena. Lively, good acidity and easy drinking. At £8.50 for a 175ml glass of Chilean Sagrada Familia Viognier I’d have to concur with Jay Rayner on the priciness of plonk, however it’s a good list.
Next up mackerel tartar, pickled cucumber, smoked vodka. Again, more of a textural marvel than the flavour bomb I’d anticipated, but very light and pleasant. I wonder if the addition of some nam pla or a hint of anchovy may have added a depth of flavour that would have made it a more punchy dish. As it was, it struggled to compete with the other dishes on the table. Next up, spicy ox cheek doughnut or as my companion and I referred to it – the star of the show. Rich, slow cooked tender ox cheek encased in an actual doughnut, sweet, spicy, rich in flavour and pillow soft all at once; the sticky apricot jam is a perfect accompaniment to the dark, umami interior.
Our waiter recommended we try the eponymous duck and waffle which we duly did, and it was a perfectly decent dish although by this point I was craving more savoury to balance the sweetness of the doughnut, but we ignored the waiters advice and let the syrup flow on the waffle. Still, bitter espresso as an afterthought put paid to that problem and meant the divine macarons glided down a treat. In particular the orange and chocolate one was outstanding, and the lemon – had the flavour of real lemons, sharp and zingy yet sweet.
I’d definitely go back as there are still plenty of intriguing dishes left to try out, and with the views, it’s certainly got wow factor for entertaining visitors from out of town. Throw in the fact it’s open 24 hours and you’re clearly on to a winner.