London City Calling, May 2017
If you ask a Londoner if they know Duck & Waffle, the 24/7 restaurant on the 40th floor of the Heron Tower, the answer will more than likely be yes. However ask them if they’ve ever been and you probably have a higher chance of receiving a no. This isn’t by any fault of Duck & Waffles. In fact, the restaurant is such an iconic and desirable establishment on the London restaurant scene that simply getting a reservation is a lot like getting a seat on the tube during rush hour – painfully difficult! Unless you know the exact date and time you’re wanting to visit two months down the line your best bet is turning up at 2am and trying for a walk-in slot.
That is up until now at least…
On 3rd May, Duck and Waffle opened a new store in Piccadilly’s St James’ Market. Duck & Waffle Local is a more accessible, speedier and more cost friendly version of the original, operating on a walk-in only basis. Now every Londoner has the opportunity to try the iconic dish which matches the restaurants name!
The restaurant is conveniently located close to the West End (minutes from Piccadilly Circus) so is easily accessible from all over London. As you enter you walk past a large modern bar area to a centrally located counter where you can order your food before finding a seat. Or if it’s not too busy (like early on a Monday evening like when we went) you can find a table first then order at the counter. The food is then delivered promptly to your table where any additional orders can be made. Think Nandos style dining but everything is duck rather than chicken!
Duck and Waffle Local isn’t quite 24/7 like it’s parent brand, however it is open from early morning until late night. The menu is simple, with several breakfast only options in the morning followed by a second menu from 11am onwards. As well as the classic duck and waffle, D&W Local has some new streetfood-esque dishes such as the the duck burger and duck jam doughnut.
The dining area has some smaller tables for groups of 2 or 4, as well as two long tables for either larger groups or canteen style sharing.
The yellow ‘waffle design’ ceiling (see photo below) and egg shaped dome close to the entrance are the only parts of the new restaurant to match the original. Apart from the ceiling, D&W Local has it’s own clean and modern interior with bright red tables and dainty hanging lights.
To start we tried the duck necks (£4) – not something I can say I’ve ever heard of before but they came highly recommended. Surprising crispy with a very sticky BBQ glaze, they were a very tasty start to the meal.
Next was Duck and Waffle’s signature dish… Duck and Waffle (£12). I have to say, I’ve always taken the concept for granted, but when the plate arrived in front of me I did have a moment of doubt… Duck leg, an egg, a waffle and maple syrup… I mean seriously – who sat down one day and decided these 4 things would go together? But boy do they! The egg yolk soaked duck meat melts into the maple syrup covered waffle to create a whole new world of sweet and savoury flavour combinations. Definitely a must try!
To mix things up a bit we also tried the new duck burger (£10). This was also delicious, with the crushed noodles creating a unique texture. If I were to come for takeaway (yes they also do takeaway now!) this is what I’d go for.
The Sweet Stuff…
Despite being extremely full we couldn’t resist ordering a dessert after we saw one being delivered to another table. The Sweet Waffle Cones (£6) come in 3 flavour combinations (see menu above). We went for the fudge brownie with vanilla ice-cream. 3 words… OH MY GOSH! A chocolate/ice-cream/waffle lovers dream! Even if you’re feeling completely full already please just get one to share. You can’t go Duck and Waffle Local and not try one of these beautiful creations.
Duck and Waffle have also lent their award-winning ‘Head of Spirit & Cocktail Development’ Rich Woods to their little brother. The ‘Taps & Tails’ drinks menu is a range of unique on-tap cocktails such as breakfast fizz (which tastes like marmalade) and millennial mojito. At just £6-7 per cocktail, Duck and Waffle Local’s bar is great value for money compared to many other bars in the area, making it great for a pre-West End night out dinner.
Lastly I just want to give a shoutout to the amazing staff at Duck and Waffle Local. Despite the casual format of the restaurant, the professional and extremely accommodating staff gave the place a luxury edge. They were all more than happy to explain the new concept, guide us around the restaurant and give recommendations on what to try from both the food and drinks menus. To everyone working on the 8th May – thanks for a lovely evening!
Duck and Waffle Local in Piccadilly is the flagship store of the new casual dining concept, but rumour has it that more may be opening soon…!