There are some things so synonymous with London that I just can’t imagine the city without them. We’re talking double-decker buses drifting past Big Ben; Insta-hoardes snapping photos of Annabels’ floral frontage; wintertime ice skating at the Natural History Museum. And in the legendary restaurant stakes, few are as iconic as Duck & Waffle.
Perched on the Heron Tower’s 40th floor, this swanky City favourite counts Sushisamba as its neighbour. It’s so luxe that you’ll have to get past a doorman in order to gain access to its infamous elevator. A quick whizz up, though, and it’s not long until you’re in an upscale space, led through the bar, past the cloakroom, and into the enchanting restaurant.
We don’t often do fancy dates on a Wednesday, but Duck & Waffle is busy every night of the week. Dinner slots get booked weeks in advanced and this was more than evident with not a single empty table in the place. Jazz tunes accompany the bustle from the open kitchen, while dim lights accentuate the stunning panoramic views across the city… because, let’s be honest, no one is looking around the room when there’s that view.
Working our way through the new menu, smoked eel croquettes (£4 each) encased a silky smooth puff of air while fried cubes of polenta (£4) dusted with parmesan and truffle were so simple but so moreish. Hog-washed Jersey rock oysters (£5 each) were on the small side, but a massively meaty ox cheek doughnut (£13) proved just why its lasted with each menu change over the years.
In the large plate department, there’s nut Wellingtons, veal chops, Dover sole and more – but it would have been rude not to try the titular duck & waffle (£20). Sure, we’ve had it before, but just as big red buses belong in London, this delicious dish belonged in my stomach. Coupled with a luxurious twice-baked Keens cheddar souffle (£15) which was made all the more decadent with the addition of freshly shaved winter truffle (£18), it was an impressive finish.
But we weren’t ending just there. My dining date matched a Velvet Ruby Martinez (£14) with rice pudding (£10); a wholesome bowl with slivers of raisin jam giving a fragrant edge to the old-school fave. For me, it was the Reformed Pornstar (£14) served long and with hints of passionfruit but far too many shards of ice. The literal icing on top of the cake; gluttonous skillet s’mores (£8) which paired a giant cookie with whisky ice cream for the most indulgent ending.
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As much of a landmark as The Gherkin or The Shard (and offering sweeping views of them both), Duck & Waffle is an absolute must-visit whether you’re a tourist or long-term Londoner. Sure, the skyline panorama reels us in but it’s the faultless service and first-class food that keep us coming back.
For more iconic institutions, head this way where we explore London's most famous restaurants.