It’s fair to say that most Londoners know what a Duck & Waffle is.
In fact, I’m sure everyone knows where to find it. (Hint, top of the Heron Tower in London's Bishopsgate.)
If you’ve never heard of it then let me direct you straight to a story we ran a couple of years ago “Duck & Waffle: Not Just a Pretty View” – when we sat down with Executive Chef Dan Doherty to talk all things food.
If you are familiar with the name and, in turn, have also suffered from acute fear-of-missing-out after seeing all the pictures Dan shares on Instagram (@dandoherty_), then you’ll be most happy to know there’s a brand new second location, just off the Piccadilly Circus madness.
Duck & Waffle Local opened its doors on May 3rd with a menu filled with dishes that incorporate duck in one way or other. From Duck Liver Creme Brulee with charred sourdough and Soy Braised Duck Wings with shichimi to The Duck Burger (featuring an unreal miso mayonnaise and crushed noodles) and a Duck Jam Doughnut with an orange glaze. More on the doughnut later.
The location could not be better. As a local, I find tourists can ruin the most peaceful of weekend strolls. Duck & Waffle Local is located in one of those roads that all Londoners know how to get to but most curious tourists would never walk through.
I personally think Haymarket is the perfect location since it’s incredibly easy to get to from all the surrounding areas of Covent Garden, Regent Street, Green Park and The Strand.
The area lacked a fresh approach to modern dining, and Duck & Waffle Local not only brings that but a whole lot more to the table.
One of the things I love the most when it comes to the set-up and seating is the three types of seating areas available.
To the right of the entrance, you have your family-style group dining, with long tables right in front of the open kitchen and the two-seater tables next to the windows. To the left, you’ll find window seats with high stools as well as even more two-seater tables, both next to the drinks island, which by the way, features cocktails on tap created by Head of Spirit & Cocktail Development Richard Woods (@the_cocktailguy).
In an attempt to make you order more than you can handle, you are shown to the Till headlining the open kitchen, where you order both food and drinks. You are then taken to your table to take a seat while your order arrives.
I see why this is profitable, most people like me forget about their weekly budget and get all sorts of tingles at the sight of such beautiful menu. I spent a good 8 minutes reading it from top to bottom, making sure I was choosing the right dishes. The only reason why I would attest to paying in advance is having to settle yet another bill if you end up ordering dessert, which we did.
The Duck Burger, crispy duck leg, crushed noodles, miso mayonnaise and spiced slaw
The burger is incredibly juicy and well put-together. The brioche bun is a match for this type of burger, it adds a lovely sweet warmth to the dish. The burger tasted unbelievably homely. The juices of the duck flow and meet with the miso mayonnaise and the spiced slaw to become a head-spinning combination.
Duck Jam Doughnut with orange glaze
The duck jam doughnut has made it into my top 5 foods list. I would eat it any day, any time. Pulled duck is enclosed in a dough ball that is fried and rolled in a light and soft layer of sugar, then placed in a shallow pool of orange glaze. As you cut into it, the pillowy dough breaks down to reveal the gorgeous pulled duck. Smother some of the orange glaze on top and you have a winning combination. This dish is so simple yet incredibly tasty. The perfect balance of sweet, savoury and crisp all in one dish.
Baked & Pickled Beetroot with Harissa, Organic Yoghurt and Toasted Sunflower Seeds
As a vegetarian option, we went with the baked and pickled beetroot, which consisted of a selection of different varieties of beetroot all cooked using different methods. The combination made for some great flavours, the tanginess from the pickled beetroot was toned down by the creaminess of the yoghurt, then the harissa added a kick to it all. I’m a huge fan of pumpkin seeds, which I believe are generally forgotten – they add both crunch and some lovely earthy nuttiness.
Both of the cones we tried were outstanding. You rarely get to eat an actual ice cream cone at a restaurant as most desserts are plated. Beautifully presented, the desserts had the perfect combination of mind-blowing flavours boasting with sweetness. These waffle cones are the only way to end an already incredible meal on an even higher note. My personal favourite, the caramel banana cone with incredible hazelnut chocolate spread under the sweet vanilla ice cream.
Photography by Benjamin Lynch.