Let’s take a quick break from these retrospective Paris posts because I’m dying to bring you a very special post from right here in Londontown. D’s birthday brunch up in the clouds was one to remember; this freakishly gorgeous weather we’re having at the moment was perfectly timed when you find yourself heading up 40 floors in a lift to drink in delicious views of the City.
Here’s a little peak of the eponymous duck and waffle…
But let me take you on a journey to new heights of British cuisine…
Starting in a glass-fronted lift which can be found through an entrance of the Heron Tower dedicated to Duck + Waffle and Sushi Samba, D+W’s slightly lower (it occupies the 38th and 39th floor), slightly more Asian sister restaurant. You are propelled upwards into the sky in seconds as you watch “London: the birds eye view” unfold beneath you.
An interesting entrance bar greets you. Although it looks like a rebellious teenager has vented frustration in a glass recycling depot, it somehow pulls together to create a sleek, modern welcome space.
Sidle on through to the main room, where you’ll be seated in a leather booth if you’re lucky, or a window table if you’re dining à deux. We arrived in time for brunch, but D+W serve 24hrs a day so the options are endless. Nevertheless, reservations are essential and be prepared to go through a fairly rigorous booking process (please state your party size, great aunt’s maiden name and average golf score over nine holes)…
The view is second to none. Despite the various restaurants nestled in London’s newest, tallest skyscraper (The Shard) D+W remains the highest restaurant in London, and therefore the prime place to enjoy sky-high views of the city whilst munching on some Daniel Doherty creations.
The ox cheek benedict provide a refreshing twist on a classic, the perfect hearty start for the birthday boy and his brother also followed suit.
G couldn’t resist the foie gras crème brulée topped with lobster and accompanied by a generous portion of brioche, and who could blame her? It was the naughtiest thing we ordered but arguably the best. Cracking through the glazed top to scoop out a spoonful of foie gras below was pretty enjoyable to say the least.
I didn’t need to look further than the first thing on the menu; the duck egg ‘en cocotte’ with mushrooms, gruyère, truffle and soldiers jumped out at me straight away. Served on a rustic chopping board in a cast iron saucepan, it might well feature among the most delicious, comforting dishes I’ve ever eaten. They don’t hold back on the cheese, making it a fairly ‘stringy’ experience but it slips down oh-so easily and warms your soul from the belly up.
Smiles all around before we’d even tried the main event! Their signature dish and the restaurant’s namesake, the duck confit served on a waffle with a fried egg on top is a must-order, even if only to see what all the fuss is about. Its price has climbed since opening in 2012 and now sits at £17 for what is arguably a very small dish but ordering one to share takes the sting out of it. Besides, the flavour combination is a very rich one and a half portion is more than sufficient.
We actually split it four ways, all wanting a taste but having been tempted by other options for our own orders. G took on the meticulous task of dividing it into quarters – no mean feat given its fiddly nature and dangerously runny egg yolk. But she succeeded spectacularly and we were all handed a couple of mouthfuls’ worth on a plate.
The idea is to drizzle maple syrup over it to really confuse the sweet and savoury taste buds. This trendy mixing of opposing flavours is a winner in my eyes, though I’m inclined to think it works slightly better with salty bacon than duck which can get more easily swallowed by the sweetness. As a texture combination, however, this dish is perfection.
As the sun-drenched London streets and the sunny banks of the Thames beckoned us from below we reluctantly bade farewell to our new favourite 40th floor hang out.
We swapped killer views for touristy hot-spots along the river, walking and chatting for the rest of the day.
In my first few days back from Paris, I couldn’t help but feel that London has lost its sparkle. I didn’t see this coming – as sad as I was to leave Paris, I’ve been in love with London my whole life and I was so excited to return. So I’ve embarked on a mission to fall back in love with London and days like this go a long way to getting me there. I see London as my loyal husband and Paris as my secret, passionate love affair. But with no plans to return to Paris in the near future, London – I’m giving you all I’ve got.
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