Duck and waffle has to be the second worst-kept, best secret in London. (The first is obviously MI6 – even I knew the game was up as soon as the head office of British intelligence was announced over automated bus tannoys…). Glorious views, never ending flat whites and oozy brunch eggs whilst hanging out in the clouds.
|Just that view – and it’s not even the really pretty side…|
With a weekend waiting list as long as your arm despite being open 24 hours a day (though there is scientific proof that 7am on a Sunday morning in the capital doesn’t actually exist, usually due to excesses the evening before) when offered a table at fairly short notice it’s impossible to say no to.
With a tummy-lurchingly fast glass lift (perfect for interrogating height-phobic bloggers) 40 floors of glass sheathed floors fall away to reveal a unique combination of ancient church belfries and gleaming office buildings.
We were greeted, divested of our coats and seated with military precision by the smile wearing, earpiece fitted staff within minutes of arrival at our table, a cozy round booth in the centre of the restaurant floor. A little sad that they couldn’t fit another of our crew in at short notice (despite a coded attempt at my Kiwi accent phoned in the night before) for their sake we trucked on, coffees at our elbows. With a couple of recommendations off the menu – bacon wrapped dates and the lobster brulee, it was still a hard decision for any of us to come to.
With gluten-free waffles perfected by the head chef, it felt churlish not to try the signature dish Duck & Waffle. It was an unusual mixture of perfectly cooked textures (and a slightly guilty moment of working out which came first the duck or the egg boom tich!) drizzled with the mustard maple syrup. Whilst it was nice, something in the dish just didn’t rock my world. Perhaps a little dry, perhaps missing a little acidity to balance the perfectly cooked unctuous egg and confit duck, I’m not sure. I’ve never been a fan of pancakes & maple syrup without another crunch or flavour so it might be that prejudice rearing up – perhaps I was just too taken with the view or my astrological planets weren’t quite aligning at that moment, we’ll never know.
I have to admit to a little bit of food envy when the girls’ ‘Full Elvis’ waffles of peanut butter, bananas brulee, chantilly cream and a sprinkle of berries, hit the table. I did however pinch a forkful of Mina’s ox cheek ragout doughnut – wow. Rich, beautifully flavoured and quite fascinating it made for quite some dish.
Our tummies full, memory cards bursting with photos and chatter all spent, it was sadly time to depart for weekend chores, blog drafting and hanging out on the sofa with the cat – all essential chores to begin the week…
…but not before we espied the rather fabulous staircase down to SushiSamba. Bejewelled and vibrantly hued, the waiting area is a fascinating placed all of it’s own – perfect for a sunset (or sunrise – I need to get this in the diary, how beautiful would that be!) celebration drink.
Full of quirky character, the design is a funky combination of a little bit of everything; splashes of colour and beautifully ornate floor tiles to put Lisbon to shame – but really, it’s the view that captures the eye. We were surprised at how good the acoustics were for the size of the main restaurant room, because let’s be frank bloggers like to talk, oh bloggers do like to talk!
With the gorgeous sunset we were treated to at the Gherkin, I think the Gherkin still retains my favourite, delicious view of the city – we’ll just have to return for sunset to really compare like for like.
Tip: due to the layout of the room when we went, if you’re hoping for an uninterrupted view it may be best to pop along in pairs – the majority of bigger group tables were central to the room.
Mission: Duck & Waffle complete.