Duck and Waffle

Heron Tower was completed in 2011, and dominates the Bishopsgate skyline along with St Mary’s Axe, aka The Gherkin. After gawking at the AMAZING fish tank in the lobby for a few minutes, we snuck into the small entrance to the side and shot up to the 40th floor (2 above the swanky Sushi Samba) in the outward facing glass lift, so fast our ears popped repeatedly.

The views when you reach the top are just stunning – facing north/west you can see the Emirates Stadium, and as it was a match day at Wembley, the arch was lit up like a Christmas tree. The view towards the river and Canary Wharf is probably the nicest, so I would recommend requesting a table on that side. The general feel of the place is swanky luxury, but the staff are friendly enough for it to also have a relaxed atmosphere. As we arrived early, we settled down by the bar and ordered some drinks and a some of the crispy pigs ears. The cocktails were spot on, and consistently so throughout the night, at around the £10-13 mark. The pigs ears were thin strips fried to a crisp in a light batter and dusted with a smokey seasoning, perfect to nibble with a drink.

Moving from the boomingly loud bar to the quieter but bustling dining area, we were placed in the middle of the room. I’ll talk quickly about the service as there were a lot of dishes ordered to get through – throughout the night our waiter was excellent, answering any (some bizarre – blame alcohol, or lack of boundaries of my friends) questions we had and generally looking after us well.

On to the food. First up a couple of breads – the house plain, and the Nduja & Gruyere.  The plain came with some excellent oil, while the Nduja was spread over the other one like a paste, both good, not much else to say.

From the ‘Raw’ section;

Carlingford rock oysters – I am an oyster virgin. They look hideous and I couldn’t bring myself to try them, but decided a few months ago that I really should at least once. Since then, I have ordered them a few times only to be told they were out of stock every single time. Fate. I finally tried them here, and they were very creamy tasting, although I don’t have much to compare with. Not bad, but not my favourite seafood…

Scallops – these are my favourite seafood, but were quite disappointing for me. 5 slivers of scallop were barely noticeable on top of the chunk of apple and truffle, and while prettily presented on pink Himalayan salt blocks they were far too salty because of it.

Fillet of Beef – razor thin beef was covered in blobs of sweet foie gras and grated pecorino and truffle, this was quite rich but delicious.

From the ‘Small Plates’ section;

Roasted octopus – this was served with crispy little deep-fried capers and crumbs of chorizo. Very nice flavours, but this was probably my least favourite dish because the octopus was a little bit tough.

Pollock meatballs – the fish was perfectly cooked, star of the show here though was the lobster cream which was lovely, could drink a pint of the stuff. Would be amazing on pasta…

Foie gras all day breakfast – this was probably the most bizarre sounding dish on the menu, mainly because of the use of Nutella. It turned out to be a barely sweet homemade version, which went suprisingly well with the other bits of the dish – little crisp nuggets of black pudding, brioche, pancetta, foie gras and topped with a quails egg. Excellent sweet/savoury dish.

Spicy ox cheek doughnut – this was a huge ball, looking a bit like a scotch egg made with an ostrich egg. The smoked paprika sugar was delicious, as was the ox-cheek filling, however I think because of the size of the thing, the dough in the middle was undercooked and raw, and the apricot jam it was served with was left untouched due to its sourness.

From the ‘For the table’ section;

Duck & Waffle – well, you have to order it, don’t you? A bit of a decadent riff on the chicken and waffle dish you can find across the Atlantic. A crispy confit duck leg on top of half a buttermilk waffle (quite dense, would have preferred a softer, lighter one), topped with a duck egg with a mustard/maple sauce. Duck egg was a bit unnecessary with the already rich duck, would have preferred something to cut through the oil, like watermelon or something. Very tasty though.

Whole roasted chicken – I think this was my favourite dish of the lot. Perfectly cooked, breasts juicy and legs falling off the bone, with an amazing herby/truffly gravy and mushrooms. If you like a good sunday roast you have to get this.

Slightly tipsy at this point, we ordered some desserts. Rhubarb and custard was served with a rice pudding that seemed to be made of whipped cream, with a spicy ginger biscuit. Deep fried Mars bar is exactly what it says on the tin, sickly sweet after the first mouthful.


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