I thought it might be a bit wank because of its location - 40th floor of the Heron Tower in the City, above Sushi Samba. (Sushi Samba = a New York 'hip' sushi fushion chain of restaurants, which is hip in a cougar / banker way (i.e. not at all), rather than a beardy / jumpers that don't fit way.)
We popped into Sushi Samba for a drink before our dinner and it was properly full of nob-heads. Two South African big swinging city dicks next to me at the bar, moaning about their kids waking them up in the morning, and fantasising about a Russian hooker named Tatiana.
The bar man was also a dick, and the wine by the glass was undrinkable. The food smelled good, and the view is AMAZING, and the roof top bar, if it were not full of nob-heads, would be bloody brilliant. You can see the whole of London twinkling (it's a bit like one of those cut-away scenes in The Apprentice that they film from Sir Alan's chopper.)
I thought Duck and Waffle would be the same as Sushi Samba - they're owned by the same people: i.e. relying on the fact that it has one of the best views in London, and that it's on Broadgate, so everyone within a square mile is square mile.
I think it's the best new restaurant I've been to in London in, like, ever.
The decor is properly jangly.
And they do silly, pretentious things like 'introduce you' to their cocktails. I introduced myself to one of their Manhattans, which came with a cinammon smoke, which I inhaled from the decanter (I don't think you're meant to do this) and it was like smoking a clove cigarette when you're an early teen, i.e. not a good idea.
But then we came to the food, and it was kil-ler.
My friend asked the waiter what the chef would recommend, and the waiter said we could go and ask him ourselves, so we went into the kitchen and chatted to the poor guy (two drunk women on a Friday night, just what he needed.) He recommended the cod tongues, and the pigs ears. I explained that I don't do tongues or ears - well not on a first date anyway. Besides, do cods have tongues to write home about? Regardless, he sent us out a bag of pigs ears anyway, gratis - and they were delish - a revelation.
We ate the flatbread with brandade and charred tomato jam - and as soon as I started eating it, I wanted to order another one. Totally amazing - warm, fresh bread with a salty brandade and a sweet, sharp tomato jam cutting through - outstanding combo.
Then we had bacon wrapped dates. I'd like to go on some bacon wrapped dates. They were beyond. And we had the scallops with apple and lime, which were good. But they came on this weird bar of salt which reminded me of those mineral deoderant bars that were big 15 years ago when it was thought deoderant gave you cancer, so that was a bit strange.
Then on to meatballs and tomato sauce with ricotta, pine nuts and garlic bread - and while I don't do tongues or ears, I have no problem with balls. Utterly delicious - and again, tomato, cheese, and meat - plus garlic bread - not sure one can go wrong with that combo.
The signature dish, duck and waffles was quacking (sorry) - fried duck egg, duck, a waffle, and mustard maple syrup. I read one review somewhere that said duck doesn't go with waffles. That's like saying bacon doesn't go with french toast, or crinkle cut crisps don't go with Dairy Milk: wrong. A combo of tender meat, crunchy fat, soft sweet baked goods, and sharp sweet syrup - it works, it works.
Which brings me on to my favourite dish of the night, nay the year: Foie Gras All Day Breakfast. We ate this dish and immediately ordered and ate it again.
It was a work of genius, a total 'THIS S*** IS F***ED UP AND I LOVE IT' dish, of audacity and brilliance, and the chef deserves a gold medal for it.
Beautiful brioche, with a tranche of fois gras, bacon, eggs, (two little balls of black pudding which I ignored because I try to ignore things that I don't like, with limited success usually) - and the absolutely mental part of it - a slathering of chocolate spread. I know what you're thinking: 'THAT S*** IS F***ED UP / THAT SOUNDS GROSS / YOU ARE WEIRD AND WRONG.' All of these things are true, except I am not wrong. Honestly it was like an insane trip of flavour, texture, salt, fat, sweet, soft, crunch and happy.
We left on a cloud of goodwill and meat-sweats. Book now, before the South African bankers and Tatiana get in there first...