Expectations were high after numerous recommendations and rave reviews about new new concept – Duck & Waffle on the 40th floor of the Heron Tower in Bishopsgate. An innovative and unique dining experience was what I hoped for, yet when we arrived and asked to wait in the bar and have a drink, there was no one taking charge or recommending drinks or even giving out a menu. So after asking the barman for a menu we were then ushered straight to the table ‘cocktail-less’, not the seamless approach you would expect. Also losing them £24 off their bottom line.
We were sat by the host who had no personality or finesse and didn’t look remotely happy to be there. Serious lack of warmth from all of the staff when I come to think of it! The waiter came over and instantly began with a negative, “So today isn’t the best day to come, we’ve run out of a few dishes; we have no bread, rabbit rillets, the foie gras and no oysters. We’ve had some large tables in for lunch.” Fair enough 2 large tables were seated, but surely for a restaurant equipped with a 24 hour capacity they could deliver some bread and knew they would be full. Clearly no one managing the stock.To start myself and my fellow diner Mr H shared the mackerel tartare / pickled cucumber / smoked vodka / crème fraîche / £6 (with sourdough) not sure where the bread came from. We also had yellowfin tuna / watermelon / balsamic / basil / £7. We both looked at each other expecting to be amazed but the flavours, however just shrugged and agreed that they were nice but nothing special.
For mains we shared the roast salt beef / poached hen eggs / English mustard / pickles / £11 and the spiced herdwick lamb cutlets / smoked aubergine / £12. The salt beef was average, I’ve had far better at Smiths of Smithfield or in a bagel. The lamb was supposed to be served medium rare as described by our waiter, however appeared more medium and quite dry, the smoked aubergine had a lovely flavour though. Fine but not how it should have been, my lamb at Cote Brasserie earlier in the week was cooked far better.
Dessert menus appeared and we both instantly decided on Eton mess with wild strawberries. It was more something that you would create at home with the same dry and crunchy shop-bought meringues, whilst we imagined something creamy with delectable chewy meringue. Mr H couldn’t even finish due to a huge chuck of crunchy meringue that at the bottom of the pile. As I’m female I’m able to consume anything sweet, though note that my mum makes better Eton mess with delicious meringues and it doesn’t cost £6 a head.Expectations were high after reading reviews, but with 4 dishes missing, lack lustre service and apologies and consistently asking ‘is everything ok for you?’ – no interest or passion just those five words at any restaurant that are really grating and not personal. It shouldn’t just be ‘OK’ so don’t ask that! An experience at half the price in Brasserie Zedel with exquisite flavours was far better.
The highlight was the lovely bottle of 2010, Wither Hills, Pinot Noir, Marlborough and the lift going up which was much quicker and higher than expected – ears popping high.
I hate to give a negative view of something I had high expectations for but the service was average as was the food and for £110 for two there are far more places I would rather spend my money and surely they should have all of their ducks in a row.