Duck & Waffle comes down to earth: we Test Drive Duck & Waffle Local

Hot Dinners, May 2017

So what do we need to know about Duck and Waffle local?
It’s VERY different to the other Duck & Waffle. Let us count the ways…

Where is it?
Well for starters – it’s not at the top of the Heron Tower. It’s at ground floor level on the corner of Haymarket and the new St James Market development.

Where should we meet friends for a drink first?
Your options in this area are pretty limited. There’s the bar at the Haymarket Hotel perhaps, but really you’d be better off meeting here as one of the useful things they do have here is a bar. It’s not standalone, so you can’t just come here for a drink (although if you were just popping in for a cocktail and some chips that would be OK too). But If you’re intending to have dinner, it’s a handy place to meet friends for a drink.

cremebrulee

Duck liver creme brulee 

How does it differ to the original?
The best way to think about this is that your experience here starts out as a fast food one – you can opt either for a takeaway or to eat in. To kick it all off, you come up and order your drinks and food at the counter first. If you’re eating in, you then go and find a table and your food is brought to you.

At this point the experience becomes more of a classic restaurant one – with full service. If you want to order more food and drink you don’t return to the counter, your waiter will bring it and you can stay as long as you want. They call it “a chef curated, fast casual restaurant”.

So it’s fast food?
Ish. If we HAD to compare, it’s like a more upmarket Nandos with added table service. But even that doesn’t quite do it justice. There’s nothing really quite like it in the London market right now.

restaurant

The restaurant 

What’s on the menu?
A LOT of duck. Much more so that the original. So snacks include duck gizzards, duck wings duck necks – you get the drift. The menu’s split into snacks, different duck mains, vegetables and desserts. There’s also a cracking looking breakfast menu with dishes like grilled cheese with duck jam and fried duck egg, Colombian eggs and, of course, the signature dish Duck & Waffle which is available all day.

And so what should we order?
If you haven’t had the actual duck and waffle, this should be on your list. Other must-order dishes, in our humble opinion, would be:

  • The duck liver creme brulee (£6) – yes, it is as good as it sounds. This may become a signature dish, we think.
  • The duck burger – crispy duck leg with crushed noodles, miso mayo and spiced slaw (£10). Chef Dan Doherty told us he’d spent AGES refining this bad boy and it shows. The noodles are a touch that work surprisingly well.
  • Heritage carrots and spiced chickpea salad with labneh and pomegranate (£6) – this was the only veggie dish we had and it made us want to order the rest of this section.

Make sure you leave room for one of the sweet waffle cones (all £6) – they’re huge and come in a variety of flavours including The Full Elvis.

waffle

The dessert waffles

What about drinks?
The drinks section of the menu features a range of on tap and pre-bottled cocktails – the Breakfast Fizz with Grey Goose, grapefruit and burnt toast infusion (£7) was particularly good. There are two beers on tap too and a short selection of wines picked by Roberson Wine. Sadly these are currently only available in 125ml glasses, something we’re not fans of. We’d suggest at least putting a pot or carafe on the menu too.

Overall thoughts
It’s not often someone tries something really new in London, so we applaud the folk at Duck and Waffle for having a go. We’re not quite sure that having duck be the only meat on offer is something they’ll stick with, but let’s see. To be honest, we miss some of the more piggy treats from the original (like the crispy pig ears) and hope they make an appearance.

The best way to use Duck and Waffle local would be to dive in for a drink and a bite on various occasions and work your way through the menu that way. And we’ll be back to try that breakfast menu for sure.

What: Duck & Waffle Local

Where: 52 Haymarket, London SW1Y 4RP

How to book: It’s a walk-in only spot.

Find out more: On their website or follow them on Twitter @duckwafflelocal.

Hot Dinners were invited to Duck & Waffle Local, prices were correct at the time of writing.