Review of 'Duck and Waffle Local'

I have heard good things about the “Duck and Waffle” restaurant located on the 40th floor of 110 Bishopsgate so when I saw the “Duck and Waffle Local” open in the new “St James's Market” development (between Haymarket and south Regent Street beside Piccadilly Circus) I was immediately interested in visiting particularly when I saw their simple but delicious-looking, and surprisingly inexpensive, menu. The opportunity presented itself yesterday when were in the area looking for lunch.

The industrial cool interior has a bar area immediately on the left with seats along the window then a takeaway counter beside the open kitchen area with the central seating area all along the side set of windows. Despite the harsh furnishings it was not as noisy as might be expected with the music only slightly louder than I would have liked. The tables are fairly close together but for the most part I barely noticed as I was concentrating too much on the wonderful food.

The “bites” section of the single-sided A4 paper menu had a few things that caught the attention: “fried duck gizzards with English mustard” (£4), “foie gras crème brûlée with sourdough toast” (£7) and “crispy duck necks with bbq seasoning” (£4). I was going to order the gizzards when our young server instead suggested the “BBQ Spiced Crispy Pig's Ears” (£6) which was absolutely amazing - Served in a paper bag piping hot but in no way greasy with the crispy sliced pigs ear covered with a spice mixture that was slightly sweet. These disappeared very quickly after arriving at the table (only very slightly put off by my companion finding a small trace of pig hair in her portion…she still ate it mind you…).

There are two sections serving main dishes: “not duck”, concentrating on vegetarian (!) dishes, and “big duck” concentrating on, well, duck. We chose to stick to “big duck” which has five dishes from which I ordered the “duck & waffle - confit leg, fried duck egg, mustard maple syrup” (£14), wanting to give their obviously signature dish a try. Amazing. A bit tricky to eat with a confit leg sitting on top of a waffle with a deliciously fresh fried duck egg on top but I managed to dissect the dish and finish it off very quickly. The fresh waffle remained crispy with the duck beautifully tender without being at all oily. I can't say I caught the flavour of mustard at all in the maple syrup but instead enjoyed the contrast of the sweetness with the rest of the savoury dish.

My companion had the “duck merguez flatbread - fried duck egg, harissa, yoghurt, pickles, coriander & mint” (£11) which she reported being very tasty and, despite appearances, not a massive portion. The harissa flavour did dominate here but not unpleasantly so with the fresh flatbread very good indeed and the duck sausages very nice indeed.

I had ordered “duck fat fries with rosemary salt” (£3) but they never arrived at the table (nor were we charged for them - when one of our numerous servers found out about this when picking up our main's plates she offered to bring them for us if we wished or we could just continue on to something else…). Truth be told when a neighbouring table ordered them they looked just like normal fries with only the barest dusting of rosemary so, perhaps, not much lost.

We were convinced by our server to give one of the “sweet waffles” on the menu a try: “'the full Elvis' - peanut butter, strawberry jam, Chantilly cream, vanilla ice cream, peanut brittle & berries” (£7; evidently all deserts available on a waffle or in a cone…we chose the former). We split this between the two of us but it was actually quite light and I am sure I could have made short work of it myself. Again the dish was so fresh that the waffle was crunchy and hot with the half slice of slightly under-ripe, firm, banana lightly brûlée'd. The flavours were all delicious but not, IMHO, sickly sweet. Very good.

For drinks I was happy to see the sparkling or still water on the menu for £2 and bottomless with an explanation that they do not carry mineral water. For this we actually had a “Duck & Waffle”-branded bottle on the table and given two glasses. My companion had the rosé wine (on tap; £6 glass or £20-ish for 500 ml bottle - far more economical by the glass) which she reported was “quite nice”.

Occasionally during lunch it was difficult to find a server as we had at least 2 or 3 of them during the course of our visit but other than that they were very helpful and friendly, chatting away quite amiably as much or as little as we liked. At £50.62 for the two of us (including a discretionary 12.5% service charge) it is a bit pricey for lunch every day but we will doubtless be back again with the delicious food, and friendly staff though slightly crowded, potentially noisy, interior.

If you are looking for something a slight cut above the options available in the heart of tourist-y London I cannot recommend “Duck and Waffle Local” more highly for a reasonably priced, slightly posh though simple, delicious meal.

Rating: “Nearly perfect, but not quite”

Review Date: 2017-07-01

Cuisine: American/British

Address: 52 Haymarket, St. James's, London SW1Y 4RP ENGLAND

Public Transport: TUBE Piccadilly Circus

Location: London (England) - Piccadilly Circus



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Telephone: +44 (0) 20 3900 4444