Duck & Waffle

For Halloween this year I was a Happy Foodie.
What does this costume entail? you ask. Take one foodie, place them in a restaurant they’ve been dying to try, throw in a stunning view of London, and allow them to order whatever they want.
Et voilà, Happy Foodie.

Following a spooky screening of Skyfall at the Barbican, I was whisked away in a cab to an unknown destination. I stared out of the black cab’s window at sexy skeletons, scary zombies, and naughty nurses lining the streets of a wet Londontown looking for a wicked night.

I was so wrapped up in after-movie chatter about James Bond’s most recent adventure, I hardly noticed where the cab had dropped us. I turned around to see Heron Tower literally towering over me. This could only mean two things: Duck and Waffle.

I had been wanting to go here for so long, I even made up a Duck & Waffle song.
How does the Duck & Waffle song go? you ask.
Take Wiz Khalifa’s Black and Yellow and replace the chorus with the words Duck n’ Waffle. Sing this repeatedly until your Duck n’ Waffle dreams come true.

I skipped into the building and wiggled my way to the glass window of the elevator, prepared for my rapid lift into the sky. The elevator rose above a sparkling London with butterflies in my stomach from a combination of the height, the excitement, and my growing hunger. This poor woman hid with her face tucked into the corner muttering obscenities and apologising profusely to the rest of us as her partner laughed and tried to point out their flat.

The elevator reached dizzying heights as it came to a stop at the 40th floor and the woman clearly willing to deal with her acrophobia in order to get a taste of Duck & Waffle shot out safely onto solid ground.

We had a few minutes to wait before our table was available so I took the time to be a bit snap happy with the edgy bar and stunning views. The bar is dark and moody with coloured beads in glass bottles as light fixtures. Flashy bankers sit on bar stools sipping overpriced cocktails enjoying the view. Multiple chandeliers hang over the staircase leading down to Duck & Waffle’s sister restaurant Sushi Samba, but we’ll talk more about that another day.

After a few minutes of picture taking with my favourite Swiss Re building and watching the bartenders mechanically mix up cocktails, our table was ready. We were lead to our table with the perfect view of both the beautifully lit skyline, and our fellow diners for a necessary spot of people watching.

We were seated by our lovely waiter and given our menus, which I hardly needed as I had been memorising and fantasising over the dishes for weeks. An intense journey of flavour followed which I can only insist you try for yourself.
I apologise in advance for the quality of the photos. As it was a surprise, I only had my iPhone with me to snap the food porn.

The Dark & Stormy cocktail of dark rum, lime, and homemade ginger beer is bottled and bagged as if you’re being naughty trying to conceal your drink. The concept was strange but different – and I love different. 

First came the BBQ-spiced crispy pig ears.
Pig ears?!
Pig Ears.
Thin strips of crispy, chewy pig ears coated in a spicy sweet BBQ powder were presented in a brown paper bag. They were incredibly moreish and surprisingly filling.

Then came bite size pieces of yellowfin tuna with a cube of watermelon, a drizzle of aged balsamic, a fresh basil leaf, and a sprinkling of rock salt. The textures and flavours were phenomenal. The soft tuna, sweet watermelon, peppery basil, sour vinegar, and flakes of rock salt all tied beautifully together to make the perfect light bite to prepare our palates for the dishes to come.

Our waiter glided over from the kitchen with a plank containing house bread and a sizzling mini cast iron skillet of duck egg en cocotte with wild mushrooms, gruyere, and truffle butter.
I wanted to pick up my mini cast iron skillet and walk straight out of the restaurant to hoard its decadent, sizzling contents to myself.
Instead, I took the spoon and ruptured the yolk to create an oozing, yolky, cheesy, buttery mess of deliciousness. The decadence is then piled onto a piece of warm house bread to create the perfect bite.
Pure. Bliss.
It was a perfect marriage of flavours that resulted in an incredible dish of comfort food.

As we recovered from our previous dish, I started wondering what a spicy ox cheek doughnut entailed. I don’t think I could’ve ever imagined what came from the kitchen next. An ox cheek doughnut bigger than the size of my fist sat menacingly next to a dish of apricot jam. I cut it in half to reveal oozing cheese and tender meat.
A layer of spicy sugar coats the crispy shell of the doughnut. Inside is cakey doughnut with gooey cheese and tender ox cheek which is then dipped into the tangy, sweet apricot jam.
This is by far the most decadent doughnut I’ve ever had.

Now you didn’t expect me to not order the restaurant’s namesake, did you?
Crispy duck leg confit served with a fried duck egg and mustard maple syrup. An epic twist on breakfast with a fried duck egg, a caveman sized duck leg of tender meat, all stacked on top of a fluffy waffle. The mustard seed gave a tangy hint to the sweet maple syrup which each bite was dipped into.
Can you say breakfast of champions?

After breakfast, or dinner rather, came dessert.
Warm chocolate brownie pieces with peanut butter ice cream and crunchy bits of caramel. The star of this show was by far the peanut butter ice cream. As such an indulgent treat on its own, you’d expect its ice cream form to be thick and overwhelming. This was completely the opposite. Light, creamy ice cream with full blown peanut butter flavour. Smeared around the outside was fluffy toasted marshmallow which somehow managed to all end up on my spoon.
The perfect dessert if you ask me.

Duck & Waffle is now open 24/7 and I’m looking forward to watching the sunrise over the city whilst dining on duck and waffle in the early hours of the morning.
The service was absolutely incredible and the food was outstanding as well as being affordable, which is always a major plus.
Visit their website here and be sure to make reservations during peak hours.


Pumpkin Spice Bars

Do you want to know the best thing about October: all things pumpkin.
As the leaves begin to change, the scarves are pulled out form their hiding places, and the frantic Halloween costume search begins, there’s only one thing I can think about: Pumpkins.

I absolutely love pumpkin flavoured anything. 
How could you not?

Every year I indulge in Pumpkin Spice Lattes, light Pumpkin Spice candles, and make my favourite Pumpkin Spice Bars.

To make your Pumpkin Spice treats, you’ll need:
4 eggs
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin – if in London, try Whole Foods Market
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cloves

Preheat oven to 350 F (175 C). Cover the sides and bottom of a 10×15 pan with non-stick spray.
In a large bowl, combine eggs, sugar, oil, and pumpkin. Beat this together until your ingredients are combined and your mixture is smooth. Stir in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, salt, and cloves.
Spread batter into your prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes.
Whilst your cake is in the oven, you can make your cream cheese frosting. After removing your pumpkin cake from the oven, allow it to cool completely. No picking!

To make a luscious Cream Cheese Frosting, you’ll need:
16 ounces of cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

In a medium bowl, cream together the cream cheese and butter until combined and smooth. Mix in the vanilla, then gradually stir in confectioners’ sugar. Beat until light and creamy.
Spread evenly onto your pumpkin cake, cut into bars and serve up your little taste of October!

Insta-Catch Up

I’ve been quite the busy bee lately. Lots of late nights and busy days.
Have you been the same?
I thought we’d do a quick little catch up of what’s been going on.

I was wandering around Camden the other day on some very official business, and had to take a minute to stare at the beautiful Camden Lock. There are certain parts of London that make you feel as if you are no longer in a bustling, cosmopolitan city. Camden Lock is one of those places.
If you haven’t strolled around Camden Lock on a Sunday afternoon, you now know what you’re doing this Sunday.
Wander the food market and sample dishes from all over the world, shop around the strange little shops and stalls, and be sure to get your fill of people watching with the funky crowd that calls Camden home.

Along with the goths, hipsters, and strange individuals forever adding flavour to Camden, I found these feathery friends floating along the Lock.
During the week, I had the lovely opportunity to dine in the Italian Room at Novikov. The room is massive and airy with a modern, Tuscan decor. We had a lovely three course meal of Beef Carpaccio, Flat Stone Roast Chicken with Rosemary Roast Potatoes, and a delicious Tiramisu. Then we wandered through the “Market Place” in the Asian Dining Room which had  beautiful vegetables, spices, and seafood displayed in front of the kitchen. The best thing about October: Pumpkin flavoured everything.

Had a lovely Whole Foods date with lots of sushi.

Found some stunning artichokes displayed at Whole Foods. Aren’t they beautiful? I also found a stand jam-packed with “Thanksgiving Essentials.” I can’t wait for this year’s feast!
Another stunning display at Whole Foods of Mushroom Madness. I see a theme developing here involving displays of food…
I tried Vita Coco’s new Tropical Fruit flavoured Coconut Water. I’d recommend trying it, but definitely prefer Coconut Water without flavouring. Natural goodness. I’ve been getting excited for Halloween and loved these spooky cupcakes from the amazing bakery at Whole Foods.
I just love the simple fresh flavours of Thai Summer Rolls. The Thai Basil and Peanut Sauce pack such incredible flavour. I may just have to do a Recipe Post on these. Look what I found! These truly are the Brit version of an American favourite: Sour Patch Kids. The kids look and taste different, but are still delicious! 

I’m glad we caught up. Anything exciting that you’ve been up to that I should try in LDN?