Monday, 18 February 2013

Duck and Waffle

It's hard to dine with a view in London - not much of the river is developed, and there aren't so many tall buildings with restaurants. Some of London's best views are, rightly, protected parkland. Where you do get a view, you often pay through the teeth for it, unless it's a dull mid price chain on the Southbank, which is a bit pointless.

But Duck and Waffle up Heron Tower may just hit that sweet spot. It opened in August last year, and I made it up there just before Christmas. 

First impression's are pretty swanky. You enter the bottom of the skyscraper, a receptionist checks off your booking and sends you up in the express elevator to the top floor. It's bloody terrifying how fast it goes up; your ears pop and London gets smaller and smaller very quickly. We were there on a glorious, crisp, clear December morning and light was beaming in through all the glass. The dining room isn't so big, but has 360 degree views. It's quite Jetsons with some 50s inspired rounded diner sofas.

We were just there for brunch (and an early one at that!), but much of their menu is available 24/7 (it really is open 24/7 - a rarity for London). Three of us opted for the signature dish: duck and waffle:

It's a confit duck leg, on top of waffles (Belgian style) with a duck egg on top and a side serving of maple syrup with mustard seeds in. The duck leg was super succulent - falling off the bone and rich with the flavour of its own fat. The maple syrup with mustard is a play on a Deep South smother for fried chicken, and worked well with the duck and the waffle. The waffle, too, a play on a soul food tradition. It's part of the posh junk food thing, but definitely at the, er, highest end of it.

Priced at £15, it's not a huge amount for the money, but considering the view (think Shard tickets are £25!) and the quality of the ingredients, it's actually a pretty good deal. One slight quibble was that the service didn't quite match the rest of the experience. Waiters didn't quite have the kind of flair you would expect, weren't very attentive or confident serving. That said, the rest of the menu looks good, and I'll be back to explore further.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

L'entrpot E8, Dalston Lane

( Hackney brunch map is here)

A great addition to the local brunch scene is L'entrepot E8, a big warehousey restaurant-cum-wineshop right by Hackney Downs station. It's run by the Borough Wine lot, so it's a mix of well-chosen wines, and a short menu of French/Spanish inspired main meals and platters. But L'entrepot is not so well known for it's weekend brunch options - and you're missing out if you haven't tried it!

The brunch menu is sporadically posted on their twitter. It's short, but sweet - offering a good selection of fancy, classic, healthy. Pete and I both had to have the boudin noir with caramelised apple and poached egg - it sounded too good to go for different options, we'd have just felt cheated!

It was absolutely delicious. The boudin noir was so soft and rich, and its saltiness worked amazingly with the sweet, buttery apple. The poached egg was cooked perfectly. It came with a piece of sourdough toast too, which was very useful for soaking up Every Last Bit. Because it was that good.

It was pretty quiet when we were there - granted, it was FREEZING COLD, and about 11.30am on the Saturday morning after pay day. I imagine it's busier later on in the afternoon; either way, a great addition to the Hackney brunch picture.