Duck and Waffle Local, Covent Garden, London
Duck and Waffle Local is the spinoff sibling from the iconic Duck and Waffle high in the sky at level 40 of the Heron Tower. I’ve had two visits to this Covent Garden/ Haymarket/ St James’s location, with extremely mixed results. Overall I conclude that it certainly does give you a taste of the same duck-themed menu, but without that fabulous view it doesn’t quite have the same level of glamour or success.
You quack me up
You have to be careful organising a meal at Duck and Waffle Local, as to ensure that your party does not arrive at the incorrect location! Duck and Waffle Local is still a duckling in one sense, it only opened May of 2017. I thought it might be worth a try for a second catch up with my cousin before she left London. See our first meal at Wahaca South Bank.
This end up being lesser of the two dining experiences for a number of reasons. The food still has the Heron Tower price tag, so anticipate small portions, but tasty and clever food. The service (or lack thereof) on our visit was pretty much the worse I’ve had in London to date so much that I ended up writing a strongly worded letter the following day! The general manager was very good about this, and invited me back in with the offer of a complimentary drink. It was a nice gesture and the service was faultless on the second visit to his credit. And I like a freebie, how can I deny?
I should talk about the food right? The first time we dined on the Duck Burger (£12) and the young fried chicken (£16). Even without the drama of the service, the food was nothing to sing home about. The burger has a cool mix of fillings: noodles, miso mayonnaise and slaw but the overall result ends up being bland. The best of the experience was the lentil and confit onion ragout that came with my chicken, so creamy and green and light. Love it. The chicken, however, was forgettable.
Second time lucky
My second time at Duck and Waffle local things had an a uplift all around. The restaurant was a lot busier. There was a reasonable level of staff. And even the food tasted better. This time we had the grilled duck breast satay (£12) and the signature duck and waffle (£15). Pretty much everyone I know who’s been (to the tower one) says to stay clear of the mediocre duck and waffle dish. After this I tend to agree, though it wasn’t offensively bad. A comically small portion.
I enjoyed the duck breast satay, with a zesty side of quinoa. Despite being called large plates, they’re not. But it was enough for my appetite on this occasion. That is, keeping in mind I saved some space for the dessert. We had cocktails as well and I liked these a lot. Interesting and big.
The Full Elvis was a redeeming part of the Duck and Waffle Local experience. Available in a cone, or a waffle (as with the other two dessert options), it features an electric mix of caramelised banana, peanut butter, jam and peanut brittle. Super delicious and even less guilt-ridden when shared.
So overall, my opinion of Duck and Waffle vastly improved with the second chance. I’ll be keen to check out the heights of the full Duck and Waffle offering, but will likely pass on the local ones for now.