We’ve now completed our trio of ‘high breakfasts’ – places to have breakfasts with great views over London – with a visit to the highest up of them all, indeed the highest restaurant in the U.K. – The Duck and Waffle on the 40th floor of the Heron Tower on Bishopsgate. We have thus continued to find these breakfast venues at altitude terrific destination places for an early start to the day with friends from out of town, with business acquaintances, or just for the occasional special treat. Breakfast is a great time to try these out. Food is often available well below the cost of that of the dinner menus, yet the views don’t change and, unless you’re unlucky with the weather, the morning light brings you perhaps the clearest outlook.
The Duck and Waffle restaurant is accessed by a glass express lift, shared with SushiSamba restaurant which is on the 39th floor, which runs up the west (Bishopsgate) side of the City’s tallest office block. No. It’s not as high as the Shard but the latter is in Southwark, not the City – and the two restaurants at the top of the Heron Tower, Duck and Waffle and Sushi Samba, are both at a higher elevation than any of the Shard’s restaurant s. Unusually the Duck and Waffle is open 24 hours, so if you want something to eat a say 4 am then that is one of the few places to open at that time to go to. It has Breakfast (served 6 am to 11 am), All Day (11.30 am to midnight), Late Night (Midnight to 6.00 am) menus as well as lunch and dinner menus and perhaps it comes into its own in the evenings with some modernistic internal light effects and looking out over the night time skyline.
At weekends breakfast is served from 6 am to 9 am, and then brunch from 9 am to 4 pm.
The glass elevator – a visual ride which is almost worth the cost of the breakfast alone – whisks you rapidly up to the 40th floor, but then there is a walk through a rather dark and narrow corridor (past the loos so at least you don’t have to ask where they are) through to a modernistic and stylish bar area and then to the restaurant proper. Floor to ceiling windows on three sides make it really bright and modern in appearance. There is a mixture of tan coloured banquettes mostly in the centre of the area and smaller tables around the windows but the layout can be changed to suit larger groups if necessary. Overall the restaurant can seat around 100 people.
We were shown to a corner table by the charming hostess and presented with the menus and asked what we would like to drink. I ordered a pot of filter coffee and my colleague a pot of green tea which were brought promptly and I also had a freshly squeezed orange juice.
The menu is not large, but does offer quite a wide variety of dishes from Belgian waffles (£8.50) unless one tries the Full Elvis one at £15 –perhaps, like the late lamented Elvis, a little over the top – through to more standard breakfast items like the ubiquitous full English (£15), smoked haddock with poached egg, hash browns and English mustard cream sauce (£12). (If you’re unsure about the sauce order it on the side. I was – I am not a fan of English mustard – but it appeared safely in a little side dish allowing me to taste, reject and continue, but normally it would have been poured over the smoked haddock!) The restaurant’s signature dish – duck and waffle – is also available on the breakfast menu (£15). There are, of course, various egg options including Oxcheek Benedict at (£11)
Lighter options include a selection of pastries (£5.50), Tropical fruit salad (£6), Greek yoghurt with granola and fruit compote (£5.50).
So a more than adequate selection of breakfast options, well-prepared and service was efficient and friendly. A good breakfast venue from a food point of view therefore. But it is the views which attracts diners – either to enjoy, or to impress guests and those from the Duck and Waffle are spectacular – and different in that it is the heart of the City rather than looking towards it. Our table had views which looked down on The Gherkin – and across to Canary Wharf in the east – and Crystal Palace to the south. The other side looked out over to the Cheese Grater and the Barbican partly hidden behind City Point was to the west.
So, for a leisurely breakfast taking in some spectacular views, Duck and Waffle is hard to beat as a breakfast destination, particularly if one has plenty of time to relax and take in the outlook while having a leisurely breakfast. It won’t break the bank either. Sure you can certainly get lower cost breakfasts in other locations, but no views, and a Duck and Waffle breakfast certainly is no more pricey than a breakfast in most of London’s 4* and 5* hotels.
Duck and Waffle is in the Heron Tower, 110 Bishopgate, London EC2N 4AY. Telephone: +44 203 640 7310 (bookings advisable – it can get busy. Email reservations at firstname.lastname@example.org. There is a dress code – no sportswear, beachwear or flipflops and heavy camera equipment is not allowed.
Weekdays: Breakfast 6am – 11am; Lunch 11:30am – 4:30pm; Dinner 5:30pm – 12am; Late night 12am – 5am
Weekends: Breakfast 6am – 9am; Brunch 9am – 4:00pm; Dinner 5:00pm – 11:30pm; Late night 12am – 5am
Menus are available for viewing on the restaurant website – www.duckandwaffle.com as is online booking.