What: A more casual offshoot of high-rise London restaurant Duck & Waffle has landed in the shiny St James’s Market development, just down the road from Piccadilly Circus.
Who: It’s the second collaboration between Duck and Waffle’s chef director Dan Doherty and the group’s owner Samba Brands Management, which is also behind the Sushisamba restaurants.
The vibe: Fast and casual are the words of the day here. Duck & Waffle Local is designed as a more accessible version of its Heron Tower counterpart, not least because it doesn’t require shooting up 40 floors in a vertigo-inducing glass elevator just to get through the door. You order your food at the counter, before a waiter shows you to your seat and it’s table service from then on. Despite the emphasis on speed, the dining room has a more relaxed feel than its predecessor, with a mix of tables and counter seating facing bustling Haymarket through the floor-to-ceiling glass windows. The interior has a more tongue in cheek design, with plants and gardening tools spread across the walls and a nest of wood and corrugated metal hanging above the door.
The menu: Service may be quick, but this is far from typical fast food. The restaurant’s eponymous dish remains the star of the menu (£12), but there’s also an expanded range of duck-based dishes such as a duck burger with crispy duck leg, crushed noodles, miso mayonnaise and spiced slaw (£10). The less cholesterol-busting half of the menu is given over to some lighter vegetable plates (£6), and there’s a hearty range of breakfast dishes available every morning. You won’t be hanging around the bar waiting for a drink either, as cocktails, wines and bubbles are all on tap. It’s tasty stuff, but Duck & Waffle loyalists might be disappointed that some of the restaurant’s signature dishes, such as the crispy pigs ears, haven’t yet made the flight from Heron Tower. Though the takeaway menu isn’t quite up and running yet, there are plans for on-the-go options to launch soon.
And another thing: Doherty says the new opening is already evolving from the original restaurant. We hear the chef is working on some new dishes for the menu, including a duck schnitzel and Asian-style duck dumplings, so watch this space.