Duck and Waffle, Heron Tower
'Pin back your ears' for a tale of utter lunacy.
Venue: Duck and Waffle, Heron Tower
Date: an afternoon a couple of weeks ago (2014)
Time: approx. 4.30 p.m
Objective: drink at the bar followed by sampling duck and waffle signature dish
Bouncer" Good afternoon, do you have a reservation?"
Snufflehound minor: "No, I'm sorry but we don't. Do I need one?"
Bouncer "Then I'm afraid you can't come in. There's a dress code"
Snufflehound minor: "What is the dress code"
Bouncer:"There is a dress code if you don't have a reservation"
Snufflehound minor: "What if I do have a reservation? Is there a dress code then?"
Bouncer: "There is a dress code."
Snufflehound minor: (Watching party of diners be greeted and ushered to lift, wearing more casual dress than ourselves.) Can I then just go up and look at the menu?
Bouncer: "No, there's a dress code."
Snufflehound minor: "Can I make a reservation with you?"
Bouncer: "No. But you can phone. Here's a card."
Snufflehound major then takes up the baton, leaving Snufflehound minor overheating in a cloud of steam, mainly emiinating from ears. Snuff' maj then phones - after 3 attempts someone answers."Hello, can I please make a reservation for a table as soon as possible?"
D&W reception - "Yes of course, when would you like to come?"
Snuff' major: "ASAP please - we're downstairs"
D&W reception - "the earliest I can fit you in is 5.00 p.m. Do you have far to travel?"
Snuff' major: "No, I am downstairs."
D&W: "OK then we'll see you at 5.00."
Snuff major: "Can we wait in the Bar until 5.00?"
D&W "Yes of course. I'll send you an e-mail."
Snuff major: "I am downstairs. I won't get it Can we come up to the bar immediately."
D&W: " Lovely. See you at 5.00"
We were seated at 5.10 p.m - there were about 45 available tables when we began ordering food. (This place says it serves food 24/7.) The final straw came when I was actually eating something and was reached across mid-forkful by a waiter retrieving an empty glass.
So, the verdict: Duck and waffle came with a fried egg atop confit of duck served on a batter-based waffle, served with a maple syrup and mustard sauce. Perfectly OK, unusual if slightly gimmicky. Also had the crab which was perfectly adequate, if a little 'no mates' sans bread or salad. Good view from 38th floor (Shard is better.) Obviously caters for City expense accounts and anyone putting a view over food. Good cocktails, despite very high cost.
So many more places on list to revisit. Verdict: "Poor."
Its funny. But maybe they have a point. I can imagine the number of tourists who want to go for a look, walk around then leave - so they need to filter the crowds. Or it would be a PIA with lots of non-diners gawping at the view.
They have a similar thing at Ku De Ta on the 57th floor of the Marina Bay Sands Hotel in Singapore - and here they also have an infinity pool looking over the city - they have a minimum spend of $80 a head and you need a reservation to get up in the lift.
I have also seen it at the ICC in Hong Kong where they stop you going to the Ritz Carlton Hotel (which is on the on the 103rd to 118th floor) without a reservation - the bar on the top floor has a good view if the clouds aren't too low...!