Duck and Waffle – a 24 hour foodie haven

After a night out in a Shoreditch cocktail bar, Rebecca, Keya and I decided on a midnight feast before heading home. So, at 2am, up we went, in the famous glass lifts of the Heron Tower that lead up to the fabulous views of the City and, at the 40th floor, we casually strolled into Duck and Waffle.

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I had the perception that it would be bland and over-priced food (I was VERY wrong about both of these things), but the girls convinced me otherwise and we ordered a mixture of dishes to share between us so that we could have a taste of everything.

Head Chef Daniel Doherty has created some stunning master pieces. He gives a delicious twist to classic dishes from around the world.

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The Duck Egg En Cocotte (£12) was delicious (and this is not only because I have a huge love for cheese)! The stringy and strong flavoured Gruyere with the earthy flavours of the wild mushrooms and a duck egg all oven baked in a pan made for a fondue-type dish. It was served up with “crunchy soldiers” to scoop it all up.

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The Bacon Wrapped Dates (£9) were very interesting. I am not a huge date fan (in fact, I do not like them at all), however the salty, BBQ flavour of the bacon overpowering the sweetness of them made them taste divine!

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The Roasted Essex Beetroot (£9) had a light, refreshing and softly sweet flavour to it. It was definitely not as flavour intense as everything else but still a delicious combination that, again, would not usually be thought of. The goat curd in this dish had a very similar taste to cottage cheese and I feel as though it is what married the honey comb and beetroot together.

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Next, out came their signature dish – The Duck and Waffle (£17). It is a creative and absolutely delicious Asian twist to the Southern American fried chicken and waffle. The duck was a crispy Peking duck style on top of a Belgian style waffle and a fried egg over it all. We drizzled the Maple Syrup over it and dug in. The flavours went surprisingly well together and I have definitely been converted!

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The BBQ Spiced Crispy Pig Ears (£5) came in a brown paper bag and were sealed with a Chinese red wax letter seal. They were crunchy and tasted very much like pork scratchings. It was a Western twist to the Chinese sweet pork ears. A great ending to the meal as we munched on them like popcorn while we continued chatting away.

It is a great atmosphere, great service, it is extremely well priced and delicious, interesting experimental food (which is making my mouth water again just thinking about it).

Perfect place for a midnight feast!

http://duckandwaffle.com/

Organic Chickpeas – A Canary Wharf Street Stall – London

Canary Wharf is mostly full of character-less franchises, which (as I have said before) are not my favourite – but I have come across a little gem; a little falafel stall, just a short stroll from my office. Every lunch time the queue is massive and the smell is mouth watering.

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So, one Fat Friday (I swear it is an international holiday that everyone must celebrate at work on Fridays at lunch time), Romola and I joined this queue for these falafels and before we knew it we were at the front of the line and ordering away. Everyone loves a falafel. Those crunchy, deep fried balls of spiced vegetarian love are always a great time!

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I ordered the falafel salad (£4.95), which consists of a cucumber and tomato mixture, pickled red and white cabbage, grated carrots, a very little spoon of couscous, hummus, chili sauce, pickled sliced onion, five falafels and a little dollop of tahini/yogurt. Romola had the falafel wrap, which she said was very good.

The falafel were still warm and had a lovely crunch to them on the outside and a nutty texture on the inside. The base of the salad was very refreshing and all the flavours went very well together and the chili was deliciously spicy. It ended up being surprisingly filling as well.

An excellent fat Friday lunch time find!

Pho – Spitalfields, London

Astrid’s Mom and sister, Lyris, were visiting London and we decided to go for a Vietnamese dinner near our houses (as we were literally neighbours up until this Saturday when I moved). Pho is a family run business and they opened their first restaurant in Clerkenwell in the summer of 2005 and now have 7 restaurants around London and 1 in Brighton.

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Their Spitalfields restaurant has a great vibe and atmosphere. It has a Hanoi village-type feel to it.

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I have had a Thai mango salad before, but never a Vietnamese one. Lyris insisted that it is delicious so we ordered it. It is called Goi Xoai (£5.95), which was described on the menu as a spicy green mango salad topped with pork, dried shrimp & peanuts. It was delicious indeed and I would definitely order this again!

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Of course we also had the summer rolls… to me it is a MUST when going to a Vietnamese. We had the veggie summer roll (£3.95) this time, which I personally have never tried before, as I always go for the prawn. It was just as refreshing and tasty and had more of a crunchiness to it from all the extra vegetables.

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I went for the brisket and meatball Pho (£8.25) for my main. The meatballs are not the usual bouncy, chewy meatballs that you get in an Asian restaurant. Instead they were quite dry for my liking and tasted more like an Italian meatball. The rest of the soup was amazing though – I am always a big fan of a bowl of pho and its flavoursome broth. I love the way that you add the vegetables and sauces to your pho to make it your own.

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Lyris and her Mom had the Pho with Brisket  (Pho Chin) and Astrid had the hot and spicey tofo and mushroom soup (Bun Chay Hue). They also all looked very tasty.

The fun thing about Pho is that they do fabulous cocktails and if you are not up for an alcoholic beverage, then they do amazing teas which start off as a small ball and then turn into blossomed flowers in your drinks (literally).

A great new addition to the Great Pho Mile!

http://www.phocafe.co.uk/

The Great Roast Dinner #4: The Fox and Anchor – Farringdon, London

There is something about a Sunday pub roast that reminds me of my university days. Perhaps its the days when dining rooms and living rooms were converted into bedrooms and when eating at the local pub on Sunday with a big group of friends was a lot more comfortable than eating on our laps.

Sian is visiting from Dubai at the moment and she’s been missing a good old English roast dinner, so last Sunday we went for one.

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We initially decided to go to The Red Cow for our Sunday Roast, as we had heard that it was one of the best roasts in London, but they did not have any tables (so next time we shall be booking beforehand!) and recommended for us to go to The Fox and Anchor just around the corner.

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We all ordered the scotch rib of beef which came with duck fat roast potatoes, green beans, roasted carrots, and a large yorkshire pudding with a dollop of horseradish cream on the top (£15.50 each).

The beef was very rare, which lucky for me, is just the way I like it. However, I did consider the fact that some people might not like it that way… and what would they do?

The yorkshire pudding was delicious and I smothered it with gravy, let it soak for a bit, before eating it all up! The carrots and beans were lovely and sweet and although I didn’t have any, Sian said that the potatoes were really good.

All in all it was a nice meal. No frills, nothing fancy, but it definitely did the job!

http://www.foxandanchor.com/