Duck & Waffle, London


I don't really understand what's all the hype about Duck & Waffle. For a fact, it's the tallest restaurant in London perched on the 40th floor of Heron Tower. If you're sat by the windows, you get a shimmering panoramic view of East London and beyond. The waiting list is pretty extensive too, we booked 1.5 months in advanced. The kitchen operates 24/7 meaning you can go there for a late night snack or for a morning breakfast/brunch. So much so, I had a high expectation.


Freshly Baked Bread with N'duja & Gruyère

'Egg & Bacon" with Devilled Duck Egg, Korean Pig's Head and Sriracha

Fillet of Angus Beef Carpaccio with Foie Gras, Truffle and Pecorino

Foie Gras Crrème Brûlée and Butter Roasted Lobster with Toasted Brioche

Duck & Waffle with Crispy Leg Confit, Fried Duck Egg and Mustard Maple Syrup

2012 Château de Saint Cosme, Côtes du Rhône Villages, Rhône Valley
Well, I have a mixed feelings for the food. The experience was great, good innovative flavours and nice presentation. The bread with n'duja and Gruyère was quite spicy, even for someone like me that can tolerate spicy food it was too overpowering. Nothing special about 'egg & bacon', the name may fool you it has bacon in the dish but it is pig's head which they're trying to resemble it as bacon by the way they have sliced it with a layer of fat and meat in between. Too much pecorino cheese on the beef carpaccio, the beef flavour was getting lost. Sadly, the foie gras dish did little for me. As the name of restaurant is "Duck & Waffle", how not to miss the signature dish. A strange combination but it actually works, the saltiness of the confit duck sat on the soft waffle with sweet syrup poured on top. It was the most enjoyable dish of the night. We didn't order dessert as the food was not up to our expectation so we thought the same for dessert too. Hey, it could have been a different story with the dessert well until next time. 

This was a good place to dine, excellent décor and ambience perfect for special occasions. But it's not a place that I'd rush to go back for giving what London has to offer. 

Score Rating: 3/5.
Price: £50 per person with a bottle of wine.

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La Pâtisserie Des Rêves, London


London got lucky when one of Paris' best pâtisseries opened up in Marylebone in February. La Pâtisserie Des Rêves translates into pastry shop of dreams which seems so true. I walked past this shop many times, been in there many times to admire the pastries but not once have I actually bought one and ate one until recently.  Every time I wanted to try the pastry, a pure evilness always reminding me of oh how fat cakes are. Finally I ignored the pure evilness advice and indulged myself in cakes.

French classics such as mille-feuille, éclair, Paris-Brest, Gateaux St. Honore and to name a few were reinvented by the acclamied pâtissier Philippe Conticini and are protected  under large glass globes. It's a small shop and it can get confusing on the method of ordering. Once you are ready you find a member of staff by the till who will take your order and have it prepared in the back while you pay.

I took home the strawberry tart, a pasrty filled with crème pâtissière and strawberries on top. The puff pastry was something different to the shortcrust pastry you normally find with fruit tart. The crunchy pastry, deep cream filling and luscious fruit with some aniseed on top (not too sure which aniseed it was, the taste was very familiar) was divine.

It's well worth the visit to Marylebone for the ultimate desserts heaven, pâtisserie at its best.

Score Rating: 4/5
Price: £4 - £40 depending on sizes and choices.

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Gauthier Soho, London


I love French fine dining. So I thought I would treat Mr T something special for his birthday. It was hard to choose, even after some intensive research I still couldn't choose. Gauthier Soho has always been on my list of to go restaurants and it is undeniably one of the more affordable Michelin dining experience restaurant.

Hidden in a Victorian town house in Soho, Gauthier Soho is a former one Michelin star restuarant. We rang the doorbell and a oh so chic waitress greeted us and led us upstairs to our seats. We opted for the tasting menu with wine pairing but the a la carte menu offers good value too. Originally I wanted it with the tea pairing which I thought it was something different, Mr T insisted it having with wine pairing so to save the argument I went with his choice.

Amuse-bouches: crispy cheese thins, chips and avocado on toast

Wholemeal Focaccia

Onion Bread (can't remember the exact name)

Duck Foie Gras, White & Green Asparagus, English Peas and Light Broth Chicken

Scottish Scallop, Lime & Celery and Brown Butter Coral Jus

Black Spring Truffle, Acquarelllo Riso and Aged Parmesan

Halibut, Artichoke, Fondant Fennel, Herb Marinated Tomato and Basil

Venison Fillet, Chanterelle Mushrooms, Rosemary, Beetroot, Bone Marrow and Pomme Fondate

Two Regional Cheeses, Alsace - Carré Kanzel and Savoie - Tomme au Marc de Raisin

Guariguette Strawberries, Light Mousse, Cruchy Balsmaic Tuile, Fraise des Bois and Lemon Sorbet

Dark Chocolate, Golden Louis XV, Dark Chocolate & Praline

Petit Fours (only remembered the left one being a chocolate truffle)

First Flush Sencha, Okumidori Kyoto (from Lalani & Co)

A signed copy of "Vegetronic" from Alexis Gauthier, chef

The highlight of the meal was the Truffle Risotto which I loved it. It would have added a more of a theatrical show if the truffle were shaved at the table. Nevertheless, it delivered on taste and texture. Risotto was rich and creamy and worked fantastically well with the earthy taste of the truffle. Bread was offered many times in between each courses, eventually we turned it down. I absolutely adored the onion bread (or whatever it was called). Any bread with onion or spring onion, I can consume it for the whole meal. The main course of venison was cooked perfectly. The only fault I had was the halibut, slightly overcooked and starting to go firm. 

The infamous Louis XV is a like huge bar of chocolate but tasted better than the everyday brand of chocolate. It was voted by a panel of critics as the "Worlds best dessert", a signature dish of Alain Ducasse's restuarant. If you didn't know, Alexis Gauthier was trained under Alain Ducasse for many years. The base layer consisted of a "hazelnut dacquois feuilletine mixed with praline". The body of cake is a chocolate mousse and finally finished with a dark chocolate glaze. The dessert hit the note for me, it was brilliant and it wasn't overly too sweet. Unexpected, Mr T was surprised it came with a candle and a birthday message. Also a signed cookbook from the chef. It's not hard to go an extra mile for someone special. 

On the finishing note, it lacked the "wow factor" for me. Maybe I was expecting too much. Food was great, using fresh seasonal ingredients cooked to its simplicity and accuracy. Service was smart with a touch of humour, with all details explained thoroughly. I think Gauthier can do better and with years to come I will return to see its improvement. 

Score Rating: 4/5
Price: Tasting menu £70 without wine and £130 with wine excluding service

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