The folks behind Duck & Waffle sure know how to pick their locations. In London, we whizzed up to the 40th floor of The Shard to dine on duck confit with panoramic views of the city, and in Hong Kong, they’ve chosen to open at ifc mall, overlooking Victoria Harbour.
Duck & Waffle first tested the concept in Hong Kong at the first-ever Taste of Hong Kong food festival back in 2016, when Chef Daniel Doherty’s Duck & Waffle booth inspired the longest queue at the event.
Fast forward three years and Duck & Waffle has brought its full menu to its first location outside London. Taking over the venue occupied previously by simplylife, the Hong Kong Duck & Waffle location has a large takeaway counter up front full of quick grab-and-go options, leading to a spacious dining room with a kiosk for cocktails. The food menu features British cuisine with European and American influences, and there’s a quirky set of cocktails to sip while you browse through the dishes.
We decided to try out the Hong Kong branch with friends who’ve also tried the London restaurant to see how the two compare.
Our meal started with the signature spiced ox cheek doughnut ($135) nestled in apricot jam. The slow-braised ox cheek is mixed with cream cheese and a variety of herbs and spices, then folded into a hot, freshly fried doughnut rolled in smoky paprika sugar. A delicious and highly addictive starter, we thoroughly enjoyed the contrast between sweet and savoury in this dish.
The grilled octopus ($150) shone with true Mediterranean colours, also featuring potato, chorizo and capers dressed in a zesty lemon sauce. The octopus was tender and flavourful. This is a foolproof classic flavour combination that has stood the test of time.
We weren’t quite sure about the pollock meatballs ($120), but this dish proved to be a winner with its combination of mashed fish dressed with lobster cream and Parmesan crumble.
The grilled pork belly ($130) is two fat bricks glazed in sambal, served with pickled cucumber and Kewpie mayo. We liked the crunchy bits on top (we think they’re some sort of puffed rice), but the pork itself was a bit on the dry side.
The Irish crab ($160) is dressed in oyster mayonnaise and served with puffed rice crackers. This was our favourite starter as it was packed with flavour yet the crab remained sweet and relatively light and refreshing.
You can’t go to a restaurant called Duck & Waffle and not order the dish of its namesake. The duck and waffle ($230) is a tower of buttermilk waffle, crispy duck leg confit and fried duck egg. Cascade a waterfall of mustard maple syrup on top and you’ve got a tasty sweet-and-savoury combination that’s perfect for any time of day. The skin of the duck was mouth-wateringly crisp, and the flesh was tender and juicy. We dare say this dish is better in Hong Kong than at the original London location.
The hara bhara lamb chops ($280 for 3) come with smoky aubergine and mint yoghurt. The marinade thoroughly infused the lamb, and the chops, although small, had a caramelised crust and juicy centre.
The charred cauliflower ($75) is smeared with a herby green sauce and topped with capers. This side dish was rather forgettable, and we’d advise skipping it.
Another side we tried was the grilled cabbage ($75) with miso brown butter. The butter was overwhelming, and we found this vegetable dish too rich.
Warm chocolate pudding ($80) with black sesame ice cream concluded our meal. We were hoping the pudding would have a gooey, runny centre, which sadly wasn’t the case.
We actually think the food quality is better here at the Hong Kong location than at the London original. We advise sticking to the classics like the duck and waffle and spiced ox cheek doughnut and bypassing the sides.
Shop 1081, 1/F, ifc mall, 8 Finance Street, Central, 2267 6338, book online
This review is based on a meal paid for by the author.
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