DUCK & WAFFLE LOCAL: 2 ST JAMES’S MARKET, LONDON, SW1Y 4RP, ST JAMES’S MARKET
Duck & Waffle just opened up a sister site in St James so of course Emma and I had to go check it out! We are both huge fans of Duck & Waffle, but it’s not really a casual dining place, with its ridiculously strict policies and the whole having to reserve a space at peak tables, so it’s really great they opened up the Local site, which is way more casual and easier to get a table. In fact, we went on its second day and there were only like 3 other tables occupied, which was great for us haha.
The way this site works is a bit different from their regular table service – you get given a table then shown to the counter, where you order and pay, then after ordering, someone else shows you to your table? Then if you want anything more, you can order it from someone at the table and then pay at the table too? I don’t really quite get it but I guess it is a lot more casual this way lol. The staff were very friendly here, which was great, but we found that we had someone coming up to us every few minutes asking us how things were, which got a tiny bit tedious but I guess it was empty and it was nice they were so attentive?
One thing I really appreciated at this site was that the pricing was so much more affordable! Emma and I got a bunch of things to share and including a cocktail (on tap!), it all came to £50 altogether so it was only £25 each. Not the most cheap but definitely a lot cheaper than the regular site. For example, the duck jam doughnut (which we really wanted to try but they were out of) is only £8 in Local, compared to the £12 ox cheek doughnut at the original site, which is pretty damn good. Another thing we really hoped they had was the BBQ Pigs Ears because they’re the best thing on the menu, but even though the site says they do, it wasn’t on the menu!? Anyway, we ended up ordering the Duck & Waffle (£12), Duck Merguez Flatbread (£9), Duck Fat Fries (£3), Crispy Duck Necks (£4), Baked & Pickled Beetroot (£6) as well as a White Basil Spritz (£6) and the Full Elvis waffle cone (£6) for dessert.
Obviously, the Duck & Waffle was great! Like who would’ve thought crispy confit duck leg with duck egg on top of a waffle would’ve been such a great combo?? It took us so long to take photos and try everything it ended up being cold though, which was a sacrifice I had to make for nice photos I suppose hahaha. The Duck Flatbread was also a pleasant surprise! It came with two little duck merguez sausages, which was a bit like soujouk sausages, as well as harissa, yoghurt, pickles, avocado (which wasn’t specified on the menu??), coriander and mint. Everything worked together really well, it was super delicious but because the flatbread got cold, it went really hard haha. I didn’t mind that much though, if anything the flatbread was just a device to deliver the rest of the delicious things into my mouth so I wasn’t too fussed.
As for the sides, we were both a huge fan of the Beetroot side! The dish had a variety of beetroots and it was somehow really refreshing? It had the perfect balance of sweet, smoky and acidity and I really liked how it came with harissa, yoghurt and sunflower seeds too.
The Duck Fat Fries were nice because all chips are at least decent because they’re chips, even if it’s shitty KFC chips lmao. I found it a bit on the salty side but I drowned it in mayonnaise and my problem was solved?? Also side note: the mayonnaise was actually really delicious and mustard-y and I wanted to steal the container cause it came in a tiny adorable little jar!!
Best thing of all was the BBQ Duck Necks!! I fucking love duck necks, they’re like a really common Chinese snack, but not really common here. They were perfectly spiced, crispy on the outside but perfectly tender on the inside. They’re a bit tricky to eat cause it’s such a weird bone shape but that’s half the fun tbh. They were so good it almost made up for the fact that the BBQ Pigs Ears weren’t on the menu. Almost.
I was perfectly satisfied at this point, like not too full that I was bursting but just enough – but I really wanted to try the dessert because I wanted to know what it was like. I’d never tried the Full Elvis at the original Duck & Waffle but apparently that’s the same thing as this, but with a proper waffle instead of a waffle cone. So this came with vanilla ice cream, chantilly cream, peanut butter, strawberry jam, raspberries, peanut brittle and banana brulée. Honestly… I was expecting more from this. You see that little scoop of ice cream? That’s ALL the ice cream in the dessert. I could barely taste it the scoop was so little! Also we saw the person prepare it at the counter drop the ice cream scoop on the counter… then put it on our dessert lmao. I wasn’t that fussed but also… maybe it’s not a good idea to do that? One thing I didn’t like about the dessert was that all the layers were like separate and hard to get to, so at one point I just had a spoonful of jam and then the next was a spoonful of peanut butter. It was just way too much and it wasn’t really eating a dessert at that point – could’ve just been at home spooning out jam and peanut butter myself tbh lol. ALSO the waffle cone was very bland and was more like a cardboard cone than waffle. So everything else was great but the dessert was deffo a letdown lol.
For those who love Duck & Waffle or even those who have been wanting to try it out, the Local site is definitely a great place to go for a more casual, slightly cheaper experience. I deffo recommend it and I am going to go back for sure – just don’t bother with the dessert lol.