Bea’s Switch at Duck & Waffle, London

16.10.16 | Uncategorized


Hi, I’m Bea, Restaurant Manager at The Black Swan at Oldstead. This is my photo blog of my Switch experience at Duck & Waffle…

Just got to floor 40 for the first time… Even though I knew it was the highest restaurant in the UK, nothing can quite prepare you for how high! And the building moves in the wind!


After seeing the sprawling building and doing a bit of training with the excellent Bernard, I’m allowed to make some of the in-house cocktails. This stirred drink incorporates hay infused bourbon with salted caramel and maple. I’ve seen our chefs use hay a few times but it’s fascinating to see the effect it can have in a drink.


One of my all time favourite cocktails is the Hemingway daiquiri. Here, burnt toast infusion is added and it makes the finished drink really warming, complex and DELICIOUS. We do a few infusions at the Black Swan but now I feel like getting a bit more experimental!


The bar set up is incredible. Everything has it’s place, the selection of spirits is stunning and even better… It’s inside out. The bartenders stand out in the room, removing the usual wall between them and the customer. Our bar area is based in the original part of the inn that’s a few hundred years old, but this makes me wonder if there’s other ways we can introduce a bit more interaction with the guests when we’re presenting their drinks.


Okay, this is taking building a bespoke bar to ridiculous levels! Pull aside a chopping board and there it is, a sous vide built underneath it. I think I’ll have to remain content with sharing equipment with the kitchen lads, but i can dream. It just shows how far you can take things when you have passion, creativity and a keen eye for detail.  


 Just a short walk from the Heron Tower is gorgeous Spitalfields. Loved popping here for an hour on my breaks. Similarly, I can imagine as a guest taking a walk round the shops and markets then flying up in the lift to refuel at Duck and Waffle (maybe with a cocktail, perhaps two) 


 Cannot get a better view of the gherkin, this seemed to be the side of the bar that people gravitated to and it’s easy to see why. I noticed a lot of people moving around to get the prime seats and wondered how on earth the staff managed to juggle getting the right drinks to the right people in such a seemingly hectic environment, but they did so elegantly and effortlessly. Slick and well organised!
Gin infused with yuzu rind… Maybe we can manage to grow some yuzu in the poly tunnel next year? So far we’ve had success with Kaffir Limes, Kumquats and Lemons. Not bad for North Yorkshire!
There was some development happening with the winter drinks menu, which I was lucky enough to observe. Great to see the creative process. In this instance, we felt the drink needed an extra dimension that the coffee liqueur didn’t quite achieve so added a scoop of coffee beans to the shaker and allowed them to steep in the liquid for a couple of minutes.
Could’t resist a quick picture of this guy hanging out on the Sushi Samba terrace!
A whole bunch of woodland negroni, carefully batched… The infusions include Birch Bark and Moss. A really interesting concept and a bit new to me so I’ll leave the next step to the pros.
My last look at D&W was observing a bit of the expo at the passe. It was a bit of a whirlwind. Small Plates dining means high volumes of plates flying out of the kitchen as and when they’re ready (we do tasting menu so it’s a very different set up) but the runners were so on the ball. I think I even kind of got the gist of it after a couple of hours. Here’s the Broccolli dish with a perfectly poached egg.
Gorgeous charred octopus, the Private Dining Room ordered so much of the menu I got to see nearly everything.
The peachiest peach parfait!
Tried to take a picture of the view and caught a glimpse of the passé in the reflection. You can see why people love the setting. It’s unrivaled.
Finished with dinner for one! You don’t need company when you have the food…
Tuna sashimi with mustard and black olive powder and a little spike of chilli. In the background, the octopus with the most refreshing fennel salad I’ve ever tasted. I didn’t manage to get a picture of the duck and waffle, shame because it would have been a very fitting end.
You can read and learn more about The Switch here: