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Duck & Waffle, Edinburgh - we try the signature dish at St James Quarter's latest addition

Try rich food in HD surroundings

Published: March 11, 2023

I am petitioning for a fourth meal of the day.

It could be slotted in a few hours after dinner, in that hungry spot as you’re just drifting off to sleep and start thinking about chips with extra salt and sauce.

They could help you with a final feed du jour at the original London location of Duck & Waffle. This venue is unique, not only because it’s on the 40th floor, but since it’s also open 24 hours. Apparently, hungry ravers pop in after a night on the randan.

I wonder if I could visit it in my PJs, though I wouldn’t feel comfortable wearing those at the new Edinburgh branch, which is open regular hours.

Designed by the people behind SushiSamba - also soon coming to this shopping destination – this place is like a theatre set.

It’s book-ended by a copper tiki bar and a private dining area that’s topped by a feathered pelmet. The rest of the tables have views to open kitchen zones, though your eye is most drawn to the screens that wrap around the pillars. Among other things, they feature kaleidoscopic videos of sliced oranges, red wine and flames. At one point, an alert went off in my brain at the footage of a kindling fire.

It’s not HD, it’s HHHD. I felt like I was in Tokyo, or Times Square.

The food is expensive and ridiculously indulgent with cardiologist’s nightmare dishes like foie gras creme brulee.

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We tried to resist pouring grout into our arteries, but to no avail. The deep fried haggis bar (£12) is marketing genius. How could you not try this Small Plate? Everyone will ask about it and you’ll disappoint them by saying it’s okay.

There’s a large block of chewy battered haggis, with a seam of surprisingly subtle ‘duck fat caramel’, which adds a sweetness, and a little jug of Bovril on the side.

We were less keen on the spiced ox cheek doughnut (£13), since it fell into that liminal space between delicious and revolting. It was a hole-less version of Homer’s favourite cake, but incorporated shredded beef and stodgy white dough, and the outside was powdered with smoked paprika and sugar. On the plate, there was also a thin apricot jam, which reminded me of South African Mebos. I felt confused. This was like an awkward and failed seduction.

Ironically, our favourite was the veggie dish of hispi cabbage (£9). It was topped with miso brown butter and tiddly-winks of sliced caperberry, as well as a flurry of crispy shallots. My body responded positively to the token vegetation.

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It also enjoyed the cranberry and lime that was in the bone marrow cosmopolitan (£13), which was not as gross as it sounds. This cocktail also contained a Mozart Dry Chocolate Spirit and a bone-marrow infused Grey Goose. You wouldn’t have noticed the latter ingredient, apart from the rounded and earthy tone it gave the otherwise fruity cocktail. If they ever do a gizzard negroni, count me in.

We also shared one of their large plates - the signature duck and waffle (£24). It presses all the salty-sweet buttons until you can’t fight the feelings.

There’s the crispy confit duck leg on two protractors of waffle, then the fried egg - though ours had a yolk that was 93 per cent solid, tsk - and the pot of maple syrup. It’s hangover food, when you’re too wealthy to appreciate a full Scottish breakfast in a caff.

Pudding includes The Full Elvis, which features waffle, PBJ, Chantilly and, ‘all the trimmings’. Presumably, those are battered squirrels.

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We went for their baked Alaska (£13) since it came with a warm ‘sweetmeat fudge sauce’. It was also a photo opportunity. We know this, because the couple who were sitting beside us wanted to take some pics.

I think they liked that the boozy-tasting Italian meringue was in the shape of one of Keith from The Prodigy’s hairstyles. Its spikes were lightly toasted, and, inside, was vanilla ice-cream and chunks of chocolate brownie, with pieces of candied blood orange and chocolate-y crumbs on the plate.

Duck & Waffle is an interesting concept. If you can afford a visit, go for the novelty factor.

I’m glad that I’ve experienced it, though I probably wouldn’t return, not even for my fourth meal of the day.

Duck & Waffle

St James Quarter

400-402 St James Square


0131 202 2700

Duck & Waffle
Deep fried haggis bar

Gaby Soutar is a lifestyle editor at The Scotsman. She has been reviewing restaurants for The Scotsman Magazine since 2007 and edits the weekly food pages.

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