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Friday, 6 November 2015

Matt The Jaunts : Duck & Waffle to Dandelyan

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Route 2 : Duck & Waffle to Dandelyan


Monday 24th August - A slightly mad team of 12 committed to a 6am breakfast in the sky at Duck & Waffle on a Monday morning with visiting Americans. It transpired that it was also Ella's birthday, and that most people had taken the day off.  That's how to start the week. The only hitch - Duck & Waffle's booking skills. My word, what a shambles. Don't fall into their group booking traps. Use the Regina Phalange approach if you have to.
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5.30am - After a team sleepover with copious amounts of pasta, thimbles, cat videos, and a hard to come by bottle of Surly Brewing Pentagram from Minneapolis (thanks to Shannon and Amr!), we bundle into a couple of Ubers and mumble something about ducks and 5 stars.

6am - That lift. What a view. Well done London. We spend the next half hour gawping out of the window (or at Dan Doherty - focus ladies) as the sky turns all sorts of funky colours. And no, it's not Independence Day, those are window reflections. We will go quietly into the night.




6.30am - The Bloody Marys and coffees start coming. This doesn't stop for approx. 2.5 hours. The staff soon spot patterns and just bring them out every few minutes. Food wise, most can't resist the signature Duck & Waffle, but some of us go off piste with Colombian Eggs, Bananas Brulée and "The Full Elvis".

After a steep learning curve in America, Sarah finally nails the perfect poached egg breach for camera

Sarah's eggporn masterpiece

Bananas Brulée

9.15am - It's probably time to leave Duck & Waffle. Some people have to go to work (hah!). We throw £400 or so at them, and make for the door. Head Bartender Rich Woods has arrived - is it too early for a Nutella Negroni? Stop it, focus, get back in the lift. Weeeeeeee.

In need of late night / early morning food nearby without the price-tag and vertigo? Polo Bar and the iconic Beigel Bake are both open 24/7 round  the corner. 

Other breakfast options around Shoreditch and Liverpool St.? Try Cream, Jago, Patty & Bun (Thu-Fri only), Friends of Ours, Dishoom, Bad EggThe Modern Pantry or The Ace Hotel.

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9.30am - A quick jog through the rain brings us to Association Coffee - it's a bit of a looker. Eight of us make the funky long table our own, and settle in for more caffeine. I'm on the verge of saying something charming to the girl behind the counter, when Katie beats me to it - pesky friendly Americans. Instead I panic order some tea. It comes with a timer though which keeps me entertained.

10.30am - We say goodbye to some jetlagged Americans and a confused school teacher who doesn't seem to know that it's still the summer holidays. Time to move on. Draft House Seething Lane sadly isn't open yet.  Grand plans to play Time Run or Hint Hunt have fallen through. More coffee it is I guess.

N.B. Association Coffee, like many other places around here, is only open Mon-Fri. Curator's Coffee is another local gem with similar opening times.

Association Coffee - photos from website

Association Coffee - photos from website

Association Coffee - photos from website

Association Coffee - photos from website

10.45am - Five of us remain. It's still drizzling so we hop on a bus towards St.Paul's to reach The Wren, an independent coffee shop inside St.Nicholas Cole Abbey which still holds services. The church was rebuilt by the office of Sir Christopher Wren after being destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666. Pretty cool location for a cuppa joe I'm sure you'll agree. Though if this was Belgium there would be beer. 

It's almost 4 hours since breakfast so I claim the last bacon sandwich whilst the others enjoy Workshop Coffee over a game of cards. N.B. The Wren is only open Mon-Fri!

The Wren - coffee in church

Coffee at The Wren - photo from website

Sandwiches at The Wren - photo from website

12pm - Right, that's enough coffee I think. Next stop - The Pelt Trader for all the craft beers and pizza. It's a personal favourite of mine having used it for a couple of private parties, plus there's nowhere else nearby to rival their beer range. And Mark the manager is a true gent. Guess what though? It's only open Mon-Fri. Spotting a pattern?

The birthday girl rejoins us and we start strong with Lagunitas Fusion XXXI Mozango - a 9% Mosaic & Mango Double IPA. Oof. Tim orders one of Ray's 18" pizzas to offset the beers.

Did you know that The Pelt Trader is related to Euston Tap and Holborn Whippet? Two more fantastic London beer outposts. And they just announced that they will soon be opening Waterloo Tap and The Resting Hare

The Pelt Trader

Anything else nearby? Not really, except for the wonderful Merchant House - an underground temple to rum and gin with great bartenders and a ridiculous back bar. Their ground floor booze shop - "The Pantry" - has just opened. 

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2pm - Time for a bit of culture I reckon. I fancy a trip to the Barbican's hidden tropical Conservatory that I've still never made it to, but it's only open a few Sundays a year. Instead, we head across Millennium Bridge towards Tate Modern. Ella and I go into a Rothko trance, whilst the others veer off to soak up The Bard in pint form at the Swan at Shakespeare's Globe. Anspach & Hobday Cream Ale on tap - sorted.

3.30pm - The group remains split by outrageous weather, so four of us duck into The Thirsty Bear. Here you can pour your own pints at the table (be careful not to spill - every drop counts) and order food and booze through iPads. Sounds fun (ish), but the drinks selection isn't on point and the atmosphere is pretty flat. Shame. Not much else around here either, apart from the Mondrian hotel. There's a thought.

iPads & taps at your table - Photo provided by The Thirsty Bear

4.30pm - Carsten Höller at Southbank is rained off and Bompass & Parr's Alcoholic Architecture is booked up for the day, so there's only one thing for it - afternoon cocktails at Dandelyan, Ryan Cheti's stunning bar in the Mondrian that has been winning awards left, right and centre since it opened in October 2014. And rightly so - Tom Dixon's interior design never fails to impress, and Ryan's cocktails are next-level.  Just make sure you've got some money in your account - you're gonna need it.

Ella and I ignore the Night cap / Post Dinner labels and order a Heartwood Old-Fashioned and a Crimson Waxwork. We have been up for almost 12 hours after all. The former is a combination of Johnnie Walker Black Label, oak lactone syrup and Dandelyan resin bitters, whilst Crimson Waxwork involves Beeswax Cognac, bee pollen, Cocchi Americano and oak bitters - a Cognac-based Manhattan of sorts. We make them last an hour (£13.50 a pop...) and watch umbrellas with legs go by on the Southbank.

What else is in the Mondrian? You'll spot Seamus Mullen's Sea Containers and The Den on your way through to Dandelyan, but you'll need to seek out the lift to find the Rumpus Room, a stylish rooftop bar and lounge with more outstanding drinks.

Crimson Waxwork - Beeswax Cognac, Bee Pollen, Cocchi Americano, Oak Bitters

Crimson Waxwork and Heartwood Old Fashioned

Heartwood Old Fashioned - Johnnie Walker Black Label, Oak Lactone Syrup, Dandelyan Resin Bitters

From Dandelyan on, it became Ella's birthday evening - out of my hands. It involved chops. Lots of chops. Had we continued along the Southbank path, we would have come across the likes of Bleecker Burger and Beany Green. Read more about beer on the Southbank here.

Got some suggestions for additions to this route? Want to send us out around another part of London? Leave comments below and I'll get back to you as soon as possible! In the meantime, why not plan your own trips using Map The List : London?


Coming up : King's Cross to Camden // Balham to Brixton 

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