If there’s one thing that Rosie Morton loves, it’s a hearty, autumnal meal. She jumps headlong into the new season by tucking into Duck & Waffle Edinburgh’s new two-course Sunday roast.
‘Tea’s ready!’ When I was a child, those words marked the start of an unspoken race.
Truth be told, my brother and I were always on our starting blocks when it came to food. Both self-confessed gluttons with a voracious appetite, we would listen for the signal, sprint to the kitchen, and jostle for position to steal the first morsel of Mum’s legendary roast dinner. To this day, nothing gathers the family troops faster than a roast made by the Morton Wonder Woman herself. What’s more, no restaurant, pub or diner has ever come close to matching it.
Until now. That’s right. Duck & Waffle Edinburgh – which is based in the capital city’s St James Quarter – has put a proverbial cat amongst the pigeons. When they invited me to try their new autumnal Sunday roast, I did not expect to find a two-course feast that would give even my mum a run for her money. After all, Duck & Waffle is best known for its namesake dish – a crispy duck leg confit with fried duck egg and mustard maple syrup on a buttermilk waffle – not a roast rib of beef, corn fed chicken, or a mushroom and camembert Wellington with all the trimmings.
Of course, Duck & Waffle opened its doors in Auld Reekie back in February, so this was not my first visit to this maximalist ‘gastro diner’. That said, the décor proved just as striking. We arrived late Sunday afternoon and passed a few brave souls who were wrapped up in woolly jumpers, sipping a cocktail on the beautiful open terrace.
The graffiti wall in the reception area (created by local artist, Amy Ireland) sets the tone, and leads to a copper-toned mirror tunnel and free-standing bar shaped like a copper still. From there, the duck-themed interiors and quacking quirks begin in earnest. Not only is this a place that celebrates honest, homegrown food and top tipples, it also stands proud as an Instagrammer’s paradise.
The main event arrived in record time, and both the Wellington and the roast beef looked seriously impressive. And for me, a Sunday roast need not be an artistic plate worthy of a fine dining venue. It calls for a plate overflowing with colourful, succulent ingredients that are packed with flavour, and served with generous helpings of gravy. To my delight – and that of my plus one – all requirements were met, and we proceeded to flood our plates with copious amounts of rich, silky gravy.
The beef was beautifully pink and tender, the mushroom and camembert Wellington was unctuous, the Yorkshire pudds added texture, and the parsnips brought a beautiful sweetness to the dish. The hispi cabbage had a wonderful umami flavour and a strong salty hit thanks to the caperberries. The unexpected star of the show, however, was the mellow, aromatic gravy which married each ingredient together.
Indulging in a pudding after such an enormous feast may seem unnecessary, but if (like me) you’re a Sunday roast professional, you’ll save just enough room. We opted for the baked cheesecake with McVitie’s biscuit crust and red fruit coulis, and the Torrejas with maple caramel apples and cinnamon ice cream. What could only be described as a slab of cheesecake was presented to my plus one. He may be biased with his sweet tooth, but he said with certainty that he was in cheesecake paradise.
I maintain, however, that my pudding was the clear winner. With flavours reminiscent of a sticky toffee pudding, the torrejas – or Mexican French toast – was served in a deep moat of thick, hot caramel. It was cheek-pinching it was so sweet, but it was beautiful. The cinnamon ice cream served as a reminder that autumn flavours are here to stay, and I for one could not be happier about it.
It may be a humble repast, but there’s something incredibly special about a Sunday roast – especially when you’ve not made it yourself. A post-roast yomp up Arthur’s Seat or Calton Hill? There’s surely no better way to pass an afternoon as the summer sun gives way to autumn’s fiery hues.
A two-course roast costs £30 per person and is available every Sunday from 11.30am-4pm. Supplementary side dishes can be ordered for £5 including four cheese cauliflower gratin, chopped salad, or hispi cabbage.
The full menu can be viewed HERE.
For bookings at Duck & Waffle Edinburgh, please click HERE.