London's Duck & Waffle landed in Hong Kong earlier this week for a seven-day pop-up at the Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong's rooftop bar Ozone. Known not just for the epnoymous signature dish, the restaurant has become a fixture on the British food scene thanks to its long and late opening hours – and its 24-hour concept will be replicated tomorrow night, with Ozone's service hours for the weekend starting at noon, October 1 and ending at 5pm on October 2. Lucky patrons who remembered the fireworks display that occurs on the evening of National Day will also have prime viewing seats for the show, while they enjoy dishes like the famed duck and waffle, as well as other bestselling concoctions you can read about below, in our catch-up with Group Executive Chef Dan Doherty.
Duck & Waffle came to Hong Kong earlier this year as a part of Taste of Hong Kong. What brings you back now?
We had such a great time last March and the reaction was great. We did a day at Taste of Hong Kong and an evening takeover at Aberdeen Street Social. When the opportunity to do a week's residency at Ozone in the Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong came up, it felt like the next step to do a longer stint and show what we do at both brunch and overnight too.
How does the Hong Kong diner differ from the ones you serve at your flagship restaurant in London?
We are hoping to bring the London vibe to Hong Kong, which already has a great night time scene, but with our British touch. The menu will showcase our signatures along with a few new additions created just for the week
What did you eat when you were last in Hong Kong?
What didn't I eat! We had a packed schedule but that didn't stop us from squeezing in plenty of great meals. The highlights were Ho Lee Fook, Arcane, Chachawan and a small stall in the back streets selling chicken & rice. I'm really looking forward to checking out some more places, so any recommendations are welcome!
Your pop-up at Ozone includes an overnight stint on October 1st. What's the idea behind doing a 24-hour restaurant?
Well, when we opened back in 2012, there were very few places open for food between midnight and 6am. London has so much going on and so many things to do that we thought we could play a part in changing that. Before it was kebabs and bad fried chicken after hours, now you can eat a proper meal any time of the day. Since then our transport system has started a transition into being 24 hours, so it's only a matter of time before we see more 24-hour restaurants popping up.
Single-ingredient restaurants or restaurants that champion a single signature dish have grown in popularity in the last decade. Why do you think that is?
I guess it makes life easier. It’s not too dissimilar to asking for a recommendation; so many people I know go out and straight away ask the server what to eat, so I suppose naming your restaurant after a dish is the strongest endorsement you can give! Single-dish restaurants tend to be quicker and cheaper to eat at, so with quick lunch breaks or pre-theatre occasions they make a lot of sense.
You've got the duck and waffle down pat – how much do people come for or care about the other dishes on the menu?
It's funny, lots of people think that's all we serve, and some are actually surprised that it’s a dish rather than a restaurant name. I'd say 85 percent of people order the duck, but with our menu being quite extensive and based on smaller dishes, many order a few small plates then finish with a duck so they get the best of both worlds.
Besides the duck and waffle dish, which are your top sellers from the menu?
Our best sellers are without doubt the BBQ spiced pigs ears, ox cheek doughnut with apricot jam, miso glazed rabbit with suet pastry and caramelised cauliflower, and our Baked Alaska.
Duck & Waffle's pop-up started on September 26 and ends October 2nd. Details can be found here.