Everybody loves waffles. These decadent goodies are golden and crisp on the outside and fluffy and chewy within - their deep honeycomb pockets hold a mix of maple syrup and melting butter that gushes out when you bite down. Though the waffle was originally created by the Greek, it was adopted by the Belgians (centuries later) and over time made its way to the palates of foodies around the world! Now, Kochiites too have grown fond of this golden brown comestible - primarily due to one of Panampilly Nagar’s most popular eateries, Waffle Street.
This house of ‘waffles, crepes, donuts and more’ is owned by actor Asif Ali and his three business partners Muneeb C A, Mohammed Rafique and Brijeesh Mohamed. “It all started with a Eurotrip,” begins Rafique, elaborating, “We wanted to do something unique, within the restaurant business, but couldn’t come up with an idea. Inspiration hit us when our trip around Europe, led us to a coffee shop in Brussels that served an excellent assortment of waffles.”
To maintain authenticity, they convinced chef Christopher Alonso of the aforementioned eatery to provide them with his recipe and brought him on-board as a consultant to their eatery. As the establishment is just a few months away from celebrating their one-year anniversary, the kitchen staff under the guidance of Alonso (who flies down to Kochi from Brussels, every three months) have given their menu an overhaul and shifted the focus from their sweet-bakery treats onto savoury waffles.
Now, at Waffle Street they mainly serve dishes based on two kinds of checkered doughy treats: Liege and American. Their version of the Liege waffle (used for desserts) is square in shape and is created with yeast and imported pearl sugar (which gives it that brown tinge on caramelisation). The American style waffle (used for savouries), on the other hand is round, slightly salty and made with baking powder.
Though the quick bites they serve - like picante chicken wings and ‘dynamite prawns’ (served in a cocktail glass) did whet our appetite, we decided to indulge in their specials. First up, we are offered the crispy chicken burger served with a side of thick, handcut French fries. The crumb-fried chicken breast is placed between two hot waffles dripping in Canadian maple syrup and is doused in a special spicy chipotle sauce (made with imported chilies from Mexico). Every bite, results in a delightful marriage of salty, candied and tangy flavours that will send your tastebuds into overdrive. We polish off their waffle chicken meal, just as it arrived, hot off the iron. The chicken and fries in the meal are drenched in the house-special secret sauce, that leaves a tantalising aftertaste, and goes down well with their creamy Ferrero-chocolate shake. But if you still want to satiate your sweet tooth - we suggest you try out their signature sugary treats like the Liege waffle smothered with dark Belgian chocolate fudge, marshmallows and sprinkles - which is an absolute delight. There’s a reason why Asif Ali and his partners, named this cafe ‘Waffle Street’. “We don’t intend to be just a waffle house. The ‘Street’ in our name resembles our plan to introduce street fare from around the world to our menu. We already serve fish and chips (UK). Next up, we are planning to introduce pretzels, a popular snack from Germany,” Rafique concludes.