21st Oct: It was a lazy weekday and I and maanas were planning to meet in Phoenix market city. He later confirmed that one of our fellow zoman or Roman as he is known would also be joining us. Yes i am talking about Karan kaul or as some of you know him ‘the guy who talks too much’ was planning to join us over couple of drinks. We had some rounds and some lite chicken starters at The Irish House and then were going around when we happen to visit the Waffles hut. This place is located on the west side of 1st floor in the Phoenix market city mall. This place has been operational for over a year now in Phoenix but the concept and the brand yes – THE BRAND, i say because they have been here in Pune for over 4 years now and carved out quiet a place for itself in the niece market. They originally started in Abhiruchi mall Sinhagad Road but then later shifted to other places with the kind of good response that they drew in no time. They are now based out of three places at present: Seasons Mall (3rd floor, opp cinepolis), Phoenix Market city (Westside, 1st floor) and Lavasa (besides Town hall). They are also going to start in Western Mall, Aaundh pretty soon. Keep an eye for dates guys. The place is always busy and at times you will have to wait in a queue just to dig those teeth into one of your favorite topping based waffle. Unfortunately many people are not very used to what a waffle is and the origins of the concept. To be honest we were pretty ignorant ourselves but that was sure to be a day to be remembered and we had the owner of the place coming in for us. We had a great time talking to him who opened nothing less than a Pandora box of food facts onto us. A little walk down the memory lane here – the owner – Mr. Tanmay Bhosale happens to be based out of London and he experienced this rush and craving of people in Belgium when he was there for a spring break. People used to queue up in front of these stores which had like hundreds of waffles being served up in quick succession. The phenomenon not just drew his attention but also raised an urge to learn the technique, concept, standards that needed to be maintained. He was so moved by the idea that he came back to pune and started the concept under the name of ‘The Waffles Hut’ around 4 years back. The journey has been a ride since then. And now they are planning to spread vertically rather than horizontal growth. They have shifted focus on growing a strong connect and bond with their customer base. Their presence will be felt even more now with the ideas on the cards that are taking shape. More to watch out for.
The recipe although uses egg base the Waffle hut team have perfected the art with eggless waffles and as such they claim all their products to be 100% vegan. No wonder they see increased popularity among the pure veg preferring community. The actual secret of their recipes or toppings lies in the ingredients and the way they strive day in – day out to maintain their standards. For instance, in spite of having so many cheap and readily available options, the caramel is ordered and brought all the way from Jalandhar or the special chocolate bars they use to make their homogenous, fine blended chocolate syrup is what ensures that their toppings are uniquely delicious. It just doesn’t end there, they have gone an extra mile to identify how a particular ingredient would taste the best and give that yummy moment to cherish. A simple illustration here would be say a banana, caramel, whipped cream waffle is made using a semi ripped cold banana evenly sliced to thin disks. Its nitty-gritties like these that make it score more than a traditionally available ice cream on all fronts.
They have a wide variety of flavors to choose from and it makes use of some of the best known and most loved ingredients. There are a lot of choices for kids, girls or for those who have a sweeter tooth. They are planning on bringing in even more flavors in a months’ time for kids. A little tour of the wide variety of ingredients that you can choose from would include:
Banana, Apple, Mango (seasonal), Dark chocolate, White chocolate, peanut butter, dry fruits, marshmallows, nutella, walnut brownie, spicy mushrooms and chilly flakes (oh yes they have a few in savory too and they plan on increasing it even further, can’t wait to try one), Oreo (with variants huh…just ask for your favorite from vanilla, chocolate or the newly launched flavors), coffee — this and many more goes on the waffle base and then it gets draped with some of the most delectable handpicked sauces and syrups on the floor which range from chocolate (sweet one), dark chocolate, maple, blueberry, gummy jelly , honey lemon, a milk based syrup and some more. This can then be combined with whipped cream or ice cream of your choice. They will leave you spoilt for choices i guarantee that. And if at all you are still confused or would like to go out of bounds; well you can mix and match the wide variety of ingredients and make a special A la – ‘you’ version as well. You never know your custom version can just make its way to their long list of recipes.
Alright; well, now getting down to the recipes that we laid our teeth on…. We three were so baffled looking at the menu for instance that we decided to order a couple of half waffles and try as many as we could. We had the pleasure of having:
Rumble crumble Oreo treat, Banana caramel whipped cream, Belgian Chocolate spread, Peanut butter waffle, a customized version with blueberry syrup and oh yes peached iced tea.
- Rumble crumble Oreo treat: a popular with the kids it comes in three varieties which an Oreo of our choice. A rather simple but a recipe for those who like a crunch in their bite. The whipped cream ensures it’s not too sweet and makes it a mouthful of treat. The maple syrup gives it a rather delightful twist.
- Banana caramel whipped cream: Well this was almost the winner recipe for us until we had the one with blueberry topping which won hands down. The hard, semi ripped, cold banana diskettes are just blissful when topped with their special caramel sauce. This one looked like it came straight out of a Despicable movie…I felt like a minion for a moment there.
- Belgian Chocolate: For those who love their chocolate in the bitter form. This variant is quite a bit famous within the regular customers of the place.
- Peanut butter waffle: This one was quiet distinct flavor with a salty , buttery taste and nuts to munch on. This one also a rather rare one amongst the others which would prevent the waffle from getting soggy quickly. A note here from Mr. Tanmay himself wherein he makes it a point to mention to all his customers to finish off the waffle in about 3-4 minutes as it can quickly become soggy from all the loaded toppings. Some of the customers in the past had a rather unpleasant experience when it turned it bit chewy and soggy and from there on it was made a code of the waffle hut to urge the customers to finish it within 3 mins. Personally speaking I dint mind eating a rather moist waffle as it soaked all the syrups that it was made to drizzle in and gave it a taste; for the waffle in itself doesn’t really have any taste of its own.
- The blueberry waffle: Now you would see a rather extreme opinion on this one if you read the reviews from zoman who was on a rampage of waffles one after the other. He is not really into sweet stuff and as such turned this one down but me and ‘almost gujju – maanas’ were just passing orgasmic looks as we devoured the waffle in one go messing up our mouths over it.
Well and if you are not spoilt enough over the choices offered then you have a range of pancakes, milkshakes, crepes, sizzling brownies, juices and tea to go gaga over. Tanmay did serve us a peached ice tea as well. Made out of Monin’s this one was a rather sweet at the onset but then Tanmay was quick to grab that look on our face and blended it a bit to make it just right. So in short it’s not just about waffles at the Waffles hut you are in for a complete treat for your taste buds. And the place runs till midnight, yes you heard it right the people have special privilege from the Phoenix management to keep the sweetness flowing till 12 in the night. We had a great time relishing some of the best made waffles from team ‘The Waffle hut’ – thanks to Tanmay and Rahul.
Other aspects that I typically cover in my reviews like service and ambience, really counts little in this kind of place. Yet the staff is so skilled that service will certainly be on spot I am pretty sure about that. Value for money factor is a bit on lower side is what you think at first but if you appreciate the fact that they use some of the best and costliest ingredients to create that experience for your palette tips then I am sure you won’t mind paying.
Ok guys time for a little sneak peak as well. As I was saying they have lot of marketing plans in mind and they are gonna go all great guns about expansion – they are coming up with a very special outlet in the alley of Amanora mall too. With the kind of rollercoaster ride my taste buds experienced; this place has definitely bagged a special place on my list of hang outs.