On a waffle walk
Waffles, the dessert from Belgium, are getting popular with Puneites. Gurleen Sethi visits a few places in town to know what are the hot favourites, the delicious toppings and why they make a perfect comfort dessert.
Pune and Brussels have two things in common, namely, cycles and waffles. Made from leavened batter or dough that is cooked between two plates that are patterned to give a characteristic size, shape and surface impression, waffles, which are a speciality of Belgium, have found patrons in Pune too.
To have freshly baked and warm Belgian style waffles, step into your glocal cafe Wafflin Around. With a rustic European ambience and brick wall and a predominantly cycle decor theme, the place gives a nostalgic feel, where you can enjoy conversations with friends while biting into yummy waffles.
Owner Akash Pandhare says, “While growing up, I was fascinated by the concept of waffles and Pune always lacked a dedicated place serving authentic Belgian waffles, so we at Wafflin Around introduced the concept of waffle sandwiches to Pune.” After completing Hospitality Management from Lavasa, Pandhare went to Spain for his MBA. “I happened to travel across Europe and made trips to Amsterdam and Brussels from where waffles originate. Following a month’s research on the original waffle recipe, Wafflin Around was conceptualised,” he says.
They have a distinct variety of waffles on their menu. “We have three waffle bases to choose from — Classic Vanilla, Cocoa and Red Velvet — all of which are pure veg. Some of our bestsellers include the Nutella Rocher, Red Velvet Creamcheese, Chocolate OD, and amongst ice-cream waffles are the DBC and Red Velvet Oreo,” he says.
Mahender Singh Rathore, a visitor at Wafflin Around, says, “I tried the Snowy Waffle, which is a waffle sandwich with ice cream stuffing. I will visit it again.”
Pandhare, however, says that the waffle industry is still at a nascent stage in India. There is a lot of scope for growth.
Location: D4, Chaitraban Society, opp Croma, Aundh
Timings: 11.30 am-11.30 pm
Sisters Neha and Shraddha Bhoyar’s love for waffles takes them to Waffle Hut often. “We are regular customers and keep visiting it on weekends. Banana Caramel and Walnut Chocolate Brownie are our favourites,” says Neha.
Waffle Hut has an interesting history behind its origin. Owner Tanmay Bhosale adds that his love for waffles bloomed during his five years’ stay in London. “Back then, London Bridge was my favourite destination for satiating my waffle cravings. It has a decent number of joints selling delicious waffles with a vast variety of toppings... so it all started from there. I wanted to introduce Puneites to this new form of breakfast or dessert food,” he says.
Talking about their house favourites, he says, “Our top ranked is Belgium Chocolate Spread Waffles which has authentic Belgium Chocolate poured over warm freshly baked waffle and drizzled with dark chocolate. We also serve Brownie Waffle, waffle sandwiches called Waffle Paninis, Bubble Waffle, Lolly Waffles which are in the shape of a lollipop, crispy rolls, etc.” Location: Phoenix Mall, Season’s Mall, Amanora Mall, Westin Mall, Gangadham Bibewadi
Timings: 11 am-11 pm
Strategically located opposite Fergusson College Campus, Oh Freak! appeals to youngsters, as patrons Swapnil and Ketki vouch, “The waffles have an awesome taste and the place also has a good ambience and service.”
Oh Freak! owner Reesha Jain, who is an avid traveller, was enchanted by the concept of freak shakes and waffles topped with the world’s craziest toppings and wanted to introduce the same to Puneites. “It was my childhood dream to create my own recipes and introduce them to the city I love the most — Pune!” says she.
They have a variety of waffles on the menu and keep innovating with new additions from time to time. “We have waffles in a classic base and chocolate. These freshly made hot delicacies are then taken to our topping bar and dolloped with the world’s most loved ingredients. Whipped cream, sprinklers, chocolate drizzles, yummy Nutella, fresh berries... you can create any combination of your choice from our menu. Our personal favourites are Oreo and Strawberry Waffles, the Chocolate Waffle and the Waffle Sundaes.”
Reesha says waffles are profitable. “But for us at Oh Freak! it’s always been the happiness of our customers. As I foresee it, waffles, which are a perfect comfort dessert anytime of the year, will not only become popular in big cities but smaller towns too. Ice cream tops the list of the most loved Indian dessert and waffles will soon take the second place,” she says.
Location: Opp Fergusson College, FC Road
Timings: 9 am-11.30 pm
The Belgian Waffle Co
Manoj Kumar Naickar, owner, The Belgian Waffle Co, says waffles are the only dessert which he craves for and that is the reason he decided to open the place. “It’s better to go with a product which you love yourself because I believe if you love it yourself you will sell it better. Our brand and waffles were loved in Mumbai, so we planned to introduce the same in Pune. Pune has been a surprise package for the food industry, people always welcome new products and the spending capacity has also increased and I feel this is how it has been growing as a city,” he says.
They serve waffles in various twists like the regular waffle which has two waffles sandwiched together, crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. “We also have Dark Chocolate Waffle which comes with a twist for the chocolate-dark chocolate blended with our signature batter, honey butter which is warm melted butter with golden honey drizzle, maple butter which comes with golden maple syrup with warm melted butter, Cinna Wrappe which has apple compote, layered with soft cream cheese and the compote is 70 per cent fresh fruit, and PBNC which is crunchy honey roasted peanut butter spread with a delicious gooey chocolate. We also have Strawberry and Blueberry Cream Cheese, Belgian Milk Chocolate which is filled with gooey melted milk chocolate, Naked Nutella — an European chocolate hazelnut spread, Coffee waffle which is filled with chocolate and crushed coffee, and many more like Chocolate Overload, Dark and White Fantasy, etc. We also serve beverages along with it like Nutella Shake, Choco Shake, Banana Caramel Shake, Oreo Shake, etc,” he says.
Sarvesh, a regular customer, says, “I love their Waffle-wich, served like sandwich! Their Chocolate Overload is fabulous!”
Location: Baner, JM Road, Koregaon Park, Viman Nagar, Salunke Vihar Timings: 10 am-12.15 am