Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Whacky Waffles: The Indulgence Central...

"Calcutta has almost everything to offer when it comes to food. Isn't it?"- A reputed fashion blogger from Delhi catechized. To set the context, the first half of the venerated Indiblogger meet (organized at the Kingdom of Dreams, Gurgaon) was over and were having lunch at the courtyard. It was nothing less than a gala lunch to be honest, and bringing in the Calcutta reference did send in a strong message. Evidently, she was pretty much impressed with the 'food-in-the-city'...dude, let me tell you, a fashion blogger talking about food is something phenomenal. BOY! Interesting stuff indeed...the fact that she has visited Calcutta only a couple times, made the discussion all the more compelling. I guess the statement was perhaps not as "cosmetic" or sketchy as it apparently sounds but having said that, it did insinuate a number of related wringers. Let us contemplate those 6 key pointers:
  • Calcutta serves variety food,
  • Calcutta serves healthy food,
  • Calcutta serves innovative food,
  • Calcutta serves fashionable food,
  • Calcutta serves reasonably priced food,
  • Calcutta food caters to all the pointers above.
I'm absolutely sure of the fact that given a chance, you would end up choosing the last option almost instinctively. But then to complete this survey, I'd rather choose a sample size of 50 out of which at least 80% would be tourists (desi/videsi) visiting Calcutta for the first time at staying here for an approximate stretch of 5 days- that would definitely present a clearer picture. Anyway, since I had already spotted a prospective respondent, grabbing hold of some worthy primary data was pretty much on the cards. I wanted to dig deep but.
"Dude, you guys have so much of variety even when it comes to street food...I guess it's a pity that you don't have a dedicated waffle store yet. The likes are Ricos, Big Yellow Door, Wengers and even the Monkey Bar in Delhi attract a lot of footprints."- She articulated. There was a moment's silence that followed...yes, she was pretty much on the money...in-spite of a limited exposure, she has actually managed to identify a key arroyo in the otherwise laudable profile of Calcutta Cuisines. That pretty much abrogates the first pointer "variety" and as a result, dents into the virtue called "first impression." Sadly, I couldn't contest that very statement...dude, even I was unsure; I didn't have facts to support my argument. I won't claim that I'm a waffle junkie but then that might be attributable to the fact that we don't get to taste authentic waffles in Calcutta, forget the "variety" aspect.

I certainly needed an inspiration to write about waffles, and fortunately it did come pretty soon. A gratifying invitation to "Whacky Waffles", the first ever dedicated Waffle kiosk (yes, you read it right..."dedicated" is the word) in Calcutta, did turn out to be a genial sojourn. As a food blogger, I guess I'm expected to pen down a rather uninteresting, customary account of my overall experience of dining/snacking at a particular food joint....well really? I refuse to follow the so-called food blogging etiquette's in this post because frankly speaking, I have been blown away. The good people at Whacky Waffles have already made a sparkling entry into the 'gastronomic history' of the city, the first mover advantage as they say in technical terms. And when you add a certain glint called "quality" into your platter, the aftermath is revitalizing. Furthermore, you get to add a personal touch to your waffles as well...that's certainly quite a gourmand up in the foodie profile I reckon. The journey of Whacky Waffles started in 2014 when it made a strong debut during the Christmas Carnival in the city; people loved the waffles and encouraged them to take it to the next level- thanks folks responding to the 'call', this has been a very beguiling & successful venture indeed. Much appreciated.

Hallelujah!...The replenishing appetite of Calcutta-wasi certainly needed a luscious, rather ambrosial solution, and guess what they get to taste 17 sweet and 3 savory (I have been told that there will be a discernible number of additions to the list...real soon) variants at the Waffle kiosk located right in-front of the Brand Factory, just behind Forum Mall, Elgin Road. And as I mentioned already, you can customize your own waffle by adding additional toppings/syrup to your liking. I really appreciate the fact that they have included Fresh Juices (including orange, pomegranate etc.), Floats (including Coke and Fanta), Coolers (including lemonades, Blue Lagoon etc.) and Shakes (including Oreo, Vanilla, Mango etc.) to add that 'sense of completeness' to entire tabulation; this could also be a super-hit considering the ghastly humidity of Calcutta. Well done guys. The menu card, is itself pretty alluring as well as detailed to present an exhaustive account of their benefaction (Ha-ha! I am absolutely sure of this when I say benefaction). Honestly speaking, this waffle-joint has potential of becoming extremely popular with the kids...I can already visualize the spark in their eyes when they get to see the menu- You guys are pretty much in line to make a social impact ;)

What did we eat? - Okay guys, relax...I know that you have been dying to read this section and I like always I promise not to disappoint you. The good people at Whacky Waffles treated us royally, they are extremely warmhearted hosts I must confess...warmhearted people serving super-cool dishes...that summed it up perfectly. We started off with the classic Tropical Delight that set the tone perfectly, the strawberry flavor does have a very refreshing chrysalis...with the charm of pineapple greeting creating a fantastic chemistry with our taste buds. The follow-up variants, Nutella Monkey and Berry Merry did fairly well in the slog overs, though the latter tasted almost similar as Tropical delight. I'm slightly biased towards Nutella Monkey because anything and everything that have the remotest of association with "chocolate", triggers me to the core. The addition of banana slices adds a very different 'aroma' to the platter, and of course a very luring one...that certainly works for me. Wanna try?

Salsa-on-the-couch, from the 'Savory' sectionthat followed suit didn't disappoint either...the effect was much like smelling coffee beans after a judicious exposure to a variety of fragrances; it prepared us for the next set of delicacies that were ready to be served. Whoof !!! Such "whacky" names. Every food joint has a "chef's choice"- TADA...all eyes instinctively followed the candied 'aura' as the super delicious Belgian Alaska was being served on the table. Dude...tempting is perhaps an understatement; a magical collaboration formed by the taste of honey and essence of vanilla was certainly the oomph-factor of the afternoon. I'm not surprised to witness the serving box literally turning empty within a matter of seconds. The waffle almost melted in my mouth, the ice-cream topping added to the indulgence quotient for sure...such was the bewitchery. I was absolutely loving the experience..!!

WAIT! Even the waffle-on-stick (currently not on menu), that was served in the end, was pretty impressive...the crispy texture, topped with chocolate sauce did script the "Happy Ending"; a pretty innovative way of serving waffles I must confess. They even served us coolers to keep us "hydrated" through the waffle-tasting and clicking session. Hahaha! So sweet of you guys :)

"Can waffles be made egg-less?"- The inquisitive mind conjectured. The question was certainly triggered by the fact that one of our team-mates is a staunch veggie. 
"Why not? We'll include that in the menu soon"- The host heartily professed. I could see a comforting smile in her face...oh yes, they are cooking up some really cool recipes out there; evidently we've got some really cool entrepreneurs in this city...!!!

Mandatory Rating Time:

Location: 24, Lee Road, Near Brand Factory, Elgin, Kolkata
Genre: Quick Bites, Snacks
Timings: 12 noon- midnight
Type: Vegetarian (though waffles contain egg)
Price range: Average price per unit is INR 130/-, quite pocket-friendly
Foodie Picks: Belgian Alaska, Nutella Monkey
Food quality: Excellent- 8.5/10, Variety- 8/10, Presentation- 5/10
Service: Great- 8/10
Verdict: Highly Recommended

Disclaimer: This was an invited review and no compensation, monetary or otherwise, was involved. All views expressed in this post are my own and not influenced by the hosts in anyway. You can find Whacky Waffles on Facebook too.

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