The Waffle House, Norwich, restaurant review: ‘No wonder it’s a classic’
- Credit: Archant
The Waffle House is one of Norwich's most popular destinations but does it live up to the hype?
Established in 1978, The Waffle House still sits in its Georgian, Grade 2 listed home and it's stronger than ever, attracting crowds from far and wide with it's niche offerings. Imagine your favourite comfort food seated proudly on a waffle and you get an idea of what they serve. If you haven't already, look up their menu. From Indian curry to Italian Parma, you name it and they'll put it on a waffle lattice and serve it up.
There is bound to be some hesitation at first. You can even get a waffle-borne Full English until midday. It's not your usual meal out, but with everyone that's ever been singing its praises I knew I had to give it a go.
MORE: The Kings Head, Letheringsett, restaurant review: 'Quality and atmosphere are outstanding'You can choose between wholemeal or white waffles - our server hinted white was better. For my evening starter I had the garlic butter waffle with a small mountain of grated cheese - a good palate cleanser for things to come.
I ordered the Bolognaise waffle for mains - the beef was done to perfection and the red wine sauce was nicely offset by the herbs. There was a choice of cheeses. I went for the saucy variety and it flowed attractively off the meaty hub like lava from a dairy volcano, coming to rest neatly in the waffle's squares.
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My partner had the Asian tuna salad waffle which looked far more gourmet, with balsamic-coated salad virtually leaping off the base. The tuna steak came fairly rare, seemingly by default, which pleased my partner although it may not be to everyone's liking.
Dessert was a chocolate mousse waffle - also really good but there wasn't enough mousse to counter the waffle's plainness and I was left wishing I'd asked them to drop a scoop of ice cream on top as well. Vanilla choc chip would have fit the bill.
MORE: The Last Wine Bar, Norwich, restaurant review: 'Some of the best food you'll find in Norwich'My partner's Banoffee waffle - a medley of sliced bananas, toffee, chocolate and waffle - was I'm told, like 'heaven on a plate' and represented everything that's good in the world.
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Three waffles in a row was pretty indulgent - though servings aren't massive they fill you up nicely. I would say it's important to try to go for dishes with at least a little sauce - the waffles can be a tad bland without it.
They say the first waffles were developed from medieval communion wafers which depicted Jesus on the cross. Luckily, the delights served up at the Waffle House aren't nearly so pious. In fact, stepping inside feels you've just arrived at the country home of Belgian aunt who's eager to spoil you rotten with the fruits of her waffle iron. There's plenty of wooden furniture, yellow flowers on the till, drawings of bees hung in frames and zero pretensions.
There's a short wine list but I went for a bottled beer thinking that was more Belgian and therefore somehow more of a match for waffles. They have Leffe, some less common brews like Lacons Encore and Bhrama Brazilian Draft on tap.
Casual, efficient and full of confident smiles - you get the impression the people who work here are enjoying themselves. We didn't have to wait to be seated and we chatted to our waitress at the end of the meal.
If you are seated downstairs you have to go out the restaurant's front door and up an adjoining staircase to get to them. Everything in the loos is tiled, light and fresh. My partner noted approvingly the nappy changing facilities easily accessible for both mums and dads.
The St Giles Multi Storey car park is just down the road, or you can park in St Giles Street itself for up to an hour until 6.30pm, with no limit afterwards.
Norwich's Waffle House is at 41 St Giles Street, a quiet, but central one-way thoroughfare. It's just a couple of minutes' walk from Norwich Market.
Mains are £7 to £10 and I'd call that fair. This isn't a fancy place where you're obliged to dress up and splurge, but a laid-back environment you can enjoy hearty, organic tucker. Drinks are as you'd imagine - £4-£5 for anything alcoholic and £2.75 for a cappuccino.
Simple as it was, I'd say the starter. There's just something about being presented with a cheesy, herby waffle and knowing that there's more to come.
The familiar ambience of the place is a good reason that's got me wanting to go back - it really does feel like you've been welcomed into a relative's home. A cosy setting serving hearty fare - on waffles. No wonder it's a classic.
board or two. I think it will be a place we frequent quite regularly.
This is an independent review.
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