Friday, June 15, 2012

The Waffle King, Dover Gardens (SA) by Big Fil

For a number of reasons it’s taken me quite a while to write this post. A single visit on a mid-week night left me with mixed feelings, I couldn’t find the notes I made afterwards and I had a slight apprehension that I might be under-rating it a little particularly given that Hungry Pete enjoyed our visit more than I did. Despite it being very quiet for our visit he’d also indicated that it was very popular particularly for weekend breakfasts so there are obviously others out there who liked it as well. But blogging is a personal and subjective thing and at least the time which had passed gave meant that I wouldn’t get lost in the details and could give a more balanced view, or that’s what I told myself anyway.

First thing is I am not sure about the concept. I’ve always considered waffles in one of two ways, either one of a number of options offered as part of a breakfast or dessert menu, or a quick street snack. It could have been that I was a bit of a stick-in-the-mud and unwilling to embrace an unfamiliar concept, but the notion of an upmarket waffle house didn’t quite work for me. Secondly I am not sure about the location, located in a non-descript set of shops on a main road in the middle of Adelaide suburbia. The rent might be cheap but it’s a tough location, needing to either drag people in from outside the area for a special visit or be able to really win the hearts and minds of locals into making regular visits.

It’s obviously somewhere which has been well thought out though, and has the potential stamp of franchise material both in terms of product and style. Watching the waffles being made is kind of interesting, and I was fascinated by the Waffle King’s medieval feast mural, complete with minstrels, jesters and a waffle eating horse.

The waffles themselves are made using Belgium chocolate and are presented in a manor more reminiscent of restaurant fare than typical fairground fodder. And I think that’s part of the problem for me. It’s not quite how I see waffles. Yes the quality is better than most waffles which probably reflects the superior ingredients they seem to use. And I am hardly one to say no to warm crispy sugary goodness. But I would have been just as happy to have received my waffle from a food truck, still hot from the grill and smothered in cheap chocolate which was starting to make the bag go soggy.

They seem to be aiming something between fast food and restaurant quality desserts and are priced accordingly. In addition to waffles they also do a small range of crepes which both of us found better than our waffles, I suspect because these were more freshly made.

I sort of want The Waffle King to be a success because the staff were obviously trying so hard, to the point where they occasionally straddled the line between good service and overstatement. There has obviously been a lot of thought given to the concept and I like places that try to be a little different. I do suspect it might have had a better chance somewhere in the city nearer to where most international students congregate as in style it reminds me a lot of some of the Asian dessert bars (but with different food of course). Given that it’s walking distance from Hungry Pete’s I suspect we will be back there at some stage for another try, but I can’t see it becoming a personal favourite place.

Food – 7
Service – 7.5
Ambience – 7
Price – 6.5

85 Sturt Road
Dover Gardens SA 5048
Tel: 0413 279 731

The Waffle King  on Urbanspoon


Anonymous said...

I'm really perplexed by your review of the Waffle King. If you didn't want your waffle on a plate, but served out of a bag, why did you go? What were you expecting??!!!

EatAndBeMerryCrew said...

Why did I go? Hungry Pete was very keen and I was curious about it myself. I am more than happy to try new and novel things, sometimes they work for you and sometimes they don't. The idea of an upmarket waffle house was one that didn't work for me, although I know Pete liked it.

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