The Ten Best Waffles in Auckland
A great waffle is a complex beast.
June 25, 2015
THE TEN BEST WAFFLES IN AUCKLAND
A great waffle is a complex beast.
A great waffle truly is the height of indulgence, but not too easy to come by in our fair city. Waffles are a complex beast, with a long and varied history that makes it difficult to pin down exactly what the perfect waffle is. Some are light and fluffy, others dense and moist, while still others are chewy and caramelised at the edges, yet all these options have their own charms. That said, extra points most definitely go to any waffle that manages to be soft, fluffy and/or moist in the middle and crispy or chewy on the outside. Then there is the complicated question of toppings - should a waffle come piled up with delicious additions, or should a truly great waffle stand out on its own, with perhaps just a stripe of maple syrup or a dash of chocolate sauce? We say yes, to everything.
However, there are a few factors that make some waffles excel above the rest: We have given points for originality, texture (whichever kind, just so long as it's done well), and flavour. So before I start to waffle on, here are all of the options that are available to you as a waffle lover in Auckland city.
If you are looking purely for a sweet treat The Shelf is a great option. Although their waffles appear on the brunch menu, they are very sweet, and are much more of a dessert than a viable meal.
The texture of the waffle is cake-y, with a sweet, vanilla flavour. It comes served with icing sugar, chocolate sauce and enough cream and maple syrup to drown yourself in (if you were really trying, that is). It is very soft and doughy, and is not crispy or chewy on the outside at all. The chocolate sauce is good, although there could be more of it. The cream is very sweet and fluffy.
They also do great coffee at The Shelf, so if you want to be buzzing off a double coffee-sugar hit, this is the place for you.
The Little Bird Unbakery in Ponsonby has only one waffle, but it is totally unique and light on the guilt being both gluten free and (relatively) light on sugar. Their gingerbread waffle served with sliced pear, coconut-citrus whipped cream, maple syrup and candied walnuts will set you back $19, and is a raw-food take on this classic treat. Contrary to the cafe’s name, this waffle is ‘baked’ in a waffle iron, however it is made with buckwheat to make it a healthier option.
The gingerbread waffle is a great winter treat; it is sweet, spicy and filling. It rates well on crispiness, however falls short on texture, which is a little rough and dry. The toppings are great and the waffle is very unique in flavour. The indulgence factor is low on this one as the flavours are relatively clean and simple.
Before 11am on week days, and all day on weekends The Botanist has a range of three savoury and two sweet waffles to get you set up for the day. Their savoury waffles are made with potato and cheddar in a bread-y dough, while the sweet waffles use a conventional sweet waffle batter.
The savoury waffles have a flavour a bit like a toasted sandwich, and a dense texture which is punctuated nicely by fluffy potato. They are all served with rocket and a poached egg and the mushroom and halloumi option was unbelievably filling (even shared between two), and herby, although a little salt-heavy.
For the sweet waffles here you can choose from the gourmet options of peanut butter ricotta, peanut brittle and caramelised banana, or poached pear, chocolate, hazelnut and whiskey maple syrup.
Charlie & George have two options of waffles to chose from; on the all day breakfast menu they offer a sweet blueberry waffle and on the lunch menu (available from 11:30am) they do a corn and chicken waffle. Each option is served out in generous portions, and made with its own delicious batter.
The waffles come in a stack of three, with ingredients variously piled on top or sandwiched into the stack. On top of the blueberry waffles is a subtle and not-too-sweet vanilla mascarpone, and fresh blueberries. The waffles themselves are thick and fluffy, and only slightly crispy on the outside. On the side is a lemon curd that achieves the perfect balance of sweet and tart without being too challenging to the pallet, and a blueberry syrup which is fragrant on the pallet but is not as interesting a contrast to the meal.
Their corn and chicken waffle is layered with spicy chicken, crème fraîche, rocket salad and tomato relish. It is made from a savoury dough that has a more dense consistency than their sweet waffle and is made with corn, while their sweet batter has whole blueberries added.
If you’ve got a hankering for mood lighting, eclectic decor and fried chicken with your waffles, Orleans is the place for you. The serving sizes here leave a little to be desired (a little more food, specifically), but it is a truly pleasurable experience to sit in this cosy environment and eat gourmet chicken waffles.
The waffles are crispy, thin and chewy, served over a generous drizzle of spicy, delicious maple syrup. The crispiness of the waffles are an excellent complement to the fried chicken, and the tender meat makes up for the lack of substance in the waffles, creating a satisfying mouth feel. The flavours also complement nicely, with the sweet maple syrup contrasting nicely to the subtly salty fried chicken – although I would have preferred a more even flavor balance between the salty and sweet ends of the spectrum.
If you want something to wash them down with, their own American Pale Ale is a treat, particularly with the light, spicy flavours playing off this dish.
Another reduced guilt option, Mondays offers gluten-free buckwheat waffles, served with crushed macadamias, spiced chai berry compote, maple syrup and your choice of coconut or cow’s milk yogurt.
They use cardamon and cinnamon in the batter which creates a warm flavour to the waffles. The texture of the waffles is crispy and crumbly – and while it’s not soft or chewy, they cook their waffles quite thin, which improves the texture and makes the waffles less dry than the thinner buckwheat option at Little Bird. Where Mondays really wins though is the toppings, which are tart, sweet, textural and perfectly complement each other.
If you want to really indulge combine their waffle with one of their raw super food smoothies. Our recommendation would be the rather wicked banana chocolate fudge, which somehow manages to be totally raw and vegan and also unbelievably delicious.
Unlike most of the other options on this list, the serving size of Scratch HQ’s potato waffle is just about perfect and won’t leave you feeling like you need to be rolled out of the restaurant. The dish consists of one waffle, two eggs, a few strips of beetroot-cured salmon and horseradish paste.
The flavours are light and interact wonderfully together; the waffle is dense with a bread-y flavour from the waffle and an earthy flavour from the potato. This is contrasted nicely by the freshness of the salmon, the zing of the horseradish and the clean leafy taste and texture of the watercress that garnishes the plate.
Cornwall Park Creamery is a cute little hole-in-the-wall coffee, sandwich and ice cream shop in Cornwall Park. On a nice day you can grab a waffle and sit in the sun while you soak in all the nature.
These guys have stuck to doing a few things really well, and as such they have only a few sweet waffles available; you can have waffle with Rush Munro ice cream, or (and we would suggest going with this one) with a massive dollop of Nutella, and plenty of banana. Of all the waffles on this list Cornwall Park Creamery were best at finding the balance in batter/cooking time ratio: their waffles were both crispy and fluffy.
The only thing that left me with a bad taste in my mouth from this experience was that they only offer the waffles with non-degradable, one-use plastic cutlery. Also, while the Creamery offers perfection, but they could get a little leg up in the variety department.
Rhythm Coffee has the most extensive range of waffle dishes on this list. As well as all the usual sweet waffles, they implement waffles in a range of other meals, such as their waffle burger and big breakfast, with waffles on the side.
All the waffles are made with the same batter which is sweet, fluffy and slightly crispy around the edges. Their original waffle is decadent, with a scoop of ice cream, a whole sliced banana, chocolate sauce, berry sauce, maple syrup and whipped cream. They have a huge range of equally interesting and indulgent options, including a fondant waffle and a cheesy waffle. The cheesy waffle is particularly interesting, with mozzarella and camembert melted into the squares. This dish dose not quite know if it is a dessert or a savoury, but either way the infusion of cheese and waffle is quite spectacular and it is served with honey and chutney which enhances the sweetness of the dish.
Waffle Supreme is a tiny little kitchen sheltering inside a red shipping crate on Elliot Street. The walls are lined with all sorts of strange and interesting objects to help them craft the perfect waffles – the sorts of tools that you might expect to see in a jeweller’s workshop rather than a waffle kitchen. Whatever they are doing with all these weird and wonderful things, its working.