These 25-year-olds are changing the way Chennai eats its waffles
Now you don’t need to sit down to enjoy a waffle. In fast-paced times, 25-year-olds Sankesh Mehta and Aakash Shah have re-imagined this quintessential European dish, traditionally served on a plate with fork and knife — to a mobile perk-me-up that can be savoured while trudging through the chaos of Chennai traffic!
They call it: the Belgian Waff-Wich. Served in attractive paper cones as packaging, at their month-old takeaway spot, That Waffle Place! in Anna Nagar — we sample a crisp Red Velvet waffle sandwich generously slathered with layers of white chocolate and cream cheese. It’s crisp, decadent and doesn’t need an Instagram filter! Twenty minutes later, we find to our surprise, it’s softer much to our liking, and not soggy as we expect, because there is no syrup in the mix.
With 14 flavours on the menu, ranging from a basic Maple Butter to a combination Peanut Butter and chocolate — Sankesh informs us that hailing from the Jain community, his biggest challenge was creating their ‘egg-free batter’. “Man, we must have had tasting trials for about 45 days at a stretch,” he takes us back to the R&D process before they opened their first branch in Purusawalkam last year. Eventually, they got it down to perfection. For an additional Rs 20, “You can swap out a basic Belgian waffle for a dark chocolate or a red velvet one as well,” he shares.
Sipping on a refreshing Very Berry Iced Tea as we go along, we chat about early beginnings. The duo started The Wok Box Co. with zero hospitality experience last year after recognising a gap in the market for vegetarian Pan Asian cuisine. “Aakash comes from an engineering background and worked at Zomato, while I worked at an AI firm (both in Mumbai) before we both decided to move back to Chennai and open a food business,” Sankesh recalls. Adding their dessert concept to the mix, the plan is to expand That Waffle Place! to at least 10 outlets by next March via a franchise model.
We don’t doubt this vision coming to be, as we dig into their second novel selling point of the evening — a tray of ‘bite-sized’ Dutch mini pancakes (12 per plate). Resembling a paniyaram, these are not only adorable to look at, but draw you in with a gradient of textures — going from soft to chewy to the perfect brown crisp on top. We opt for the Berry Blast (with berry compote and whipped cream) and Nutella (Nutella and Belgian chocolate) and quickly realise why you cannot stop at one.
Belgian Waff-Wiches Rs 80 to Rs 160, Dutch Mini Pancakes Rs 130 to Rs 170.
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