Sherman's Food Adventures: Waffleland


32 Water Street in Gastown has not been the kindest location for restaurants.  The first that I visited was Mosquito and while it was good, the pricing was too high.  This gave way to Ampersand Bistro & Bar that dished up designer Dim Sum at a premium price.  I personally didn't believe this would work and ultimately, this closed as well.  Now we see the newly-opened Waffleland trying to see if 3rd times the charm.  Well, not to give away too much of what is to come in this post, I would think that unless some major changes are made, we will be seeing 4th restaurant in the near future.

We kicked things off with a couple of bevvies from the menu including the Magic Butterfly Pea Lemonade and the Pineapple Dole Whip.  Presented in an attractive shade of purple, the lemonade was rather mild and had a strange aftertaste.  We couldn't put our finger as to what it was.  As for the Dole whip, it was nothing like the real thing (probably cannot due to copyright either?).  It tasted more like Orange Julius pineapple orange.  I did witness No Name orange juice being made and no offense to the product, but it is more sour than something like Tropicana, so it was a little disappointing as an ingredient for a drink that cost $7.95.

Moving onto our first dish, we had the Waffle'd Up Chicken featuring a Liège waffle with breaded chicken fingers, with sriracha lime seasoning, green apple slices, fries and maple syrup.  This was disappointing where you can clearly tell that the chicken strips are from Costco and the fries are frozen Cavendish brand.  Nothing wrong if you were making this say, at home, but not acceptable for a restaurant charging $17.00.  Furthermore, the waffle itself was not a Liège.  It was far too fluffy without any chewiness and lacking in the pearl sugar crystals.  To be blunt, this is an insult to the customers.

Next was the Gastown Brunch (typo of "Branch" on the menu) that sported a Norwegian waffle topped with cheddar and mozza, bacon, seasoned chicken breast, arugula, tomatoes and ranch.  Okay, the good news is the waffle was pretty good being crispy and light.  The bad news was that the chicken was the precooked strips also found at Costco.  Hence, they were rubbery and lacked real chicken breast texture.  Above that, the bacon was good, yet I suspect it is the precooked Tyson strips also found at Costco.  Sigh...  Honestly, it is okay to actually attempt to cook something from scratch, especially at a restaurant...

Lastly, we had the St. Fruity Road with a Norwegian waffle topped by strawberries, bananas, chocolate sauce, roasted almonds and whipped cream.  This was the best of the bunch with the same crispy waffle and fresh fruit.  There was too much chocolate sauce on top though.  Okay, I'm sure there are those who think I'm being too harsh or mean, especially given the challenging times for restaurants.  I agree we should be more patient and more forgiving.  However, customers who spend their hard-earned money could also be struggling or had a tough time during Covid.  So they should not be subjected to subpar food as well.  If they wanted to eat Costco pre-cooked products, they could just buy it themselves and reheat.  At least Laowai (and I gave them a hard time too) makes most of their food from scratch (even if I didn't like it).  Hence, I think that Waffleland has to try a whole lot better, their existence depends on it.

The Good:
- Nice people
- Quaint spot
- Norwegian waffle was good

The Bad:
- They have to stop using pre-cooked Costco products


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