Food Review: Waffles of substance

19 August 2015 - 02:09 By Siphiliselwe Makhanya

Ramsgate's Waffle House serves up the food of good family-holiday memories. The café and restaurant specialises in Belgian-style waffles heaving with your choice of sweet or savoury toppings, which taste mostly as good as they look.I say "mostly" because the cosy, cabin-style restaurant was the site of my first case of food envy. While eating out with a friend, I ordered the "all-time favourite" savoury chicken curry option; he, the sweet banoffee waffle. My plate arrived looking and smelling wonderful - tender, free-range chicken served with sambals, slices of banana and chutney, alongside a photogenic waffle.The downside - my fault for misreading the menu - was that the curry was mild. To me, ordering a curry and choosing the mild option is like visiting an amusement park to enjoy its escalators. Why bother?My friend agreed to swap plates. I sampled a mouthful of fresh banana slices drizzled with in-house-made caramel sauce and buried beneath a scoop of rich vanilla ice cream.Then he asked for his plate back.He had good cause - the caramel was sublime. The ice-cream, manager Johan Mostert told later tell us, is made by a local supplier, as are most of the ingredients used for the dishes on the menu.The South Coast is banana-growing country and the menu celebrates that.Besides the two dishes we sampled, there is banana in the traditional bobotie savoury waffle. The fruit is the star of its own show in the simple banana waffle, where it sits sliced atop a waffle sprinkled with cinnamon sugar. Fried banana is available as an optional savoury side.If the tropical fruit isn't your thing, there are savoury waffles with steak and kidney; ham, cheese and mushroom; and chicken à la king.Vegetarians are provided for. Cheese sauce and mushrooms; vegetable curry; and hummus and avocado are a few of the many options available on the main menu.The sweet waffles cater to herbivores and carnivores alike - hot Dutch apple waffles; roasted macadamia nut waffles; chocolate chip; and mousse of orange, chocolate or lemon meringue.One of the best things about the Waffle House is the efficiency and non-intrusive friendliness of the staff, even though the place is generally packed. Mostert moved between the tables chatting to patrons about the history of the restaurant.The family-owned business began life as the Tea House in the 1950s, owned by husband and wife team John and Doreen Gaze. Its name changed in 1991 when their eldest son took over and decided to make it the third of two Waffle Houses he had successfully opened in the United Kingdom.Need to knowWhen to go: If ever you find yourself in Ramsgate.What to drink: Try the seasonal fruit milkshake. The berry was a winner.Whatever you do: Don't forget to tip the helpful car guard. You'll need his help to find a parking space near the restaurant or across the road.How much do you need: About R80 per person for something savoury, R30 to R50 for something sweet. Drinks from R9 for a small glass of milk to R33 for a regular milkshake.Where: Lot 839, Marine Drive, Ramsgate, KwaZulu-Natal

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