If you go here for one thing let it be their milkshakes. Specifically their malted chocolate shake. The milkshakes are possibly the best thing about this place.. and that’s no easy feat when they’re all about waffles! Trust me, you’ll never look at milkshakes the same way again. The type that are difficult to even drink through the straw, these are so thick, creamy and delicious they will ruin all future milkshakes for you!
I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to blog about this place. We don’t often go these days but when we first moved here we used to visit every week! People I know come to St. Albans just to eat at the Waffle House, and at weekends (especially during the summer), you can queue for up to an hour just to get in. I can see why this place is popular – a beautiful place with a exciting concept, plenty of onsite parking for convenience and let’s be honest.. who doesn’t love waffles!? There’s a charming, rustic indoor area but there’s also a huge outdoor tent to eat in.. In summer when they pull the sides back it’s perfect.
When we first went I was so excited, I love waffles and I get excited about all the toppings but I’ll admit that the novelty soon wore off. I stopped going for a while as it just didn’t seem quite so appealing after I’d tried almost everything on their menu and I felt as though it was less worth the effort to queue. Recently though we had to come back from London early to do a pre-wedding photo shoot so we ended up giving the Waffle House another ago and I fell in love with it all over again. Yes the food is good, but the thing I honestly love most about it (and the thing I feel is probably what makes it most popular) is the atmosphere. It’s just such a lovely place to be. Warm and cosy in the Winter, bright and breezy in the Summer, it’s the type of place I could sit for hours!
Beautiful as the outdoor area is in Summer, during the colder months I personally prefer to sit inside. The indoor areas are split among a number of rooms, so each feels quite cosy and intimate despite there being quite a lot of seating. Combine that with a mix of bare brick/whitewashed walls, cute decor, blackboards for their specials and wooden benches and you’ve got the perfect place to while away hours over pots of tea and delicious food.
When you order tea they always bring a teapot, extra water and pretty (but good sized!) mugs which is a definite must for me! No one wants a tiny cup of tea that goes cold in minutes! Keeping with the warm, cosy feel of the place, they offer plenty of other comfort foods such as bowls of warm soup, stews, curries and my favourite – hot dutch Apple with plump sultanas and the most incredible blend of sweet spices – everything I love about Autumn in a bowl!
Some of their savoury meals used to put me off a little – a number of their savoury waffles are essentially just a normal meal with a waffle thrown in (I’ve had chilli con carne on a waffle, and a cheese and tomato waffle that was literally just grated cheese and tomato..). I do like that they give you savoury options to tuck into before tackling the sweet items but I feel like they could be slightly more imaginative.. Serving up soup with a bread roll and giving customers the option of a waffle isn’t exactly ground breaking. Some of the savoury meals admittedly would probably be better with bread instead of a waffle – I have once had the hummus and avocado which came with a beautifully big mountain of hummus which I’m not sure is the best topping for a waffle.. but if every meal wasn’t served with a waffle then I guess that would defeat the object 😛
Obviously the sweet waffles are where it’s really at though. They have a number of staple sweet waffles which I love. Banana and flapjack with ice cream is a winner for me, as is the hot Dutch Apple (it looks like a mess but tastes amazing!). There’s the option (obviously it’s not really optional 😉 ) to add cream or ice cream, and their ice cream is beautifully creamy and smooth.. Which helps to explain their heavenly milkshakes!
They have a number of changing specials too which is perfect for regulars – back when we went almost every week I tried some amazing specials including a waffle “sundae” which came with brownie pieces, berry coulis, chopped nuts and chocolate sauce!
I guess I just wish some of the normal menu items were a little more exciting. A few of them are a little too simple – I once had a waffle that was literally just toasted hazelnuts and chocolate sauce, and while it tasted delicious I did feel like it lacked the excitement factor which waffles should definitely provide. So did this ‘summer berry’ waffle..
To me, if you’re struggling to make a waffle photogenic you’re not doing something right! That said, their waffle with butterscotch sauce and pecans is equally as simple but it tastes heavenly – their butterscotch sauce is honestly the best I’ve tasted, and combine it with a generous scoop of ice cream and you can’t go wrong!
For me I think that it’s the whole experience that makes its so popular. Yes the food is decent, but it’s not mind blowing. There are some delicious items on the menu, but it’s small and not particularly imaginative. They’ve essentially taken a simple concept and made it sound incredibly appealing which seems to be the key to all successful businesses – they’re well known because their menu revolves around one item and it’s an item which brings out child-like excitement in all of us! They have an absolutely beautiful setting, very good branding and it’s perfect for families and those with young kids so I can see why it thrives in a place like St. Albans. All things considered I’d definitely recommend paying a visit if you’re ever close by, and the convenience of being able to drive right up to their front door is a huge bonus in my eyes, especially in the cold, rainy and unpredictable British weather!