Mr Waffle has been popular from day one. Located on a very busy intersection, the flagship shop on Newcastle Road is convenient for both the university and the hospital. Both fine institutions, it's fair to say, but somewhat notorious for the poor quality food available to workers, students, and inmates. However, Mr Waffle's wide selection of crepes, sandwiches, quesadillas, and salads has saved many of them from a joyless lunch break.
Mr Waffle is a lively spot filled with chatter and the constant gurgling of the coffee machine, the clatter and bustle of efficient staff. Outside the trendy chocolate, orange, and gleaming glass restaurant, there are wooden seats on a small patio for people soaking in the sun. The branding is as crisp as the exterior of one of its authentic Belgian waffles.
I have eaten there a few times with the children, the coffee is good, the food delicious, and with very fast service. The Certificate of Excellence 2013 from TripAdvisor is as always a good indicator of Mr Waffle’s consistency. I'll wager that no one has been heard to tell their kids here to eat up, ever! They leave full and happy, and with no annoying plastic toy!
While it is worth the trek if you love waffles, the best news for me was the opening of a second outlet in Liosbaun, my side of town and with lots of parking; happy days. This was formerly a branch of 'Arabica' and the sleek, pared back decor and open kitchen remain with some 'Waffley' branding.
The daily offerings include many all-day breakfast items, light choices of fruit salad and granola, something sweet and simple to go with your coffee, a croissant or Danish pastry perhaps? Bagels, sandwiches and pancake stacks, sweet and savoury for something more substantial. I tend to stay away from anything with bacon in it, I'm not a fan of the streaky bacon served here, although I will admit the big breakfast crepe is cheesy and delicious.
So, in I went for lunch on Liosbaun's opening day with the family in tow and between the four of us we covered all the lunch option bases. The waffles are the deep ridged kind that come with various combinations of maple syrup, fruit, and nuts. Beautiful, sweet, tasty waffles, with fluffy interiors. There is a similar mix of fillings for the sweet crepes too, from 'apple cinnamon butter' with cream to an indulgent melted chocolate, Baileys and ice-cream type. The girls’ melted butter, powdered sugar and whipped cream topped 'Sugar Waffle' and 'Traditional Crepe' with lemon, sugar and melted butter both disappeared rapidly.
It's not all about the waffles though. There are individual cakes and tarts on offer also made fresh daily and three of their salads are listed in Croí's recently launched Healthy Eating Awards. I do intend to try the 'Parma and goats cheese' or the 'Mango, avocado and chicken', but melted cheese won out in the end, as it often does, so maybe next time.
The savoury range fillings are available in a choice of crepe, sandwich, bagel, or quesadilla. We ordered the 'Philly Beef' which at €8.20 is near the top of the price list. This was a generously sized quesadilla stuffed with mature cheddar, sirloin beef strips, sweet red peppers, and plenty of caramelised onions with a little salad garnish. With a 'Swiss', a crepe filled with emmental, honey baked ham, and tomato to complete our order, save for a few lonely salad leaves there was not a scrap left on any plate. Incidentally, they do one of the nicer hot chocolates in town here, I always have one even if it is hot outside. Mr Waffle is rated highly by my coffee crazy friends and while making a good cup of coffee is an art in itself, the Mr Waffle baristas' latte art in the foam topping their drinks brings another element of fun. They can even do a foamy portrait of my current husband, it is quite a good likeness.
It is pretty much all locals in this Mr Waffle, tourists don't tend to frequent industrial estates, so this one opens earlier at 7am for the breakfast and coffee trade. It's great to see a local business doing so well, especially one that does so much charity work, most recently with Cancer Care West. Its 'Head Waffler' Kevin Nugent was even named Young Entrepreneur of the Year. So who knows? Today Liosbaun, tomorrow the world!
Mr. Waffle, Liosban, Tuam Road, Galway. Mon-Fri: 7:00-17:00 Saturday 9:00-17:00. Closed bank holidays and Sundays.