If you’ve spent even a little time wandering around among Instagram’s gastro eye-candy hashtags, you’ve definitely encountered those ridiculously over-decorated, overflowing, overstuffed sugar bomb milkshakes, that at first make you say “well this is totally idiotic”; really, though, you secretly would want to tackle one in a dark alley, where no one can see you. Until now, I thought these shakes only exist in the world of Insta-bloggers, but a few days ago we went to a little Dob street waffle shop before drinking (it’s a long story), and I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw what they brought out to the table next to us. There they were, in all their marshmallow-y, overflowing, compote jar-y, donut-y, icing-y reality .This is Sweetheart Waffle and Shake Bar, where the shakes are really just ornamental complements to the really crazy stuff: the waffles. One of the owners, Nils—who himself is half Belgian—has guided us to a bite of Belgium in Budapest.
On the waffle front, there are two main categories: the sweet and the savory. The savory goes by the name of waffini, the love child of a panini and a waffle. On a practical level, this is essentially a solid sandwich between two waffles. The fillings are familiar from the world of paninis: ham, pesto, cheeses, tuna, etc. What makes it unique is the dough itself, as well as the sandwich’s bite-ability. This is the first type of sandwich, what you could perhaps eat with a fork and knife (but why would you?). The portion isn’t small, it’s easily enough for a crazy big lunch.
Our task is a bit more complicated when it comes to the sweet waffles. You must be on your toes to immediately get a full view of the options, and the job of putting together a combination of possible toppings. You have to pick between two types of dough, the ‘Brussels’ and ‘Liege’ varieties. The former is a simple mixed dough, this is the more accustomed Hungarian version, while the latter is a dense, sweet risen dough with Belgian nib sugar. If our life has gotten past the point of dough selection, next come the toppings, whipped creams, fruits, this and that. Here you could spend dawn till dusk choosing from toppings ranging from Kind Chocobons, to Oreos, to vanilla ice cream.
A Vegan Waffle?
There’s a vegan version as well, in which fruit is dominant; but since, for example, Oreos are vegan as well, they can really whip up an omelet here without resorting to little animals at all. Popcorn, raspberry, kiwi, banana, Oreo, peanut butter? Dieters, this is for you! There is a protein dough as well, for the body-builders, and they come in for it after their work-outs as well.
The ominous shake comes in three types as well. The milk-only shakes are the more sophisticated drinks, the more intense ice-cream versions are the middle-of-the-road ones, while at the top of the ladder sit the “freak shakes”; obviously, we asked for one of these last ones in a new, seasonal donut version. Naturally you don’t need to take these too seriously, of course it’s kitschy, but this is the point: the excess—
“These are the meringues that top the freak shakes, hand-made for each customer.”
The crowning emerald of this creation. Sugar-heroin. The drink can be quickly finished, the point here is the taking apart and eating of the things around it and on top of it. It is interesting to see that the majority of groups sitting inside are talking about the food itself. The air practically melts from satisfaction and charm. Nib sugar, I love you.
The spot was originally on Móricz, but they outgrew the spot quite quickly. Even now, you can sometimes see waffle seekers waiting on the street, but both the wait time has been streamlined along with the entire routine of the restaurant. You can see on Nils’ face that he is hooked on waffles, and he demands a rigorous level of quality. This was possibly the only place in my life, where the food looks better in real life than in pictures; of course, looks aren’t everything, but everything is just right here, and as a plus, looks incredible as well. You couldn’t find a more perfect spot for a date even if you tried.
Wesselényi u. 18, Budapest 1077
Translated from an article by Péter Csákvári at gastro blog Men & Tál.
Images by Péter Csákvári.