I think it’s safe to say that nostalgia sells. At least in our food scene, there is an undying endearment for bringing back the old-school, with quirky concepts like mamak shop speakeasies popping up. But as far as nostalgic fast food goes, nothing can quite beat out the allure of A&W in its glory days. That’s why its comeback was met with legions of fans hopping into hour-long queues just for a taste of nostalgia. Alas, some of the stuff hasn’t been up to scratch—with particularly disappointing waffles. If you’re one of the dejected fans, you might want to check out the new Ribs & Waffles (R&W) at City Plaza.
Only having sprung up recently, the Muslim-owned waffles specialist has gotten a bit of social media attention for their homage to the nostalgic, comforting taste of waffles. Is there a coincidence behind their chosen name? You can be the judge.
One thing is for sure—the owners behind the stall are passionate about their waffles. They make their Belgian waffles batter from scratch so as to bring out the best texture possible for their waffles. But how did R&W’s waffles actually stack up against other places?
What I tried
When I asked the R&W owner what are the must-try dishes he immediately homed in on their Waffles & Ice Cream (S$6.80). Of course, I had to get it—it’s a timeless pairing and also the perfect treat for the sweltering Singapore climate.
Everything is made to order so you don’t have to worry about your waffles losing their crispiness, as you get to watch them slowly add ladlefuls of batter into the waffle iron. When it’s nice and crusty, then they’ll shake it off the mould and finish it with a scoop of ice cream and a splash of toppings.
While the ice cream isn’t any artisan gelato, the price point here at R&W is also significantly more affordable than what you’d find at a gelato parlour so I ain’t complaining. As long as the ice cream is cold and creamy, I’m satisfied—this is nostalgic comfort food after all.
Choices of ice cream range from rather vanilla flavours to more sinful indulgences like Oreo or durian. Each additional scoop would cost +S$1 but the owners are still figuring out their pricing. Different flavours get different toppings—you’ll get a jammy mound of strawberry to go with your vanilla and an avalanche of Oreo to double your Oreo decadence.
But the main question still remains: how do R&W’s waffles stack against other places? It handily beats out A&W’s rather lacklustre treat, at least in my opinion. The waffles sport an airier and more satisfying crunch, with golden fluffy insides.
Admittedly, the batter notes do come on a bit thicker than I would like but the texture doesn’t lose out to your typical artisan gelato shop, frankly. So if you just need a cold, refreshing treat at friendlier prices than at trendy cafes, this is essentially half the price.
But with a name like Ribs & Waffles, you’d probably expect R&W’s savoury waffles to be their true stars right? Unfortunately, I can’t give you a verdict on their namesake Ribs & Waffles (S$12.90) since it was sold out by the time I got there.
I did get my hands on their Honey Chicken & Waffle (S$9.80) however, and I have to say I’m actually quite impressed by the grilled chicken wings that come with the waffles.
For starters, the marinade was spot on. It’s a homely, familiar blend of spices and sweetness that most Singaporeans would have an etching of somewhere in their memory. It’s slightly smokey since it comes straight off the oven and you can cut into the skin to reveal some juicy and tender flesh.
Served with a punchy mushroom sauce, R&W nailed the combination of flavours and textures on this. Pile some of that chicken onto a bite of crispy waffles and dunk it into the mushroom sauce—you’d get a mouthful of wholesome umami and a blend of delectable textures.
Does R&W provide anything new? Not really. Do they have unbelievably crispy waffles? Not really either. What they do provide though, is a supremely comforting wave of nostalgia. The flavours are homely and really hit the spot where we miss our childhoods the most.
So if you’re ever in the area and need a wallet-friendly alternative to waffles & gelato, why not get the old-school version of it from Ribs & Waffles?
Expected damage: S$9 – S$15 per pax
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