There’s a new spot in Middlesex County that combines comfort food from the South with comfort food from Pakistan. Namkeen Hot Chicken + Waffles is a take on the sweet flavor of Nashville hot chicken and waffles combined with the spicy flavors of Pakistani dishes.
The signature dish is the Nashville sandwich, made with fried chicken, pickles, coleslaw and chipotle aioli on brioche. The Tikkaville Sandwich has fried chicken topped with tikka sauce, coleslaw, pickled onions and mint chutney on brioche. The Clucking Waffle Sandwich is fried chicken with pickles, coleslaw and chipotle aioli on a jalapeno cheddar Belgian waffle. The chicken tenders are thick and crunchy, and the waffles are soft and warm; this is a game-changer in the world of fried chicken sandwiches. The two halves of the sandwich were shareable at the table, or great for lunch the next day (you won’t be hungry til then, either!)
The chicken is all-natural, hormone- and antibiotic-free and halal.
For vegetarians, start with the Pataka Fries, which are French fries with spicy maple and chipotle aioli to make it sweet and spicy. Or go for the Dhamaka Fries but ask for the chicken on the side: masala fries, tikka sauce, pickles, coleslaw and mint chutney. The fries are flavorful with or without the chicken, mostly due to the chutney. The Anday Wala Burger is a lentil patty topped with an omelet, plus onions, tomatoes, mint chutney and sweet and spicy tamarind chutney on a potato bun. It has the flavor of spice and raw onions.
If you’re not ready to try the specialty dishes, go for regular chicken tenders, spicy maple wings or grilled cheese. There are several smash burgers on the menu, ranging from a typical cheeseburger to a mint tamarind burger. Those are good options for kids, too, but have them try whatever you’re trying to test their palate.
And not everything has to be super spicy. You can choose how hot you want your food to be. Go from naked (calm and ready) to mild (palms sweaty) to medium (knees weak) to hot (“BLAOW!”).
Drink options include chai, which is Pakistani tea with milk and cardamom; it’s served hot and is creamy. Aside from vanilla and chocolate, the specialty shakes come in flavors like Nutella, kulfi and Rooh Afza (a traditional syrup); the kulfi tastes like a sweet ice cream sundae. New to the menu are mocktails, including mint mojito and orange spritz; Maine Root, which is Mexicane cola, lemon lime and blueberry, and pomegranate Barbican.
You must save room for dessert. The Gulabi Waffle tastes like gulab jamon, which are sweet sticky balls of fried dough. This version has kulfi ice cream on top of a gulab jamun-infused waffle. With crushed pistachio and rose petals on top, it’s as beautiful as it is tasty. The Masani Waffle has Nutella, bananas, strawberries and vanilla ice cream on a waffle for people who need their chocolate fix.
Namkeen Hot Chicken + Waffles is owned and operated by the Chaudhry family, who named the restaurant after the Urdu word for “salty.” They opened their first Namkeen at 233 Main St. in Chatham in 2020, then another in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, in 2022. Metuchen’s location at 401 Main St. opened this past weekend. The hours in Metuchen are 12-11 p.m. Sunday to Thursday and noon to midnight on Friday and Saturday. Chatham is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday to Thursday and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Our Instagram reel will have your mouth watering!
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