Food

Bantam King’s Fried Chicken and Doughnut-Waffle Is Our New Brunch Obsession

Snag the off-menu chicken + doffle drizzled with Szechuan chili syrup on Sundays.

Chicken + doughnut-waffle at Bantam King. Photograph by Veronika Sabir-Idrissi

Move over, doissants. There’s a new hybrid pastry in town that’s all about deliciousness over trendiness (yes, we’re looking at you, croclairs). Bantam King chef Mary Mendoza has created an off-menu brunch special at the Daikaya Group’s Chinatown ramen shop: chicken + doffles, a Hawaiian-style doughnut-and-waffle mashup with crispy spiced chicken and maple-honey-Szechuan chili syrup. It’s only available on Sundays starting at noon, exclusively for dine-in customers, and totally worth the trip. 

Mendoza trained as a pastry chef in some of DC’s top kitchens, including Kinship and Centrolina, and was designing desserts for Bantam King’s sister restaurant Tonari when the pandemic hit and the newcomer closed for over a year. She’s slowly been adding more desserts to Bantam King’s menu, including a knockout dark-chocolate cake moistened with chicken fat. 

“I love sweet breakfast. Growing up in the Philippines, everything is savory,” Mendoza says. “Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone? I want those [ice cream sundae] breakfasts.”

The doffle gets a maple glaze and drizzles of Szechuan-chili maple syrup. Photograph by Veronika Sabir-Idrissi

The chicken + doffles dish meets brunch halfway, blending sweet and savory. Mendoza says she was inspired by liège waffles—a thicker, crunchier, Belgian variety—and malasadas, fried Hawaiian-style yeast doughnuts. She proofs a yeast dough made with the same Hokkaido flour from Japan that’s in Bantam King’s ramen noodles. The confection is then cooked in a waffle maker, crisped in a fryer, and finished with a maple glaze. The doffle ($13.50) is crowned with your choice of white or dark fried chicken—spiced but not hot—drizzled with Szechuan chili syrup, and capped with a healthy pat of butter. We recommend matching it with a yuzu mimosa for maximum Sunday vibes. 

Bantam King. 501 G St., NW.

Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.