On this page I intend to give my thoughts on commercially available food that just doesn’t live up to the description or hype.
- Bernard Matthews – “crispy chicken” southern fried (£1.98 from Asda)
This is probably the single most disgusting item that I have ever had the misfortune to taste.Taste is perhaps too strong a word as there is no taste. Well, perhaps I am being a little harsh with that last statement. The coating does have a little flavour but the filling does not.Bernard Matthews own description reads “Chopped and shaped marinated chicken breast with added water, soya & wheat, coated in a southern fried style batter”.
The use of the word chicken on this product should have them hauled up in front of the authorities on the basis of trades description.
The ingredients list on the packaging claims 45% Cooked Chicken Breast and the old adage, “If It Tastes Like Chicken then It Must Be Chicken” just does not apply here. As I said it tastes of nothing and I defy anyone to take the “blindfold test” and correctly identify this awful concoction.
As for the texture, well that is a whole new ball-game. It is very hard to describe the eating experience. The word that does spring to mind is “friable” and the nearest comparison I can make is to eating cooked Cod Roe without the flavour. I would normally associate the word friable with soil to indicate that it is readily crumbled. When describing chicken breast, even that which has been chopped and shaped, I would not expect to think friable.
However that’s exactly what this product is, a tasteless crumbly substance coated in a mildly flavoured batter.
I’m sorry to say that I bought two packs and each contains two “steaks” or “escalopes”, I’m really not sure what to call them.
I will not be buying them again and I am warning friends and family to steer well clear of this product.
YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED
- The Woodpecker – Waterlooville
On Saturday 11th June 2011 I had the misfortune to elect to visit this establishment with some friends. We had just spent an enjoyable afternoon at the Stansted House Garden Show and we were looking to round off the day with a nice meal.However, this was not to be. We didn’t order starters. Just the main course. Our two friends opted for lasagna and Gammon respectively. My wife ordered the Chilli while I opted for the Chimichanga. The pub was not particularly busy but our meal was a long time coming.My wifes Chilli was cold in the middle and I immediately drew the waitresses attention to this. She took the meal away to be replaced but not before asking if the rice was also cold. I pointed out that this was besides the point as the whole of the replacement meal needed to be fresh and not part freshly prepared with rice that had been kept warm under a heat lamp and therefore potentially dried up.While my wifes meal was being dealt with I started on my Chimichanga. I could immediately see that they had over cooked it. Not only had it been over fried until the tortilla had gone a colour similar to Dale Winton but on the under side it was burnt to a dark brown.Once again I called the waitress over and pointed out that the food was over cooked. She made some comment about it not being the best item on the menu but took it away to get me a fresh one.I should point out that I have eaten Chimichangas before. They are usually packed full of spicy, tasty items and most of all they are juicy. The item that I had was flat and didn’t appear to have much filling at all.
When the replacement dishes arrived the waitress was apologetic and she did come back later to check that all was well.
My wifes meal was now satisfactory but unfortunately mine was not. Although the Chimichanga was not burnt like the first effort it was still flat / empty. I had forgotten what was supposed to be inside according to the menu but I did discover in the last few bites that whatever was supposed to be in there it included chicken.
By now I was basically hacked off. I couldn’t be bothered to complain again. All I wanted to do was leave.
When the waitress came to enquire if we had finished and asked if all was now OK I pointed out to her that the Chimichanga was sub standard and that I was not satisfied even though I had eaten it. One of our group suggested that the price for the meal should reflect the poor meal content. The waitress said they couldn’t do that as we had accepted replacement meals. What were we supposed to do…our friends were already eating their meals which were fine ? Were we supposed to up and leave ? Or perhaps sit and watch our friends eat their meals then leave !!!
Whichever way you view the situation the meal was spoilt and the end to our day was spoilt.
Needless to say but we will not be returning to The Woodpecker nor will we be recommending this establishment to any of our friends.
- Iceland 10 Salmon Fishcakes– Buyer Beware
I know we thought we were getting a bargain but these things are truly atrocious.My first criticism is the size. The picture on the packaging shows a plate with two fish cakes, potatoes and peas. Well the fish cakes didn’t come from one of these packets. The real thing is actually about the size of a PG Tips round tea bag in diameter and not much thicker after they have been cooked. To be fair they do state below the image on the packaging that “Product shown larger than actual size”. Not that you would notice the statement when you are shopping.My next criticism is the texture. There is no substance to the content. The coating does indeed cook to a nice crispy texture but beware the contents. Sloppy and watery. They move like plump little hot water bottles when you dish them out after cooking.Which leads on to the final criticism and that is the flavour or rather the lack of flavour. To go with the watery texture you can add watery flavour. These are supposed to be Salmon fish cakes. The first one that I tasted seem to have salmon in it but after that there was no flavour at all. Iceland claim on the ingredient list that the salmon (salmon mince) content is 40%. I know that they are cheap but sprinkle a few more herbs and the flavour would have improved. Put a few more potato flakes in and the texture would have improved
I really can’t recommend these and Iceland should be ashamed to print their name on the packaging.
- The Spice Box – Waterlooville – February 2012
This is a bit of a mixed gripe. It was Thursday evening and my wife and I decided we would have a take-away, specifically an Indian meal delivered home and duly chose to order from the The Spice Box.
First of all placing an order was hard work as there was so much background noise on the phone that I couldn’t understand what the guy on the phone was saying and neither could he understand me, apparently. I say that because we were reduced to my having to spell out my order and my address phonetically. Having finally placed my order I was informed that it would be 10 – 15 minutes.
Having waited for over an hour I decided to call The Spice Box to see where our meal was. My thinking was that due to the difficulties placing the order perhaps they had the wrong address.
The response I got wasn’t what I expected. The voice on the phone was quite surly and I was informed “We’ve been busy”. I pointed out that it was they who said the meal would be available in 10 – 15 minutes. I was then informed that it would be, yes you guessed it, 10 – 15 minutes. If I hadn’t already paid for the meal I would have told him what to do with the order.
The meal was duly delivered and the driver was apologetic. I told him that if they were busy and they had told me up front that it would be about an hour for the delivery I wouldn’t have been concerned. But he wasn’t really interested spoke over me and walked back to his car and was gone.
My wife and unpacked the meal only to find that it was cold and had to be re-heated. Now it’s not unusual to have to boost the heat of delivered meals but this was so cool that it was like we were reheating meals from a supermarket chiller cabinet.
So while we reheated the meal we thought we would have the poppadams and chutney. We were gobsmacked. The five poppadams
were folded in half but worse they were burnt. Of the five, four were burnt over 50% of their surface area varying from dark brown to jet black.
The good news was that the meal, when it was reheated, was actually quite nice.
Unfortunately due to this experience we will not be going back to The Spice Box.