Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Kentucky Fried Christmas

Today as usual I went for my annual pre-Christmas KFC banquet. Made particularly special this year by the TLO Hot Rods Boneless box. The two of us eagerly trecked through the frost and the fog to the Stafford Hough Retail Park branch to be confronted by the most soulless space devoid of any allusion to the festive period.

No decorations festooned this branch, no Christmas muzak flowed along my aural canal and the staff, though friendly and helpful as always didn't deign to wish us a happy Christmas nor don festive attire.

Shocked, I cast my mind back to those halcyon days when Stafford Greyfriars was open (read of its sad demise here) and the scene I once saw there. Had I captured it on celluloid to share with the world, I mused as I queued today.

Not celluloid, but perhaps in binary, on an early Pre blog camera phone that just may have been languishing in the bottom of a drawer. It believed its useful life was over, and was little aware of how much Christmas cheer it could spread, if only I could persuade it to give up the KFC Christmas secret it holds, and the proof that the Grefriars KFC should have never have been closed!

Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls, I give you the most perfect, beautifully decorated Christmas tree the world has ever known as seen at Greyfriars branch Christmas 07:

Sunday, 6 December 2009

KFB visits Europe's biggest KFC Part 2

Missed part 1? Read it here.

We drew ever closer to the holy land, still in awe at the sheer size of
the building. Some research prior to our trip informed us that the behemoth we were witnessing was in fact 2650 square metres in total. And they certainly put the space to good use: a covered drive-thru, 2 levels of covered parking, 2 levels of dining, an outdoor seating terrace and a children's play area (more on that later). Couple all that with between 150 & 200 seats and you can begin to appreciate that this, my friends, was epic.


We stumbled through the doors, leaving a trail of saliva behind us. Immediately our senses were bombarded - the usual delicious smell, muzak emanating from the speakers and...wait...surely not? KFC TV??? If only this music video playing channel was available on Freeview or Sky here in the UK - our TV certainly wouldn't be tuned into anything else. But enough about the building itself, 'what of the chicken?!' I hear you scream.


Being our first visit to a German KFC we knew we had to try something new (though all the usual culprits were present as well as the Griddled Chicken currently being tested up North in the UK). But as usual, with so much choice on the menu it was a lengthy decision-making process. Eventually, we settled on the Double Crunch burger along with quite possibly the greatest side dish we've ever had the pleasure of tasting (sorry, Hot Rods): chilli and cheese-topped fries! We headed out onto the outdoor terrace to begin the tasting.



Essentially, a Double Crunch consists of two Crispy Strips, cheese, mayo and lettuce in a non-Kaiser bun. Whilst it was succulent enough and certainly filled a hungover void in our stomachs, the Double Crunch lacked that certain special something only found in Zinger marinaded meat or anything Original Recipe coated. What we can attest to however was that it certainly does live up to its name - each bite resulting in a thunderous roar, the likes of which hasn't been seen since the morning after Hot Rod consumption.

So we're lead onto the fries:

Now this, my chicken-loving friends, is what we're talking about. Warm liquid cheese and spicy chilli is lovingly poured over piping hot fries and assembled into a small KFC branded ceramic tray. For our American readers out there, this is very similar to sister Yum Foods brand's Taco Bell offerings. The fries were delicious. If we had to pick holes though, it could be argued that if you don't consume them quickly enough, the fries themselves can become slightly soggy. You therefore have our OK to stuff them down with great vigour.

We were by this time absolutely stuffed but our journey didn't stop there. Oh no. Now it was time to explore the children's play area. Ok, we say play area but the only part we weren't too embarrassed to explore was a 3 storey high tubular slide. The perfect way to end a foray into a foreign chicken world, we're sure you'll agree.

And now we've hit the biggest in Europe, there is of course only one way to go: bigger. Our Dallas insiders have informed us that the world's biggest KFC is located in Quianmen, Beijing, China and stacks up at an incredible 1,285 square metres with 3 levels and 455 seats! If anybody out there would care to sponsor us, please get in touch.


Wednesday, 2 December 2009

TLO Hot Rods are back



Let us welcome back an old friend for his third incarnation. We first welcomed the Hot Rods box meal roughly 18 months ago and it quickly became a modern classic and firm favourite amongst the KFB team. We were therefore delighted when this reappeared as a TLO just 6 months ago and are ecstatic to see it appear yet again at this very special time of year.

KFB has made many entreaties to have the hot rod box meal added as a regular menu item much the way the Big Daddy meal and the boneless banquet have crept in. The genius here is the boneless element as opposed to the bony piece of chicken that usually adorns my box meal. Their satisfying size, texture and latent heat that unleashes itself after a few chews is incredible.

Although we've seen a 40p price rise in 18 months and the Hot Rods Box meal now costs 4.89 this is still a great product which saves me (who doesn't eat bony chicken) wasting a piece from my individual box meal.

The advertising has altered slightly with the current batch featuring a thermometer that's overheated due to being used to attempt to ascertain the heat of a hot rod. and we also now have the addition of a 13.49 family size boneless banquet featuring the Hot Rod.

And the special time of year, aside from Christmas being an important religious festival, December holds its own special significance for KFC lovers. December was the month when our lord Harland ascended to Chicken heaven from the top of mount Poultry to oversee his empire for all eternity. To be able to enjoy the Hot rod at this special time is truly a gratifying experience.

Not Much remains to be said about the Hot Rod box meal. this is a TLO at its best. You can read past reviews here.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

KFC ICELAND




Always keen to push back the frontiers, KFB has visited what could possibly be the most northerly group of KFCs in the world.........Iceland.

And the reason for our visit? Well, to celebrate the recent vanquishing and subsequent departure of arch enemy, rival chain and nemesis.......Mc Donalds, who last month closed their three Icelandic branches leaving them with no presence in the country whatsoever.

KFC however retains a strong position in the country and this reporter found 3 branches without even looking for them. The country boasts at least 4 more, not bad considering the entire population of Iceland is only 300,000. That's an incredible 1 KFC per 42,000 people compared to the UK ratio of 1/75,000.

Not only do they provide the population with delicious chicken they also add to the architectural grandeur and character of the country, with the most recently constructed Keflavik restaurant (shown below) gaining plaudits by featuring in British architecture magazine Archdaily (read the article here).

But what you really want to know, how was the food?

Firstly, the menu was huge, it was how I imagine the KFCs in heaven. A large board displayed all my favourites past and present as well as a few innovative products to boot, that I'd love to see in the UK. As well as the usual OR Chicken pieces, also on offer were Zinger Tower Burgers, Zinger Boxmasters, Twisters (including a zinger twister which I'd love to see in the UK) and a TLO of the Wrapstar and the innovative Meltz (small chicken pieces in a Mexican style sauce sandwiched between a folded wrap, incidentally this product was spotted doing the international rounds in Germany 04)

The below picture show the menu options in all their glory, and note the bottom right option to add any of the 4 sauces to be slathered across your chicken. The only thing feasibly missing was the Hot Rods.

Slightly overwhelmed at first by the huge choice on offer I opted for a Zinger tower (of Course) as well as taking a Zinger Boxmaster (I had loved its British incarnation as the Blazin' Boxmaster), some Meltz and a Wrapstar as well as fries and a pot of gravy. The order was promptly prepared and I took it to our spotless table (as were they all in the restaurant) complete with cruet set........very civilized, but sadly they wouldn't last a minute in England.

And so the feast began, or at least I attempted to begin it. However, when I tried to pick up my ZT box it felt as if my burger had been substituted with a lump of lead. I soon discovered that I was not the victim of some cruel prank but the recipient of the most massive and mighty ZT ever constructed, we weren't talking quarter pounders, we weren't talking half pounders we were talking very close to the 1lb mark(of which 85% was pure Chicken). If this wasn't GM Chicken (which would be no bad thing) then I'd love to know what they're feeding them over there. I have tried to capture its awesome size in pictures but I fear I may not have done it justice.

The Burger itself was well constructed with all the key ingredients in their proper proportions somehow though it just wasn't quite right. the ETC coating tasted odd and the Zing was not as strong as our homegrown stuff, Icelandic mayonnaise too differs taking on the guise of something more akin to sour cream which was actually a very refreshing ingredient as opposed to the sometimes cloying UK mayo. 10/10 for effort but really a 6/10 for taste.

The Zinger Boxmaster too suffered a similar fate, huge size just not enough zing, the Wrapstar however was a faithful representation of its British counterpart and the Meltz were tasty, moist and very reasonably priced at 899kr.

The gravy however was a let down being described as 'bad canteen gravy' and although sporting a rich brown colour it tasted like it had only been made using half a step. The chips too suffered in the same way as their British counterparts, being very satisfying fresh from the fryer before cooling rapidly to become insipid and unappetising.

Overall, the pros:

Breadth of menus
cleanliness
portion size

The Cons:

The gravy
the chips
the fact that it was just not quite right.

Result 7/10

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

KFB visits Europe's biggest KFC

Here at Kentucky Fried Bloggin' we're not afraid of going to great lengths in order to further our chicken-based knowledge. So as you might imagine, when we were informed that Europe's biggest KFC was situated in Munich, Germany we immediately began planning a visit. The first thing we had to do though was to verify the size of this beast. By utilising our contacts at KFC we were put in touch with a mysterious group of characters known only as 'the Development Team' from Dallas (we kid you not). Here's what they had to say:

"The Munich KFC is certainly one of, if not the largest KFC building footprint in the world. All in all, it’s approximately 2650sm which includes a covered drive thru, two levels of covered parking, two levels of dining, an outdoor seating terrace, and a children’s play area. I don’t have the exact seating count, but I believe it has between 150 & 200 seats"

Now that is big. Really big. Armed with this information, the planning began in earnest. This complex process mainly involved the use of Lastminute.com and a credit card. With the flights and accommodation were now booked we were all set to visit the European chicken holy grail!

Fast forward to our arrival in Germany. It just so happened that our trip coincided with a hugely famous international event, said by some to be the world's biggest festival. It was called something along the lines of 'Oktoberfest'. Naturally though, this was mere coincidence. It was the chicken that had brought us all this way. After accidentally spending a day at the aforementioned festival we decided it was time to begin the pilgrimage. There was only one problem: we had no real idea where it was situated. Still, that's what the friendly folk at hotel reception are for, right? Let's just say we ended up causing a queue of around 20 disgruntled holidaymakers while we probed the staff for directions.

KFC Munich is not an easy restaurant to locate. It is far from the closest public transport links. And yet, undeterred by the disconcerting distances on the map in front of us, we struggled on, hungover but determined. But wait, what was this in front of us? A test from the Colonel himself? Yes readers, there are Golden Arches en route to the KFC. (And if you're wondering whether or not we stopped there, I suggest you stop reading this blog immediately and wash your mouth out with Chicken McNuggets) We wandered on until suddenly, a familiar shape appeared on the horizon. The 3 red letters we all yearned for...K.F.C. Was it a mirage? Could they really be that big? Would we pass out before we actually reached the holy ground? Find out in part 2 of the pilgramage post.


Monday, 2 November 2009

Newcastle-Under-Lyme KFC: Branch Opening


It is not often that KFB gets to visit a new branch on the day it opens, what with the daily grind and constraints of work. However this new branch in Newcastle-Under-Lyme is a mere stones throw from my place of employment. After work I headed straight there to sample what I hoped would be some fine cuisine and to witness history in the making.

This new branch is situated on Liverpool road at the site of the former Hanging Gate public house. However the old building has been demolished to make way for a purpose built state of the art eatery. Here is the first look:

Visited 2nd November 2009 (opening day) 6pm.

OVERVIEW
At 6pm this was peak time and I could only just fit through the door before being confronted by a rather large queue. Although there are other more established branches within just a couple of miles of this new one it seemed that many curious Novocastrians had flocked here in their scores to appraise this new and seemingly welcome feature of the town.

Having always played second fiddle to nearby Stoke-On-Trent, Newcastle will welcome the advent of this new era, seeing itself as finally having achieved parity with its nearby rival in the fine dining arena, by finally witnessing the arrival of KFC.

This restaurant does have a provincial air about, it is small, with at most, seating for 40 hungry diners. Its decor is of course modern but features low easy benches to better accommodate the slower pace of life out of the capital. I personally find these lounge style benches unconducive to serious eating and prefer to see branches with the banquet table, which nearby Fenton branch boasts. This restaurant also offers a Drive Thru facility to increase its rate of sales. It is located on a busy thoroughfare and looms invitingly to the hungry passing motorist.

CLEANLINESS
On this occasion the restaurant was spotless due to its infancy, although the tables could have been cleared a little more often. This minor indiscretion can be forgiven however due to the busyness of the branch at the time.

TOILETS
Its toilet facilities are also noteworthy and have been witnessed in a few of the smaller branches, one unisex cubicle that also accommodates any disabled patrons is all that is on offer. However during this particularly busy visit this limited number seemed to cause neither problems or queues.

THE STAFF
There were a many staff who seemed (as it was the first day) to know what they were doing. I saw only 'team members' as opposed to any white shirted 'team leaders' but the apparent lack of figurehead hadn't left the team rudderless and they functioned well. They were however as usual let down by customers whose aural skills were laughable. I saw one staff member become irritable after he had shouted out an order which remained unclaimed after his fourth clear and loud proclamation of its readiness. In KFBs book if you have ordered and are waiting for food then the onus is on you to keep your attention focused in order to claim it as soon as it is ready.

THE ZINGER TOWER
This is the yardstick by which each branch can be measured. This particular burger impressed. It was well constructed needing no realignment, the hash brown perched squarely atop the fillet which itself sat squarely on the bun, there was plenty of salsa and the lettuce as usual was verdant, crisp and plentiful, whilst the amount of Mayonnaise was not overpowering. The Hash brown was well cooked and crispy. The burger had been sat for a couple of minutes as evidenced by the advanced melted state of the cheese, its overall taste though showed it had not sat too long. The Fillet itself had plenty of zing and the ETC coating was just perfectly balanced between crispy but not overcooked. The Chicken could have been slightly more juicy and the sesame kaiser bun was slightly over toasted. Overall the ZT 8/10

THE GRAVY
A poor one step though allowable in this instance as there probably wasn't yet any crackling to produce that fine 3step we all know and love.

THE CHIPS
I Lucked out and obviously enjoyed some chips from a fresh batch. Hot, crispy and delicious.

ANCILLARY ITEMS ISLAND
Each item bin contained its designated offering although one or two of them were running low and as all the staff seemed to be busy behind the counter I wonder how long it was before one or more items was unavailable.

What disappointed about this particular visit was the lack of celebration that a new KFC had sprung into existence. This should be celebrated by opening offers or even at least a banner with a proclamation of greetings. Sadly there was utterly no indication that this restaurant had opened this very day. However despite this, this has the potential to be a great little restaurant, although a bit too far out of my way to visit often. There will be a follow up to this post in a couple of months to see how this restaurant has continued to fare.

Overall Rating 7/10

Friday, 30 October 2009

Halloween tales of horror: The legend of Leicester Square

If you're looking for a story to set your blood curdeling like a 5 day old krushem this halloween, look no further than this TERRIFYING tale - if you dare!



When officials from a SINISTER government agency descended upon the Coventry Street premises of KFC (possibly on a DARK AND STORMY NIGHT, although that is unconfirmed) they expected the usual high levels of quality shown at kfc branches around the world, and for the staff to have put blood sweat and tears into the production of the finest chicken products. Little did they know, the staff had been fulfilling this mandate - LITERALLY! (sound of a spooky castle)

Venturing inside, these baleful bureaucrats claim to have discovered conditions that would make the Colonel roll over so fast in his grave you could strap magnets to him and use him to power L.A - BLOOD-CAKED floors, MICE INFESTED corners, corners full of CRAWLING COCKROACHES, and perhaps most EVILY of all - A LACK OF HYGENIC FACILITIES OF HANDWASHING! (sound of a blood-soaked mummy)

Little is known of the rest of the tale, although rumours abound that KFC has pleaded not guilty on all 13 charges brought under food hygiene regulations, and has pledged to immediatly fix any problems if they have occured. KFBloggin' itself ate at the outlet only recently, and can report that the dishes that they enjoyed were of excellent quality and the staff were courteous and fast despite how busy they were. In fact, none of our hard-eating reporters suffered any ill effects at al-HHUURGH OH NO IT'S THE CURSE OF THE LEICESTER SQUARE KFC, RUN, RUN FOR YOUR LIVES DEAR READERS, I'M UNDERGOING A HIDEOUS KAFKAESQUE TRANSFORMATION AND YET STILL HAVE THE TIME TO TYPE OUT THIS COMMENT! ARRGHHHhhhh...

EDITORS NOTE - We discovered no remains of the author of this article - just a CHICKEN siiting at his desk. BEWARE!

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Tooting branch: The UK's latest opening KFC

We all know the drill. The end of a boozy night approaches and there's only one thing on your mind: chicken. Thankfully, the late opening of most KFC branches means your fowl thirst can be quenched right up until 2am in some cities. Today though a KFB tipster has sent us this top secret document displayed in the KFC Tooting branch's window.



Yes you read it right folks. 4am opening. Is this in fact the latest opening KFC in the UK? KFB are already planning a 4am road trip. Will they just have original recipe pieces left at that time of the night or will the veritable Zinger Tower still be on the menu? Only time will tell.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Ghetto Chickenst*r


They've taken they're time to get a handle on this, but last month Loaded magazine's Malcolm Vex, the self styled 'Voice of da street' weighed in with his views on the KFC Str££twise menu.

The Str££t wise menu has been with us for a little over 12 weeks now and I've been surprised to get some good reports. People have been generally responding well to the price and although haute cuisine this isn't, this is a way to get your Chicken fix for just 99p. Although the Mini fillet falls just outside of this price bracket at £1.19 it is the best product to adorn the advertising placards by a mile.

KFB reviewed the Str££twise menu shortly after its inception, read our views here, or, for a more ghetto take on the streetwise offerings click to enlarge the image and read Malcolm Vex's viewpoint.

Whilst Mr Vex upholds the pricing as good value, he seems affronted by the portion sizes. KFB however just like to see the Colonel popping up in such exciting places as the hood.

Branch Review :Stetchford


It has been a very long time indeed since I have had a 2 week interval between KFCs. However this fate befell me whilst I was out of the country for two weeks visiting Cuba earlier this month, ostensibly as a tourist, but really checking out possible restaurant locations prior to the removal of the US embago.

After one week without Chicken I had become a little tetchy, after two, unbearable. I resolved that my first meal back should be at KFC Stetchford, located in a Birmingham suburb.




It's address:



Church Road
Yardley
Birmingham
B25 8UX

Situated in a modern building which it shares with a boots pharmacy, this was a good clean and modern branch. At 4pm there were a few customers, but not too many. I had to wait a short while for my Zinger Tower but when it was delivered, it was hot and fresh and well proportioned.

My fellow diners agreed that their pieces of chicken bore all the hallmarks of freshly cooked fayre, steaming hot, moist and juicy.

The gravy here was ok, but can only been given a 5/10. It was satisfactory 1step, but nothing to blog about.

The anciliarry items island AII was well stocked and a casual customer could want for nothing.

Overall

Zinger Tower 7/10
Branch 7/10

Thursday, 22 October 2009

KFC- Buffalo Toasted Twister (TLO)


Launch date: Monday October 19th 2009
End Date:Sunday November 29th 2009

Following the impressively named but in fact lacklustre "BBQ BEAST BOX" this TLO is a more modest offering. It's simply a £2.99 speciality toasted twister which can be turned into a meal with regular chips and drink for a further pound.

I rated this particular offering mere hours ago at the newly refurbished Festival Heights branch in Stoke- On-Trent. Although at ten to five, and so well outside any peak hours where one can expect the freshest products, I was served an exemplary Buffalo Toasted Twister.

It was tightly wrapped and evenly toasted, although the Chicken and lettuce wasn't crowning the top of the wrap quite as majestically as the advertising literature has suggested (See bottom Picture). However, its demure appearance only served to pique my interest further and I unashamedly moved in for the kill and took my first bite.

The Chicken was hot and fresh, and a wave of sweet BBQ sauce engulfed my mouth but was quickly tempered by the sour tang of the buttermilk from the ranch dressing before a third dimension of savoury cheese flavour completed this backwards cycle that had begun sweet, before culminating on satisfying savoury notes.

At this point i carefully reverse engineered the product to take this picture of a magnificently constructed piece of art:

To avoid 'wrap syndrome' I ate from the other end and then continued to devour the entire offering. This was hearty fayre, and scored over the last TLO by palliating what had been the unremitting BBQ sauce with, in this instance the ranch & cheese.

Possibly the addition of a further ingredient to freshen the taste would add slightly to this TLO or just the addition a little more lettuce to leave the palate feeling more cleansed.

This is a good solid offering from Luis and his team.........KFB endorses it. 7/10

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Something VERY big is coming soon

My fowl friends. Do keep a careful eye on KFB over the next couple of weeks for the team is about to embark on a huge adventure. Confused? The image should give you a clue...

Thursday, 10 September 2009

BBQ Beast Box Meal Review

Another 6 week period rolls around and, thank the lord, we have another TLO (time limited offer) to sample! This time it's the BBQ Beast Box Meal, loaded with so much BBQ goodness that almost every morsel in the box has a BBQ prefix attached to its name. The BBQ Beast drops for £4.69 and can, of course, be 'larged' for an extra 40p (unfortunately there is no option to tower up the burger, unless you have a sweet deal worked out the with staff at your local branch). For the money you get a BBQ Fillet burger, 3 BBQ Bites, BBQ beans side (again, doesn't seem to be an option to swap out for gravy etc.) and chips and drink.

Personally, I do enjoy BBQ flavours so I was keen to give this box meal a go. However, I did find that there was maybe a little too much BBQ in this beast. The boneless bites were undoubtedly the best part of the experience, the thick BBQ coating was great and very generously applied - a clean up wipe definitely essential after eating. The burger I found to be somewhat dry, but this may have just been down to the individual branch I visited (Bethnal Green, which we all know is pretty piss poor). The beans are just the standard side beans, and not anything different as suggested by the BBQ name given on the advert.

All in all, if you're a fan of BBQ sauce then this may be for you, because the damn thing is smoothered in it. Boneless bites were a high point, but for me there was just too much BBQ on the go. In the future I would be hoping to see something a little more interesting than just adding BBQ sauce to the Fillet burger - of course you could do this yourself if you wanted with a BBQ dip. Bring on the next TLO with something a little more innovative...and while you're at it...bring the Hot Rods Box Meal back for good!

...And We're Back!

It's been a long hot summer, and the KFB team has been taking some time out to relax, kick back, and eat obscene amounts of chicken. Have no fear though, we're back and ready for some more blogging! Look out for more editorial stories, reviews and the conclusion of my KFC Cure experiment.

A final thought, it was the Colonel's 119th birthday yesterday. I trust all the KFB fans out there were down at there local branch for a commemerative meal in his honour...we salute you Harland!

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Chillers become Krushems


The saga continues, the trial of Chillers (as reported on here in April), themselves based on the Australian pioneered product the Krusher has now been rebranded the Krushem before it's even out of its trial period.

Having been trialled in Reading and the greater Birmingham area under its previous incarnation as the Chiller earlier this year I was excited to see this new product in my local Fenton branch in Stoke-On-Trent, sporting this new moniker. I initially thought that this was a nationwide roll out ready for the summer holidays but it seems not, nor does the official website make any mention of a launch.

Arriving for lunch on Monday 20th July I was surprised to see advertising for the Krushem and some new branded affiliated versions of it. Now in 4 flavours, a generic cookie crumble and strawberry cheesecake and branded Oreo and Maltesers versions.

Due to technical difficulties (the engineer was still fiddling with the machine when I arrived) I had the 1st Krushem served by Fenton and opted for the Maltesers version at 1.79. It didn't arrive promptly and took the staff some time to concoct, in their defence the pulled it off with aplomb. My Krushem was totally laced with Malteser flavour and 'bits' and made a great accompniment to my food and also took a long time to consume.

It is not rich and creamy dairy ice but mixed with very finely crushed ice. The drink has a smooth texture punctuated only by the 'bits' of your chosen flavour.

The last time we reported on this product the cups were unliveried. This has now changed and the Krushem has its own branding on its clear plastic cup as seen above.

My mild criticisms, is it slightly overpriced? at 1.79 (99p to add to a meal) I dithered wheter or not to purchase and think that a price tag of a more modest 1.49 would get more takers. It is also served in only one size, a little more choice would be nice perhaps.

However, this is a product that KFB will be having again on a hot summers day and a welcome addition to the menu.

Streetwise Menu


It's the biggest shake up we've seen for quite some time in the KFC menu. Coinciding neatly with yesterdays launch of the new Time Limited Offer (TLO) we also saw the introduction of the new Streetwise Menu, the official line is this:

"Streetwise

For everybody who’s been feeling the pinch lately, KFC introduces the new Streetwise Menu, offering a great selection of 9 irresistibly tasty snack size products from only 99p.

From your favourite Popcorn Chicken or Mini Fillet Burger to our new exciting Rollers or Mini Variety Box, the Streetwise Menu gives you the irresistible KFC taste now at a price you don’t have to resist!!"


They've added a new logo which as you can see changes the Es from street with pound signs to accentuate the good value credentials of these products.

Whilst old favourites remain, such as corn and most importantly the Mini Fillet we've seen three new important new additions, the mini variety box, BBQ cheese roller and the Spicy caeser roller all for 99p Here's what HQ says about each product.

Mini Variety Box

A delicious duo of KFC famous Popcorn Chicken and spicy Hot Wing, served in a convenient cardboard box, ideal to eat on the go.







Cheesy BBQ Roller

Made with KFC famous Popcorn chicken, smothered in our signature Deluxe BBQ sauce and topped with melted cheese. All rolled up in a flour tortilla and lightly toasted to seal in the flavour.

The Cheesy BBQ Roller is the perfect handheld snack for big fans of BBQ and cheese!





Spicy Caeser Roller

Made with KFC famous Popcorn chicken, deliciously creamy and spicy Caesar sauce and crunchy lettuce. All rolled up in a flour tortilla and lightly toasted to seal in the flavour.

The Spicy Caesar Roller is a delicious handheld snack full on flavour with a spicy twist!


The taste test. . . .

In branch there was no indication what type of chicken was used to construct the rollers. Publicity shots show a profusion of chicken, and so there and then I deconstructed my products and found my caeser roller contained only 4 pieces of popcorn chicken and my Cheesy BBQ roller, 5. I'm not sure on the official line regarding preparation and just how many pieces there should be, but I found any taste of chicken was swallowed up by a profusion of wrap.

I couldn't hope but notice these 99p products had been launched at the start of the summer holidays and are a great way to appeal to the 'pupils pound' bored children with a little but not too much pocket money can get some food. For a hungry man I'd recommend neither of the rollers. . . . . But don't despair, the Mini fillet is here. at 1.19 this is a truly great product,

Mini Fillet Burger

A 100% chicken breast Mini Fillet with the big taste of Original Recipe herbs and spices topped with crisp lettuce, our irresistible pepper mayo, and served on a toasted sesame seed bun.


With plenty of Original Recipe chicken, an oh so tasty pepper mayo and fresh lettuce all on a sesame bun. truly the most Streetwise of the lot!

Hot Rods


It's that time again, six weeks since the last Time Limited Offer (TLO) emerged from its cocoon in the form of a Tex Mex wrapstar (a product that incidentally gained some KFB admirers) we now have a new TLO. . . . . . . . HOT RODS are back and they're spicier than ever!

We've seen HOT RODS in the past and would really like to see them become a permanent menu item. Four extremely substantial chunks of delicious white breast meat, marinated in what yesterday seemed a step up above Zing, coated in Extra Tasty Crispy (ETC) batter, all impaled upon a sturdy wooden skewer & served with a cool herb dip. Eating off of a skewer also replicates that Chicken on the bone scenario (i imagine) and there is some pleasure to be taken in behaving like a caveman, but a civilised one without having to deal with all that oomska.

2.29 buys you two hot rods with cool herb dip whilst the masterstroke comes in the form of the HOT RODS Box Meal at 4.69. This includes Fillet Burger (tower up for only 30p) medium soft drink, fries, your choice of side (gravy of course) and a delicious and importantly, boneless, HOT ROD.

But, a word of warning, this is a seriously spicy product, with so much of the surface area exposed to the marinade, compared to a single Zinger fillet, the HOT RED packs a serious spicy punch.

I've frequently taken advantage of the great box meal offers to get gravy at a reduced price but then been unable to eat the boney Chicken and wept as I've discarded it. This TLO offers me the chance to eat a complete satisfying meal, and I for one, along with all the other boneless product fans (who are probably buying burgers in the first place because they're not sold on boney chicken) call for its inclusion in the wider menu following the completion of this TLO.

The provenance of the HOT ROD is unknown but it is not constrained to these Shores having been spotted as far away as Malaysia as this advertising shows.

There is also a HOT RODS variety bucket to look out for!

Sunday, 19 July 2009

The KFC Halal Trial: mouths-on report

Earlier this year we caught wind of a halal trial occurring at several KFC branches across London. Now as all our loyal readers are no doubt aware, the only religion for us here at KFB HQ is the Church of Harland. However, we're not the type to shy away from new experiences, especially when they're chicken related. And so it was that we made the long and arduous trip down the road to our closest KFC, the Bethnal Green branch.

Picture the scene if you will: Pbad and myself are suffering the effects of a heavy night on the hooch and have decided the curing properties of the Colonel's chicken are the only logical option for brunch. We promenade our way down Bethnal Green high street until the Harland's smiling face peaks over the top of the chain of newsagent and pound shop signs. A smile crosses both our faces as we give each other a knowing look. Drawing closer to the branch we notice the above poster proudly displayed in the window. I turn towards Pbad as I exclaim

"Let's get halal!"

Before we get into the product itself though there are a few considerations to take into account. First and perhaps most importantly, in order for the food to be declared halal, KFC have had to pass numerous inspections by the Halal Food Authority. This means the way the chicken is slaughtered and prepared is of great importance. Though we'd previously chosen to believe that Harland himself whispered a prayer into the ear of every chicken just before it was to make the ultimate sacrifice, it has come to light that at the time of slaughter a blessing is recited by an 'appropriate person' as part of halal accreditation. As wel all know, Harland himself was deeply Christian, therefore lessenning his appropriateness for this task somewhat. To read more about the details of the trial, click here.

"Enough with the details!" I hear you decry. "How does it taste?" Well let us tell you now, it tastes...exactly the same. There is however one crucial element missing. An element so crucial in fact that its absence has caused an ENTIRE BURGER to be removed from the menu. And the name of this absent item?

Bacon.

Yes, bacon. Sadly, the laws of halal explicitly state that all pork products are banned. And sadly for us KFC lovers, this neccessitates the exclusion of the Big Daddy Burger - sure favourite of the manliest of men (have you ever tried to eat an entire Big Daddy box meal and lived to tell the tale?). In some regards removing a non-chicken based meat could be seen as a good thing. A purification of sorts. And yet in another way, bacon is plain delicious. So onto the bottom line: While halal opens up KFC to a vast and untapped new audience, it also casts aside a delicious burger. A mixed bag then ladies and gentlemen, a mixed bag indeed.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Product Profile: The Fillet Tower Burger

The Fillet Tower Burger, a cornerstone of the modern KFC menu:
A 100% chicken breast fillet coated in our Original Recipe herbs and spices, topped with cheese, ketchup, hash brown, crisp lettuce and our deliciously creamy mayonnaise - all served in a freshly toasted bun.

The official description is precise and to-the-point, reeling off a delicious list of attributes which, in my opinion, make the Fillet Tower Burger my product of choice. But why I hear you ask! A fair question, so please let me explain...

I could waffle on for many paragraphs about the toasted Kaiser bun, the creamy mayo and the crisp hash brown, but as avid followers of the blog I am sure you have all read DG's product profile of the Zinger Tower Burger and you are fully aware of how the ingredients and flavours combine to create one of the most (if not THE most) astounding burgers known to mankind. You may be thinking:
"Why should I bother reading on?? Surely the Fillet Tower Burger is exactly the same as a Zinger Tower Burger, just without our beloved zing? In fact, why would anyone even consider it when you could get the exact same product but with zing ASWELL for a few pence extra?"

A rookie error. In fact, I have overheard many a novice muttering such statements between friends when eyeing up the menu before making the final decision. Leaving aside the fact that some patrons may not be a fan of "Zing" (and may therefore opt for a less spicy alternative - enter Fillet Tower/Fillet Burger/Mini Fillet), there is one hugely significant reason for swaying the way of the FT; Original Recipe.

One of the most eye-opening revelations that we discovered on our trip to KFC HQ was that the Zinger Fillet found in the Zinger Burger and Zinger Tower burger is prepared off-site and has a different coating, known as Extra Tasty Crispy (ETC). This delicious coating gives the Zinger chicken its crispy crunch and spicy kick, both essential for a perfect ZT...but here is where the difference lies. The FT features none other than 100% Original Recipe chicken - that's the colonel's secret recipe of 11 herbs and spices right there.

Now let's not forget also that all OR chicken is prepared on the premises, breaded in-store and served fresh that day - I often feel that for this reason the chicken in a FT burger is somehow juicer and more tender. Finally, a controversial reason but one that I am not afraid to admit, I will often opt for no-zing just so I can experience the purity of the OR flavour, without any spice or salsa to take the attention away from my tastebuds.

I would urge all readers to consider the Fillet Tower for what it is - a truly different experience - not a clone, not an inferior product - and one that should not so easily be cast aside in favour of zing at every opportunity. Sure, the Zinger Tower deserves high praise indeed, but let's not forget: this is Original Recipe chicken, at it's best, complimented by a host of fine ingredients, just as the Colonel would have expected it.

Monday, 13 July 2009

KFB tries KGC

video
"If the mountain will not come to Mohammad, Mohammad must go to the mountain".

This phrase accurately summed up the dilemma KFB has faced since finding out that Kentucky Griddled Chicken (KGC) was being trialled only in the North East. It seemed our only option for a taste was to go there ourselves, however with our lack of budget it seemed we were doomed, but then, a miracle, the mountain did come to KFB.

On Sunday 12th of July a mysterious benefactor couriered a Griddled Chicken Ciabatta from Durham to our branch office here in deepest darkest Staffordshire by the medium of a 1994 dark blue 1.6l 16v Ford Escort.

It had traveled a distance of 187 miles in roughly 3hours and 14 minutes and reached my hands at 3.47pm.

The GCC was modestly wrapped in unassuming packaging, the type used for standard fillet burgers, I assume that specific packaging is still in the design phase.

Arriving home I was now faced with another dilemma, how to accurately restore a masterpiece to it's just cooked glory? I consulted a professional chef and followed his instructions. He advised a full strip down to its component parts, and so I duly separated Chicken, ciabatta, cheese & lettuce. I discarded the now terribly wilted lettuce and replaced with fresh, wrapped the Chicken in foil and reheated at 200 degrees centigrade (gas mark 6) for 6 minutes. I placed the bun in the microwave for a mere 15 seconds before transferring it to the oven for a minute to help it return to its former levels of crispiness.

When reheated I reseated the Chicken breast upon its bready throne and added the cheese, lettuce and bun top. fragile tendrils of steam escaped from the burger and my first bite revealed the juicy interior of the breast, the reanimation process had been a resounding success.

The breast was flecked with finely chopped green herbs which gave the burger a fresh healthy and aromatic taste unlike the familiar crunchy texture experienced elsewhere across the range. This particular example had suffered from a lack of sauce, having been thoroughly absorbed by the bread.The bread itself though was good, crisp without being abrasive on the mouth, it was light and flavoursome. Although at first the product looked small, it was densely packed and would make a good lunch, However a very hungry man may want to add a mini fillet to his order.

On this occasion I will not offer a rating due to these mitigating circumstances of KFB being responsible for the reheating.

It is still my ambition to try a freshly cooked example of a GCC in the opulent surroundings of a KFC restaurant but this has certainly piqued my interest. This product is an historic milestone for KFC but one worthy of our attention.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Colonelator 3000

The video at the bottom of this post Shows the Colonelator' capabilities in the labs. For the full back story read the post, or, just head to the bottom.

The idea for the Colonelator 3000 was inspired by two recent events in my life. Neither was significant when taken alone, but together they triggered an epiphany and my subsequent & sudden inventive streak.

some weeks ago (months now, the project has been more challenging that I first envisaged) I suffered a cold. One symptom of which was a blocked nose, a further corollary was that my usual ability to detect KFC simply by using my Jacobson's organ was severely impaired. For some further information on this oft thought vestigial organ please follow the link.

Usually within half a mile of a KFC I began to sense its presence, and was able to navigate my way there. Being without this function for a week severely limited my diet.

The second thing that happened was that I re-watched one of my favourite films, Commando starring the paragon of acting talent that is Arnold Schwarzennegger. In one scene our hero John Matrix is informed he has been targeted for assassination. His friend and superior officer assigns two of his best men to guard Matrix. Minutes later Arnie grabs his young daughter Jenny and throws himself and her to the ground moments before a hail of bullets is targeted at them by attackers. then this exchange takes place when Matrix, easily the most experienced there takes command of the situation telling one of his would be protectors:

"Remember they're down wind, your scent might tip them off"

"You think I can smell these guys"

"I Did"


Like me Arnie displays a similar talent. He can detect terrorists, I can detect chicken. what I didn't realise until that point, and obviously neither did Arnie, is that this is by no means a universal trait. I began asking around and, confirming my suspicions found that fewer than 1/10,000 people can detect chicken without the aid of KFC's store locater.

The store locater has undoubtedly made things easier and is the most popular application on the website. However what if you want a KFC on the fly, you aren't at home, don't have access to a 3g mobile internet enabled device, and cyber terrorists have struck rendering the internet defunct?

Then you need the Colonelator 3000. A totally self contained and portable unit that can also come equipped with a solar cell for use in a post apocalyptic world without batteries. The project has involved some major backers and collaborators and I am currently in talks with major electronics and automobile manufacturers for a large scale roll out. The short video below traces the development of the Colonelator from its nascent stages through to calibration and lab tests. I welcome your comments.


Thursday, 18 June 2009

El Pollo Loco has a beef with the Colonel


Here at Kentucky Fried Bloggin' HQ we don't have a problem with people pointing out the inadequacies of KFC - it's something we ourselves are more than happy to do in order to provide constructive criticism for Harland. What we do have a problem with however is competitors who think it's OK to twist truths about KFC for their own commercial gain.

So here's the background: El Pollo Loco is an American grilled chicken chain. And we freely admit the fact that several of their products sound delicious. See the Twice Grilled Burrito for example (it must taste double delicious, right?). And that sure does look like a tasty array of sides. But we digress.
What you really need to focus on is this damning video.

Let us examine the accusations in turn if we may.
  1. KFC's grilled products are in fact oven baked. Think about your own kitchen facilities. Where is your grill located? In the oven you say? We thought as much. KFC does not state anywhere that their chicken is flame-grilled. Case closed.
  2. KFC uses beef products in the seasoning of their grilled chicken. This is indeed a fact, as can be found on page 14 of the official KFC ingredients list. Now whether or not this is a major issue we suspect depends on one of several factors including but not limited to your religious beliefs, your distaste for cattle and whether or not you view a primarily chicken-based restaurant's selling of a product containing an alternative meat as a crime. As for the former, KKB believes only in the church of Harland, meaning of course that we have no problem with this 'revelation'. And as for the latter, we have long been fans of the Daddy Burger and KFC AM products, both of which contain bacon. It also seems timely to point out that KFC has officially responded to this particular criticism by stating that a mere 0.2% of the seasoning alone comprises beef products.
So let us end this post with a clear recommendation for El Pollo Loco: Rather than lambasting the competition, let the supposed quality of your products do the talking.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

KFC Tex Mex Wrapstar Rides Again

In the early part of this year KFB's team were lucky enough to stumble across an ops shakedown (one branch trial of a new product prior to nationwide release) for the current time limited offer, the TEX MEX Wrapstar. It was given a lukewarm reception that time. Now its back for roughly 6 weeks. I tried it at Stafford Hough Branch to see if they've ironed out the creases.

The product arrives in next packaging exhorting the purchaser to "Unwrap to discover the totally tasty flavours." That was certainly my intention and with a beefed up ingredients list i was looking forward to tucking in. The TEX MEX Wrapstar boasts:

  • Tortilla Wrap (possibly imbued with subtle flavours due to its colour)
  • 2 Crispy Strips
  • Diced Tomatoes
  • Sour Cream
  • Crispy Tomato Tortilla
  • Pepperjack Cheese
  • Chilli Salsa
  • Lettuce

Quite a list I'm sure you'll agree and all available for the extremely reasonable price of 2.99 for just the 'burger' or 3.99 as a meal.

First look! well the shape left a lot to be desired, though in a nice tight bundle this wasn't the star shape on the advertising literature and it seems that the Chicken technicians nationwide are struggling to get to grips with its manufacture.

The wrapstar doesn't however suffer from 'wrap syndrome' whereby the bottom of the product is nothing but wrap like the twister. Inside the wrapstar, all of the ingredients conspire to give our taste buds a damn good time.

My wrap was soft, the diced tomatoes gave a great fresh feeling to the product and the sour cream's coolness contrasted oh so very well with the Chicken nestling in it. The crunchy texture of the the tomato tortilla was excellent, remeniscent of the crunchy prestige the hash brown enjoys in the tower burgers.

What didn't come through too much was the cheese but then the punch from the chilli salsa was teriffic, again cool and moist making the 'burger' fresh and non cloying. There was no hint of grease anywhwere and the Wrapstar stayed remarkably intact throughout.

Within the chilli salsa was a very distinctive barbecue taste which along with the fried Chicken and the fusion cheese gave this dish its TEX constituents.

I finished satiated, and, as happens rarely with clean hands. sounds good, but it denied me that small pleasure of 'Finger Lickin' Chicken.'

In conclusion, a great product. For me it was the crunch of the tortilla that stood out but was certainly not far ahead of the pack of other truly excellent ingredients.

TEX MEX Wrapstar 7.5/10