Wednesday, 18 November 2009


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
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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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

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