Tuesday, 23 August 2016

KFB in Australia: KFC Breakfast Review

So excited were we about the launch of the KFC a.m. range in the UK that we dedicated two review posts to it. In the first, we covered off the amazing range of 7 unique items on offer and sampled the delicious a.m. Charger and a.m. Wrapstar, both of which contained chicken sausages! Be sure to expand the image in that post to see the full, innovative range of items on the menu back in those heady days of 2008.

In the second post, we trialed the a.m. Loader (made with eggy bread!) and a.m. Platter. All products were well received. The Colonel had done it again. Then, with great regret, we had to write a follow up 3rd post, perhaps one of our most negative to date, bemoaning the fact that all of that innovation had been replaced with a bog standard, uninspired breakfast menu and not a chicken sausage in sight.

It was therefore with great trepidation that we entered KFC on Swanston Street in Melbourne's CBD to trial their breakfast offering. The menu hardly looked extensive and the sausage was of the classic pork variety. Were we in for further crushing breakfast disappointment?

We ordered the Chicken, Bacon and Egg Twister. Yes that's right, there's chicken in that there flatbread. Sure, it was no chicken sausage but we can't help but feel that with this product, the Colonel is doing a great job of legitimising early morning fried chicken consumption for all.

The Twister itself was fairly standard in appearance and we immediately missed the lack of toasting - those wraps can sadly be quite 'doughey' tasting without it. Other than that, the general flavour was good with the chicken adding to the mix nicely. The egg was of the scrambled variety rather than the poached version that appeared in the marketing materials. One element we didn't enjoy though was the BBQ sauce. We can get behind chicken before noon but BBQ sauce is morning madness.
In all, we found the breakfast fairly average. For $8.95 including a tasty hash brown and drink it was pretty good value. Or at least that's what we thought until we glanced across the restaurant and noticed what's surely one of the greatest deals of our time. Behold the $5 Brekky Box:
If only we'd known about this before we'd ordered. The only upside of course is that it means we'll certainly be back soon to see just how delicious true value tastes.

For our Brekky Twister:
Taste: 6
Value: 5
Overall: 6

To ensure total fairness, we invited along a fellow chicken aficionado, Matt Hunt'ing for Chicken' to provide an extra opinion:

To be honest I still can’t get my head around chicken for breakfast and also think the chicken may have made the overall wrap seem a touch dry. Something like a breakfast sausage tends to have a bit more fat/juice to it, which generally helps out. But fried chicken, maybe not so much?
The wrap – a bit of toasting would have been great. And the BBQ sauce – surely there should be a tomato sauce option here? I’d even suggest a tabasco option could be quite interesting. 

I also thought the hash brown could have been a bit crisper, and even seasoned a bit more
Overall: 5.5/10

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

KFB in Australia World First: The Zinger Black Review

KFC Australia has been on a bit of a roll over the past year or so thanks to an array of new and exciting product variants. Now comes a world first: The Zinger Black. Sure, we've seen black buns from other, lesser fast food outlets in the past but this is the first time we're aware of such an offering from The Colonel himself.
Let's start off with the box. This is no ordinary burger box. This is an all-black, embossed masterpiece that features a listing of all the ingredients once opened.
Of course what we're all wondering is how does this thing taste? We'll start with the bun which is coloured with vegetable carbon (the same stuff used to colour liquorice and other sweets) giving it a very dark tone - more very dark brown than black if you ask us.

The bread itself doesn't taste any different to the usual KFC bun but we noted that it was very fluffy in texture. What's more interesting is that it comes sprinkled liberally with chilli flakes, nigella and sesame seeds which combine to add a subtle but delicious extra layer of flavour.
On first biting into the burger you'll notice the all-new mustard and maple sauce. This is a real winner in our books - sweet but with a curious new type of heat that only mustard could add and an excellent counterpart to the slice of smoked bacon. We don't think it's going too far to suggest that it's genuinely a flavour combo that no other KFC menu item has previously offered.

In the interest of maintaining a balanced review we'll point out a few quibbles that only detracted from the overall experience in minor ways. First off, this may be labelled as a Zinger but there's little in the way of chilli spice here. There is indeed heat but that comes primarily from the mustard in the new sauce. 'The Fillet Black' may have been a more appropriate title. Secondly, and this may have just been bad luck, but the size of the fillet in our burger wasn't overly impressive. Perhaps at some point we'll see a Stacker (or even a Tower Stacker!) that doubles the chicken.

Overall though, KFC Australia is onto another winner and we commend their continued commitment to innovation. It would be easy to write this off as a gimmick thanks to the unusual bun but the overall experience was genuinely heightened thanks to the new flavour profile and great packaging.

Taste: 8
Value: 7
Innovation: 8

Overall: 8

Oh and one last little touch that made the experience even more special - check out the message that's revealed only after finishing off the burger:

Finally, we have another mini guest review, this time from Matt Hunt(ing for delicious chicken):

I concur with the author around the lack of heat I’d expected with the Zinger name.

While I liked the sauce, and it did pair well with the bacon, I felt it was just slightly too sweet and overpowering in some bites, if you didn’t get enough bacon/saltiness to offset it. (Sounds like a potential construction issue to us - Ed.)

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Zinger Stacker Meal Review

Finally, those of  us who want a BIG, Man Vs Food style burger, are on the way to getting what they want with KFC's latest TLO - the Zinger Stacker Meal:
This particular TLO is close to KFB's heart. We all have quite a penchant for the Zinger Tower Burger so any meddling with this is sure to receive close attention from us.

Given that there's two Zinger fillets in this bad boy its retail price of £5.99 is pretty good.To maintain this price point they've done away with the regular side and chicken piece that has been a staple of TLO's for some time now.

I was forced to purchase this at a drive through and due to circumstances beyond my control was unable to eat it for a good half hour. By this point it held some residual warmth and although the lettuce was now well wilted; the cheese was nicely melted; acting as a kind of helpful cement for the TWO Zinger fillets.

Upon first glance I thought I was going to need a flip top head to eat it.
Even after such a period of rest this was a satisfying burger with all component parts making their presence felt at some point, including the brioche style bun.

The sauces complemented each other well, although the sweet chill sauce is a bit of an unnatural shade of red for my liking.

Presented in a nice box selling its piquant credentials, it opens to reveal a nice looking glazed bun. You can see from this picture that Sweet chilli has been applied liberally to the back of the box rather than the burger but this was generally a good build.

This burger doesn't need any delicate flourishes to sell it. it's all about brute force and the almost atavistic challenge of two chicken fillets.... Winner! Or at least it would be if you bunged a hash brown on there.

To be fair after a rather dull period 3-4 years ago KFC has really upped their game in terms of KFB's long sought for innovations. With Pulled Chicken, Rice boxes and what is becoming a go to second option for me - the Burrito - KFC has built a range of products really differentiating them from the competition.

The release of this burger has reminded me of a colleague (unaware of my KFC affinity) recounting a tale about his wife filling in a consumer survey. He didn't notice, but when he said some of the questions were by KFC I suddenly took a keen interest in his story. As I recall this was shortly after the 'Double Down' had been launched in the USA, and one of the questions asked was whether a product featuring two fried chicken fillets would appeal. He pulled a face and uttered blasphemy about her saying no an answer with which he seemed to agree. Needless to say we've not spoken since.

Saturday, 9 January 2016

KFC New Zealand: 2015 Review

Avid readers will recall that back in the heady days of 2011, Paulbot published a review of KFC NZ as part of his celebrated world tour series. 4 long years had passed though and we felt it only right that we travel once more to this far flung land to provide you with an update.

This time we opted to visit a branch in the South Island adrenaline capital Queenstown, a town known chiefly for being the home of extreme sports such as bungy jumping, skydiving and jetboating. The branch, situated on one of the main high streets, was a two level affair with the welcome addition of an outside balcony area affording spectacular mountain views - a first as far as we can recall.

We opted for the bacon avocado burger, chiefly because it wasn't something we've encountered before. In addition to the OR fillet, we were presented with avocado, bacon, crispy onions, lettuce, tomato and creamy aioli. First impressions were positive:

Once we bit into the burger though we were disappointed to find that the fillet was very much on the small side compared to offerings from the UK and nearby Australia - something that Paulbot mentioned in his previous review. This (rather major) issue aside, the burger was pretty tasty if not exactly mind-blowing. The bacon was packed with flavour and definitely complimented the avocado well. We weren't huge fans of the crispy onions, something we've previously experienced in Australia's Kentucky Jack burger

The disappointment of the size of the fillet, combined with some pretty average fries combined to make something of an average meal, though the benefit of eating outside with a fantastic view can't be overlooked. Perhaps next time we should try the Hawaiian Zinger burger, though given the fact that it has pineapple in it, perhaps not.