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.