IT’S TAKEN a while. We started doing this way back in September and now that we’re already into February, it’s probably about time we released our reviews of the Autumn/Winter menus from the chained restaurants before their Spring/Summer editions arrive. Whilst every effort has been made to try everything, money,time and the odd festive menu got in the way so if we have missed anything we’re sorry.
First up is Beefeater and they’ve arguably made the most additions to their menu. All pictures were taken in The Pavilion restaurant, Weston-Super-Mare. Split into their various categories, here’s our take on their efforts:
The one unique inclusion made by Beefeater last season was their new Milkshake range. Every so often they will now change the limited edition flavour and over the recent festive period there were a couple to try. If you like your milkshakes very sweet and sickly then you’ll really enjoy the Millionaire’s Milkshake. It’s a very thick shake made with Beechdean Ice Cream that contains a caramel flavour. Like the shortbread, it’s extremely moreish and there’s also biscuit pieces to make it taste more authentic and more enjoyable.
If you prefer your milkshakes fruity then you’d enjoy trying the Raspberry Cheesecake milkshake. Continuing with their dessert themed drinks, this shake is not as thick as the Millionaire’s. Although it’s a raspberry inspired drink, the fruitiness of the milkshake makes it taste a bit more like a strawberry one. This shake also contained cake bits which were a bit softer and soggier than the Millionaire’s biscuit pieces. Both milkshakes are nice though and if you want something a bit different, or to stretch the coffers further than the refillable drinks, they are certainly worth trying.
Perhaps the most notable change from the menu was the very popular Ham & Cheese Flatbread being replaced by a new BBQ Pulled Pork one. In fact the BBQ Pulled Pork Flatbread raises a lot of eyebrows as it breaks down the usual conventions of the American delicacy. Most BBQ Pulled Pork dishes see the pork smothered in BBQ sauce, but Beefeater haven’t done that and the pork actually comes out naked.
The lack of colour slightly makes the pork look unappetising but there is absolutely nothing wrong with it. The pork comes on a flatbread that is topped with BBQ sauce and sour cream. The sour cream is slightly useless in this instance though as the BBQ sauce is very overpowering. The sauce tastes as you would expect with that slight tang and it’s attempt at recreating the American classic is a pretty good one. It’s potentially not as nice as the Ham & Cheese rendition but this is very nice nonetheless. Price £4.99.
One of the biggest additions to the menu is their new sharers section. It’s become very much a trend for couples and groups to buy sharers and nibble rather than perhaps buy separate meals and Beefeater have created one as well as changed their Beefeater sharing platter. Instead of the standard sharing platter, Beefeater have now incorporated some of their other new dishes to create this rather upmarket sharing platter.
For lovers of spice, the sharing platter now comes with Piri Piri Chicken Wings, slices of Flat Cap Mushrooms, Beef Koftas, Chilli and Lime Potato Dippers and some of their Chimichurri Flatbread. It’s also accompanied by Ranch, Blue Cheese and Smoky BBQ Dips. There’s something for everyone and the Beef Koftas, Chilli & Lime Potato Dippers and Chimichurri Flatbread are all available on their own if you’re eating alone or just prefer. It’s definitely a sharing platter with a difference, and this will stand out against other chains and their combo platters. Price: £9.99.
If meat and spice is more your thing, you’ll be very interested in the new Ribs & Wings Combo. There’s a mixture of Sticky Duck Wings, Spiced Chicken Wings and Bourbon BBQ Ribs. It also comes with chunky Coleslaw and two Chilli and Lime seasoned mini Corn on the Cobs. If that’s not enough spice, there’s also Piri Piri and Blue Cheese Dips. Again, the Ribs and Duck Wings are available on their own and are extremely tender. The Spiced Chicken Wings were eye-watering though, so if you don’t like spice you really won’t like these. It’s a tangy flavour but it burns the mouth quite badly and it makes you lose the taste of everything else which stops the meal being enjoyable, unless you’re unmoved by spice of course. Price: £14.49.
Apart from the combos, Nachos are perhaps the best selling sharing dish and some chains have decided to take the Nachos format and give it a little twist for the Winter. Instead of the corn based snacks, you can now try the Sharing Potato Dippers. These Potato Wedges are cut very thinly and do actually offer a nice alternative to Nachos. Like the Nachos, the Dippers are topped with Melted Cheese, Spring Onions, Tomatoes, Jalapeños, Sour Cream & Chive and Red Onion. There’s also a bowl of Fundido Cheese Sauce to be used for dipping or for pouring. There’s also the option of adding Pulled Beef or Signature Chilli for an extra cost. Because the Dippers are so thin, this isn’t too heavy a dish which could have been a worry for some people. It probably fills you up the same as Nachos so you should still have room for the main. Overall though it is a nice twist to the Nachos but some people might prefer to have the choice between the two rather than losing Nachos from the menu. Price: £7.99
The most expensive starter on the menu is now the Duck Wings. These are very tasty, the meat is very tender and just falls off the bone. These are very flavourful but the portion size is quite small as you only get four wings. In monetary terms, these are probably only worth getting with a voucher but they were one of the nicest new starters. Price £6.29.
Beefeater try quite hard when it comes to making inventive starters, sometimes taking traditional home-made meals and shrinking them down slightly to become starters. Like their Pulled Beef and Yorkshire Pud Slices, Beef Pasties have now been given the starter treatment. With this dish you get two mini Beef Pasties and a Sour Cream dip. The pastry is quite soft but not flaky like some pasties so it doesn’t fall apart. The Sour Cream adds a bit of a twist to the classic British staple, but it actually works pretty well. It’s certainly something different on the starters menu and if you like your Pasties then these are definitely worth trying. Price: £5.99.
Sticking with Beef, surprisingly, Beefeater have also travelled further afield to create a Beef Kofta dish. For those who have never come across Beef Koftas before, they’re basically meatballs which some cuisines have turned into skewers. Beefeater have followed the same path and created skewers that were slightly crispy and tasted a little like burger meat. The dish comes with a Cucumber Dip and Greek Salad. The Cucumber Dip tastes like the standard dip you’d get from the shop that normally accompanies breadsticks. The Greek Salad is quite nice yet cooling. It consisted of Cucumber, Tomato, Red Pepper, Red Onion, Olives and Feta Cheese. It’s a really colourful dish that’s perhaps a bit Summery for this seasonal menu. However it is really nice and just needs the weather and the views of the Mediterranean to go with it. The meal was advertised to come with a flatbread too but we didn’t get served it. Price: £5.49
It seems that every chain is beginning to create a signature big meal. Beefeater’s meal of choice to beef up, excuse the pun, is Ribs. Ribs certainly seemed to come to the fore in recent years and Beefeater have acknowledged this by creating their Mega Ribs. It’s not really any different to their usual rib dishes just bigger and more for the hungrier appetites. If you are one of those big fans of Ribs then this is definitely the meal for you. The meal comes with Onion Rings, Coleslaw and Fries and the only real negative is that they are a bit stingy with the sauce covering the Ribs. But you can request more sauce so the Ribs don’t have to get dry. Price: £19.99.
Perhaps the most surprising dish on the menu came in the form of Calves’ Liver and Bacon. Now Liver is one of those dishes that really splits the opinion and can put a lot of people off. Normally we’re on the side of really disliking Liver, but this dish from Beefeater is actually really nice. If you’re looking for a meal without chips and something similar to a roast, this is certainly worth considering. The Liver was thinly cut and very tender and wrapped in Bacon. It comes on a bed of fluffy Mash and Kale, branded the latest super food. The Bacon is crisp and topped with some crispy Fried Onions. It’s completed with Gravy and definitely feels like one of those more upmarket home cooked meals. It’s something different that you probably wouldn’t try everyday and definitely something that will surprise you. Price: £13.99.
Another eyebrow raising dish was the Oven-Baked Seabass. Although the fish dish isn’t peculiar, the strange thing about this meal is that it comes in a bag or, as Beefeater call it, a pouch. Once you’ve opened the bag, you’ll find a steamed Seabass with Courgettes and Cherry Tomatoes on a bed of thinly sliced Potatoes with a crunchy Greek Salad. The Potatoes are similar to the Potato Dippers and the Salad was similar to that served with the Beef Koftas. As expected, the fish is very tender and falls apart easily. It’s a fish dish with a difference and, pouch aside, it’s quite a nice chip-free meal. Price: £14.99.
All the chains do seem to be trying to enhance their Vegetarian options and Beefeater have opted to go Mexican and have created their Baked Veggie Enchiladas. Unlike the normal smothered wraps we all know and love, these Enchiladas come stood up and served in a dish. These tortillas are stuffed with Lime & Coriander Rice and Tomatoes and topped with Melted Cheese, Red Chilli, Spring Onion and Sour Cream & Chive. They’re baked to add a slight crispiness to the tortillas and served with Lettuce and mini Corn on the Cob. Again, it’s something different for Vegetarians and actually tastes really nice. It’s also another chip-free meal if you are looking to avoid them. Price: £9.79.
Perhaps the most eyebrow raising dessert to come across this season is Beefeater’s Raspberry Bakewell. Now there’s nothing strange with the name as a Bakewell is quite synonymous with Winter. But Beefeater have decided to use a Pistachio and Almond sponge which turns it a green colour, something rarely seen in the chained restaurant business. Unusual colour aside, the sponge is soft with the Almond topping giving a nice slight crunch. Again it seems Beefeater have been a bit stingy as the raspberry filling isn’t plentiful nor very flavourful. But this cake does go well with custard and is a nice dessert if you’re more into cakes than ice cream or chocolate. Price: £5.49.
In an attempt to shake the Winter blues, Beefeater have released a Mixed Berry Cheesecake that is very creamy. It’s complimented nicely by the oaty biscuit base. The blackberries, redcurrants and blackcurrants are quite sharp which is probably to be expected but overall this a nice fruity cheesecake which cheesecake lovers will really enjoy. Price: £4.99.
For ice cream lovers, Beefeater have turned a popular dessert into a sundae for you to enjoy. The Eton Mess sundae comprises of vanilla ice cream with strawberry frozen yoghurt. You couldn’t overly tell it was frozen yoghurt as it tasted a bit like milkshake or Angel Delight, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It comes with a mixture of berries which gives it a bit of a Summery feel and a slightly sour taste. No Eton Mess is complete without meringue pieces and this sundae is no different. The meringue pieces give a slight crunch which keeps the palate awake with the differing textures. It’s perhaps not as sweet or chocolatey as some people tend to prefer their sundaes, but it is still a nice one nonetheless. Price: £4.99.