With the chained restaurants releasing their Spring/Summer menus in the next couple of weeks, we thought we’d jump on the bandwagon and present our first ever awards ceremony based on our reviews of their Autumn/Winter menus.
We’ve decided to give five awards in each of the Starters, Mains and Desserts sections.
The categories for the awards are: Most Surprising Dish, Most Inventive Dish, Best Value For Money, Best Revival of a Classic and Best Dish. So without further ado let’s present our first ever awards:
Most Inventive Dish: Wasabi Prawns (Table Table). This dish was quite colourful and brought something to menus that hasn’t been seen amongst the chains before. Despite the reputation of Wasabi, this was quite a mild dish and a nice twist to the usual Prawn starter.
Best Value For Money: Smoked Scottish Salmon (Table Table). This Salmon dish added a sense of class but not only that, it was potentially one of the bigger and more filling starters. With a lot of starters being quite small, for obvious reasons, this was refreshing to pay a similar price but get slightly more.
Best Revival of a Classic: Chicken and Barley Soup (Table Table). Soup was always going to be the starter of Winter but the question was who was going to keep it traditional and do the best job. Table Table did this perfectly for all you Soup lovers with just a slight twist with the added Barley.
Best Dish: Beef Pasties (Beefeater). This award is always the hardest to give but just based on the dish we ordered more than the rest, Beef Pasties wins it. It’s something different and two mini Pasties that taste like the real thing, accompanied by Sour Cream nicely. A really enjoyable starter.
Most Surprising Dish: Calves’ Liver & Bacon (Beefeater). Liver is one of those foods that splits the opinion but despite this anxiety, this dish was actually really nice. It ticked a lot of boxes being similar to a roast but being topped with crispy Bacon and Fried Onions. It was one of the nicest dishes we tried and certainly something we didn’t expect.
Most Inventive Dish: Hot ‘n’ Spicy Nacho Burger (Brewer’s Fayre). Vegetarian options have been ever increasing and Brewer’s Fayre have arguably created the most unique dish so far. It takes inspiration from the Mexican cuisine and uses a lot of elements to create this very inventive dish.
Best Value For Money: Giant Yorkshire Pudding (Hungry Horse). Hungry Horse were probably always likely to win this award with their big meals for low prices. But for five Sausages and over a pound of Mash surrounded in a Giant Yorkshire Pudding for less than a tenner, how could you go wrong?
Best Revival of a Classic: Beechwood Smoked Gammon (Table Table). Perhaps more of a twist than a revival, but Table Table swapped Chips and Eggs for Roast Potatoes and Apple Sauce. Changes the pub classic into a roast-style dish and it works very well.
Best Dish: Mega Pasty (Hungry Horse). Again this is based on what we had more than once. Fayre & Square’s Pies came a close second but the lack of extra Gravy meant the Mega Pasty pipped it. If you like your pastries then you’ll certainly get your fill with this.
Most Surprising Dish: Sticky Richard (Fayre & Square). An amalgamation of Spotted Dick and Sticky Toffee Pudding, this dessert worked extremely well and offered something very different. Was a contender for Best Dish but we didn’t expect the Sticky Richard to taste as good as it did.
Most Inventive Dish: Brownie in a Mug (Fayre & Square). This dish was pure aesthetics. Built into a ceramic mug made to look like a battered tin can, a lot of effort went in to creating this dish and it tasted great.
Best Value For Money: Frozen Strawberry Yoghurt (Hungry Horse). At £1.99 this dessert is a steal. Three scoops of Frozen Yoghurt in a Sundae style glass was a perfect way to finish off a meal. As you normally pay close to a fiver for a Sundae, this is an extremely cheap alternative but still a very tasty one.
Best Dish: Cookie Brownie Rocky Road Stack (Hungry Horse). There was only one dessert that we wanted to have over and over again. Sickliness aside, this dessert was a pure chocoholic heaven, combining three favourite puddings and amalgamating them into one superb dish.
For a look at all of our Chained Restaurant Autumn/Winter 2015/2016 click the links below: