ANOTHER menu we were rather slow at getting our teeth into was Sizzling’s Spring (and possibly Summer) menu. Out of the chains that we cover they are arguably the most expensive, second to Beefeater, but this new menu has also seemed to bring a real freshness with a lot of the food tasting really fresh and nicely prepared. For the first time since we’ve covered Sizzling, they’ve actually put new next to the dishes, not online, which means no more trawling through older versions of their menus. Although there are a few discrepancies between online and in the pub with some dishes missing on the pub menus and some that say knew that were actually there last season. All pictures, unless otherwise stated, are taken from The Old Manor in Kewstoke, Weston-Super-Mare, and as usual this post will be updated with more dishes we try.
According to the pub menu, there’s a couple of new Potato Skin flavours on the online menu which aren’t physically apparent, there are three new starters to choose from which is handy as Sizzling still offer three for £9. One is a Prawn Skewer which features one Prawn Skewer on top of a slice of charred Garlic Bread and is accompanied by some side Salad and a Chilli Maple Glaze, which is essentially Sweet Chilli. In terms of flavour it’s not exactly much different to any other Prawn dish with the slight heat that you get from the Sweet Chilli. The added side Salad and Garlic Bread are nice touches that beef the starter up and is actually presented quite nicely. Price: £3.99.
There’s a couple of new starters that follow other chains but attempt them in a different way. Sizzling’s Stilton Mushrooms is similar to Hungry Horse’s Creamy Garlic Mushrooms with Mushrooms sitting on top of a piece of Garlic Bread but Sizzling have topped the dish with Cropwell Bishop Stilton and Bacon. This offers a tangy flavour to the Garlic and watery roasted Mushrooms and it works really well as a tasty start to any meal. Blue Cheese seems to be really in this season and if you like the tang of this Cheese when it’s melted on things then you will really enjoy most of these new meals containing it. The dish also comes with the side salad. Price: £3.79.
The other is Grilled Lamb Kofta Kebabs. Beefeater were arguably the first to bring this Mediterranean delicacy to our tables and it is a nicely sized and shaped starter. Sizzling’s version arguably tops it with the inclusion of Naan Bead, although being Mediterranean it should arguably be Pita Bread, and you get the choice of having hot Peri-Peri sauce or cool Sour Cream which doubles up as a nice dip for the left over Bread that you don’t use with the two kebabs. Again the dish comes with the side salad and it’s presented really nicely. Price: £3.99.
One of the common themes from this season has been the use of Blue Cheese and most chains have released a Black and Blue Burger in some format. Using Cropwell Bishop Stilton again, this Burger is also topped with a Mushroom which is potentially the black part of it other than the charred Patty. The Burger is served open though so you can choose which, if any or all, of the bits of Salad (Lettuce, Tomato, Onion) remain and there’s also a pot of Barbecue Sauce which you can pour onto the Burger or the Fries or both or neither depending on your preference. It’s a nice personal choice as it gives you the option to customise it as you wish. The flavour is nice and the Stilton gives a mature kick but as this has been the most common dish across the board, there’s not really much to write home about but it is a nice Burger. Price: £6.89.
For the vegetarians, or people trying to stay away from meat, there’s a new Jerk Bean Burger. Considering the name, this isn’t a hot Burger which you would expect from the Jerk and the patty itself doesn’t taste particularly different to any other Vegetarian Burger, quite crisp and rather dry at times. But this Burger comes with a Pineapple ring and Tomato Salsa to really give the dish a bit of flavour and some tang. It does help in undoing the dryness of the Burger and it is quite a flavourful Vegetarian Burger. It comes with the usual accompaniment of seasoned Chips and BBQ Sauce. Price: £6.39.
Perhaps another new dish on the menu that isn’t really particularly new is Sizzling’s Applewood Smoked Cheddar Mac & Cheese. You can either have this as the Vegetarian option or you can add Bacon to the dish and although it’s not a particularly ‘new’ dish, it’s arguably one of best Mac & Cheeses around. You don’t get that rubbery taste from the Pasta or the plastic taste from the Cheese, this dish tastes really fresh and the Cheese is melted wonderfully to make it a really creamy dish. If you do add the Bacon you won’t be disappointed. It adds a bit more flavour to the dish and again it’s that fresh tasting grilled Bacon that just goes down really well. It’s a real home comfort dish where you know exactly what you’re going to get and be very satisfied by it. It’s also served with Garlic Bread. Price: £5.49.
Another, perhaps more obscure, Vegetarian option comes in the shape of the Roast Vegetable Tart. It’s a bit harder to explain but it’s essentially a host of roasted Vegetables sitting in a Tart, which is made of crisp Pastry. The Vegetables are topped with Cheese and Pumpkin Seeds which add a bit more flavour as well as a bit more of a crunch but it is a healthy dish. Instead of Chips you get New Potatoes but they aren’t accompanied by Butter and you get some Peas on the side. The dish is finished off with some Gravy to soften the Potatoes and Tart and again add another flavour to this intriguing yet good for you dish. It’s certainly an alternative option for Vegetarians that doesn’t include spice or something exotic. Price: £6.99.
On the other end of the spectrum, a lot of effort is going into finding different ways of having a Steak. The Meat purists have probably been cringing in recent times seeing their beloved cuts being topped and smothered in anything imaginable but for foodies it’s a really exciting time and completely changes the flavour game to your average Steak dish. Sizzling go for Loaded Steaks and you can now get a New Yorker Steak. This comprises of your standard 8oz Sirloin topped with Mac & Cheese and Bacon. It’s served on a skillet with Chips, Tomato, Mushroom, Onions and Onion Rings and knowing how good the Mac & Cheese with Bacon is on its own, having it on top of a Steak is just a terrific combination. Skillets are mainly used for effect with the sounds and keeping the dish hot, almost too hot at times, but there are certain foods that don’t mix well with them. Onions for instance tend to get stuck to the skillet and you have to fight with it to scrape them off which usually causes burnt ash to come with it which isn’t the best tasting thing. Another food that doesn’t really work on a skillet are Onion Rings. They become soggy and instead of having that satisfying crispness you’re left with a wilted Onion Ring that tastes pretty sad. You also get a choice of sauces to smother the dish in. The disappointments aside with a couple of the items, the dish itself tastes really good and must be tried if you’re a Steak lover who also loves the home comfort of Mac & Cheese. Price: £11.49.
The black and blue combination is now also available as the second new Loaded Steak. Like the Burger, you get your Steak cooked to how you like, served on a skillet and topped with Cropwell Bishop Stilton and a Mushroom and Brandy Sauce. This also came with Onions, Onion Rings, Chips, Tomato and a Mushroom. Again you get the same issues with certain foods on the skillet which unfortunately takes a bit away from the overall satisfaction of the dish. However, the flavouring on this dish is really nice if you quite like a warm kick. Not only do you get the mature kick from the Stilton but you also get the slight alcoholic kick from the Brandy Sauce which also helps to mature the flavour of the Steak and give the meat some extra character. Again it’s a really nice dish for the Steak lovers who are willing to try it with some differing flavours. The New Yorker topping is probably the friendlier of the two as the Bacon and Mac & Cheese offer flavours that are easy on the tongue whereas the mature nature of the Black and Blue may be a bit too much for some. Price: £11.49.
Something slightly more ordinary seen on the top of a Steak is something from the water with a good old fashioned Surf and Turf. This has now found itself on the menu and the nine ounce Rump Steak is topped with a Prawn Skewer and accompanied by a Mushroom, Tomato, Chips and Onion Rings, all sitting on top of a bed of Onions. It’s one of those ‘new’ dishes that you know exactly what to expect and know that if this is your thing then you’re going to very much enjoy it. It’s not a bad size and the Prawns were really fresh tasting on top of the tender Steak. Price: £10.29.
It’s not just Steak that’s available on a skillet. There’s also the Buttermilk and Herb Boneless Half Chicken. It’s a different dish to your ordinary Chicken and Chips meal and one that is actually quite nice and actually somewhat refreshing because of its difference. The half Chicken isn’t just seasoned or filled or anything like that, it’s glazed with Chilli Maple Sauce that almost acts like a skin/layer on top of the Chicken. Fortunately the Chilli isn’t spicy and actually fairly juicy with a nice little tang. It certainly prevents the Chicken from becoming dry and its this flavouring that could make this one of the more popular Chicken and Chips dishes around. It also comes with a grilled half Tomato and Corn Cobettes and also sits on a bed of Onions. Price: £10.49.
The most expensive new dish on the menu is the Whisky-Glazed Crispy Duck Skillet. This dish is a slight merger between the oriental feeling Duck with the Whisky glaze tasting practically like Hoisin Sauce and the Mexican feeling Tortilla wraps that come with the dish. This is certainly one of those dishes that you’re almost guaranteed to make a mess with. The Duck was really nice and fruity but it was perhaps too crisp in parts, probably caused by the skillet continuing to ‘cook’ it, which made it really difficult to cut up and place into the wraps. Sometimes a lot of the glaze would come off at once leaving the Duck just plain on its own, the Duck was really nice and tender but like most meat, it still needs that extra something to really make it enjoyable. You also get the oriental style Cucumber slices to add even more freshness and coolness to the dish. The Duck again sits on a bed of Onions but also comes with Peppers. It was really nice and the wrap quantity was fairly good but it’s possibly a bit difficult to pay more for this dish when they are cheaper options that are perhaps just as fulfilling and less messy, but having said that it is probably worth trying at least once. Price: £12.49.
From the most expensive to one of the cheaper options, and at nearly half the price of the Duck, is the Stilton and Mushroom Chicken. It’s a combination that has clearly been on the mind of Sizzling and why this Stilton and Mushroom combination isn’t the same as the other Black and Blue dishes is unknown, perhaps they didn’t want to keep putting ‘Black and Blue’ on the menu thinking the customers might get bored of seeing it. The Chicken is topped with the same Cromwell Bishop Stilton and covered in the same Mushroom and Brandy Sauce. The only really notable difference is that this dish comes with the Chicken on a bed of Mash and not served with Chips. There are also Peas with this dish. Again it’s practically the same tastes as the other ‘Black and Blue’ dishes, if you don’t like the mature taste then again it won’t be for you, otherwise it’s quite a flavourful dish that gives the Chicken some character. Price: £6.49.
Chicken certainly features quite a lot on this menu and perhaps one of the more healthier options is the Chicken Jambalaya. On a bed of Creole-style Rice, this dish also comprises of Black Beans, Okra and Peppers with a grilled Chicken fillet on top of it. It’s quite a hearty and, perhaps surprisingly, really flavourful despite its main ingredients, rice and Chicken, renowned for being quite dry and tasteless. It’s a dish without Chips if you’re looking to cut down and have something better for you. Price: £7.99.
No menu is complete without a Pie and Sizzling have introduced a Ham, Chicken and Cheddar Cheese Pie. It’s not really any different to your standard Chicken and Ham Pie and the Cheddar Cheese element actually comes from the Pastry. On its own, the Pastry tastes a little bit like Cheese Straw which gives it a nice little tang, however it’s not particularly prevalent when you have the Pastry with the contents of the Pie. The chunks of meat were really tender and this good sized Pie dish is finished off with Peas, Gravy and Chips. Price: £7.49.
Sizzling have traded Banana for Strawberry in twisting the ever popular Banoffee Pie into a Strawboffee Pie. The layers are basically the same the difference is just in the fruit and change in flavour. The crunchy Shortbread base is layered with a Strawberry Compote and Caramel and topped with some Vanilla Cream and
diced Strawberries with a drizzling of Toffee Sauce. It’s a really nice twist and even if you would rather stand by the traditional Banoffee Pie, this as its own
dessert is really good. The tang of the Strawberries opposes the sweet Toffee which perhaps Banana doesn’t really do and being considered more of a Summery fruit, it’s just a really good idea for this season. Price: £3.59.
Continuing with the Strawberry theme, you can also try a Summery feeling Strawberries and Cream Sundae. It’s your typical Vanilla Ice Cream Sundae and it’s not particularly an original idea but it is a nice fresh tangy taste that some prefer in the hot weather compared to Chocolate. The Sundae is covered with Strawberries and crushed Meringue pieces topped with Cream and finished off with a Wafer. Again there’s not really that much to write home about in terms of flavour because you know what you’re going to get and it is really just a seasonal alternative to the other Sundaes out there. The only criticism of the dish was that the Meringue pieces weren’t particularly well distributed with most being right at the bottom, meaning you couldn’t really mix the with anything as you had to eat everything before you got to them. Price: £4.19.