THE DAYS have been getting longer and the sun has been shining and it was no surprise that as soon as the clocks went forward, the chained restaurants all began to release their Spring menus. The first to do this was Hungry Horse and there seems to be trend across most of the chains to incorporate more Burgers to the menu as well as a potential Brexit inspired celebration of British Classics with a twist on a lot of these menus too. The Best of British Classics went in May and was replaced with the Bangin’ Burgers collections, the first of which was available until July 20 and has been replaced with a second lot, as voted for by the public, which is around until September 3 when it’s likely that the Autumn menus will start to emerge.
All pictures taken, unless otherwise stated, were from The Super Mare in Weston-Super-Mare and, as usual, this post will be updated with the more we try of the menu.
One of Hungry Horse’s new starters combines two classic favourites and brings them together to create a nice, almost gourmet, starter in Creamy Garlic Mushrooms. You get your usual Mushroom starter dish but these Garlic Mushrooms sit on top of a slice of Garlic Ciabatta. The dish is drizzled in Garlic Sauce to add more flavour and a softer texture and it just works really well. It’s a new way to enjoy two classic starters and now you can have both Mushrooms and Garlic Bread without having to choose. Price: £4.99.
Another of the new starters is already an extremely popular choice in other restaurants, especially ‘house’ Greene King establishments. You can now get a Mini Camembert at Hungry Horses and this will please a lot of people. The soft, melted French cheese is served oozing and accompanied with some really sweet Red Onion Chutney and crusty Ciabatta bread. It’s not a new concept or even a twist on the classic dish, it is just the classic dish and a very satisfying starter. Price: £4.99.
After the presentation of the previous two, their Breaded Squid Rings were slightly disappointing in comparison. Hungry Horse have had quite a good relationship with Squid and Calamari Rings and they’re now available as a starter. You get three rings sitting on the plate and if you like your seafood then this may be the starter of choice and it also the cheapest of the new starters. There’s nothing really wrong with this dish there’s just not really much going on and in comparison to the others it’s possibly the least appetising. It also comes with some Sweet Chilli Sauce on the side although the menu does state they should be topped with Spring Onions but that wasn’t given here. Price: £4.49.
Perhaps the newest of the new starters came in the form of the Oriental Pork Steamed Buns. Two doughy and perhaps stodgy Steamed Buns sit on the plate with shredded vegetables and Hoisin Pulled Pork inside them. These Japanese Hirata Steamed Buns were quite filling with the soggy feeling Bread Rolls actually quite chewy. The Sauce came on the side so you could pour or dip as you please and without it the Pork is a little tasteless. It’s definitely something that hasn’t been done before amongst the chains and it is a fairly nice dish. Price: £4.79.
At the fourth time of asking, the other three times we tried it was unavailable, we finally got to try the only new sharer on the menu, the Meze Sharer, and it wasn’t really worth the wait. The sharer consists of two of the Hirata Steamed Buns and two of the Calamari Rings as well as four Chicken Koftas on a stick, spicy Satay Peanut Sauce, Yoghurt and Mint dip and two Tortilla Wraps. The Koftas were extremely dry and tough to chew, the sauces did help to moisten them but if you’re not a fan of spice or the way that it looks or the tang of the Yoghurt and Mint dip then you’re going to be a bit stuck. Also the Tortillas seem to be rather pointless as, unless you take the Chicken off the sticks, there’s nothing to really go in them or any sauce to dip them into. It’s more expensive than Hungry Horse’s Ultimate Big Combo and out of the two, the Big Combo is probably the more satisfactory all round. Price: £9.29.
You can now have Chick ‘n’ Mix at Hungry Horse. This was once a great idea at Fayre & Square and now that Greene King have acquired them, they’ve incorporated the idea into Hungry Horse menus. It means you can have a Chicken dish in a way that you prefer with a sauce of your choice with any two sides that you desire.
There’s also been a real conscious effort to bring in some new Burger ideas. For instance, the new Black and Blue Burger has Stilton and Peppercorn Sauce oozing out of it. The name isn’t necessarily a new concept with the black coming from the Burger or seasoning and the blue coming from a Blue Cheese. There isn’t Blue Cheese in this Burger but there is blackened seasoning on this Mushroom topped Burger. The Stilton and Peppercorn Sauce gives a mature taste to it and the Peppercorns offer a bit of a burn. It’s this Sauce that is the new concept and it works quite well if you don’t mind a slight burn from the Peppercorns. The dish is completed with both BBQ Sauce and Coleslaw as well as the usual accompaniment of Chips. Price: £8.29.
The Pit Burger has a real American sound to it and it comes with two real delicacies made famous from across the pond. The Mac ‘n’ Cheese Burger became a bit of a favourite last season and Hungry Horse have trumped that by adding another big trend, Pulled Pork, onto the Burger alongside Bacon. It’s a very meaty yet juicy Burger and a must try if you enjoy the American barbecue styled food. Again this comes with more BBQ Sauce and a helping of Chips, or should that Fries. Price: £9.49.
Another of their new Burgers is another American ideology in the Dirty Dip Burger. It’s a real favourite in the States where they take your Burger and dip it in Gravy to moisten the Bread and give it some flavour, it just becomes rather difficult to eat with your hands. Hungry Horse’s rendition sees slices of toasted Brioche, looking like more of a Toasted Sandwich rather than a Burger, with the Burger, Bacon and Cheese in between. Instead of the Burger being dipped, there’s a pot of Gravy alongside it so you can dip as much as you want or not at all if you’re not feeling brave enough. There’s also the chance to have a Northern favourite too in the form of Chips and Gravy. But it’s definitely worth a try as it really does add flavour and works really nicely. It’s also something different to your average Burger and a technique that hasn’t yet hit it off over here, but with our love Gravy it really could. Price: £8.99.
Hungry Horse were one of the earliest chains to offer challenge dishes and now they’ve released a challenge Burger in the Quadzilla Burger. It’s not quite Man v Food but this sizeable dish sees two Burgers and two pieces of Southern Fried Chicken with Bacon, Cheese and the usual pieces of Salad in amongst the main bits and is smothered on top with Nacho Cheese sauce. You get the usual accompaniment of Chips and Coleslaw with a few Onion Rings to finish the dish off. Again as a concept it’s not particularly new, but if you’re feeling rather ravenous and can’t decide whether to have a Burger or a Chicken Burger then just have both and challenge yourself with this tower of glorious food. It is obviously a bit more expensive compared to other dishes on the menu but that has to be expected given its size. Price: £11.99.
Aside from Burgers, there are few other dishes to try. One dish that isn’t really new, even though it says it is new and improved, is the Cheese, Onion and Potato Pie. It’s been on the menu before and is a Big Plate Special dish but perhaps looks more like a Quiche than a Pie with it seemingly missing a lid. It tastes how you’d expect a Cheese and Onion Pie to taste with a little lactic/oniony tang that can put people off but if you know you like this flavour then you won’t go wrong with this, it doesn’t taste any different to a shop bought Pie or one from the Chippy. You get the accompaniment of Chips, Peas and a side of Gravy to truly complete this Pie dish. It’s also one for the Vegetarians. Price: £7.99.
Another Vegetarian option is the Open Veggie Burrito. This seems to be quite a new concept that has caught on amongst restaurants, instead of presenting you with a Burrito, Fajita or Wrap all rolled up and complete, people are now presented with an open Wrap with its contents either on the side or in the middle for you customise and have however you want. One downside to having a open Wrap is that the middle can get overfilled which makes it largely impossible to seal which mean you have to eat it with the Wrap serving more as a plate. This Open Veggie Burrito has Lettuce, Bulgar Wheat, Quinoa Salad and grated Cheese topped with the Mexican delicacies; Salsa, Sour Cream, Guacamole and Jalapenos. It’s all the trendy healthy options and you also get Coriander and wedge of Lime to further flavour the dish. For a Hungry Horse dish it’s a little small and yes there’s quite a lot of flavour going on but at the same time there’s not really much going on. It’s a little plain and maybe needs something accompanying the dish further like some Tortilla Chips or something. Price: £6.99.
The Salad area of the menu is quite a decent standalone section with quite a bit of effort going in to make sure there’s a few options to choose from. You can also now get a Risotto which can either be had as the Vegetarian option or you can add Chicken for £2. The Risotto has Tomatoes, Peas, Red Onion, Rocket and Goat’s Cheese and perhaps really isn’t saucy enough to prevent any boredom with this dish. The Goat’s Cheese seemed a little few and far between and again there’s just not a lot going on within the dish or in the flavour. The Chicken does add another texture to the dish but again it doesn’t really make much difference. Price: £6.99.
Back to the meat and on the Big Plate Steak menu you can now get Lamb Rump Steaks. Recently, the Lamb Shank appeared on the menu and now there’s a second option for the lovers of Lamb. The dish comprises of three Lamb Steaks served with Mint Sauce and Sweet Potato Fries, it also comes with a side Salad and Coleslaw. The Steaks are supposed to be marinated in Rosemary and Garlic and although the Steaks looked seasoned they didn’t really taste too flavourful. The Mint Sauce was a really nice Mint Sauce though, it wasn’t too overpowering or tangy and complimented the meal really nicely. It might not end up being the most popular Steak dish on the menu and the Sweet Potato Fries are more of a gimmick to perhaps make you think the Lamb dish is perhaps more ‘gourmet’ than your standard Steak but it is certainly an option for those who prefer Lamb to Beef. Price: £11.49.
Best of British Menu
As well as Hungry Horse’s new menu, they also released a limited edition Best of British Menu highlighting some of the best dishes this country has to offer and giving them a slight twist. The All Day Breakfast is certainly a phenomenon here and more and more eateries are offering this on the menu. But Hungry Horse, who already have an All Day Breakfast on the menu, have put all of the breakfast items into a Burger for you to enjoy. This towering Burger consists of Sausages, Bacon, Eggs and Hash Browns and, if this is to happen to you like it did us, you could have a Chicken Burger if they have ran out of the Beef variety. There’s the usual accompaniments of BBQ Sauce, Coleslaw and Chips but perhaps the only thing this dish is missing is a Mushroom or a side of Baked Beans. Price: £8.99.
Our love of Fish & Chips went into overdrive when Hungry Horse released their Ocean’s Aplenty platter a few menus ago and it was a real shame when they took it back off of the menu last season. But it’s back again but under a new name. The Seaside Platter is largely the same as the Ocean’s Aplenty; consisting of crispy Prawns, Calamari Rings, Scampi and Cod Goujons. You can’t have the Fish without the Chips or the Garden/Mushy Peas, wedge of Lemon and Tartare Sauce. It should be just as popular as the Ocean’s Aplenty was and it’s quite a filling dish. Price: £9.49.
After the Best of British menu, Hungry Horse turned their attentions to Burgers and decided to include more varieties than their original menu already has. Alongside the Burgers you can also now Funk-Up Your Fries for an extra £1. You have the choice of having Pizza Fries or Mac n Bacon Fries should you wish and the deal applies to all Burgers on the menu. Everybody loves Cheesy Chips and now you can also get them with Bacon and Macaroni. The Pizza Fries has Cheese and Tomato Puree and pieces of Pepperoni on top. The Mac n Bacon topping is arguably the nicer but it is hard to tell whether people will be likely to order them more than once after trying them as a fun thing.
The first four Bangin Burgers were available until July 19. The Bandito Burger offers a Mexican twist with the Patty topped with Chilli Con Carne, Nacho Cheese Sauce, Guacamole and Jalapenos. It goes without saying that there’s a kick to this Burger and with the toppings all slightly liquefied, it’s a rather messy eat. Chilli has been slowly making its way into our Burgers and it seems to be a bit of an opinion divider with taste and texture of the Beans. There was a lot going on with this Burger but the flavours took away the taste of the Meat which left it somewhat disappointing and that was before the Jalapenos burnt the rest of the taste away. The dish was finished off with the usual Fries, BBQ Sauce and Coleslaw.
If you prefer the American barbecue to the Mexican cuisine then there was a couple of options to choose from. You could have had the BBQ Bronco Burger which wasn’t too much different to what seems like an ordinary BBQ Pulled Burger which everyone now seems to sell. It’s precisely that with BBQ Pulled Pork combined with Nacho Cheese Sauce and Red Onion. It was fairly nice and a little messy but it perhaps wasn’t the most original Burger even with a twist on the name.
The other American inspired Burger comes from arguably the most famous road on the planet, Route 66. As well as the BBQ Pulled Pork the Route 66 Burger has Cheddar Cheese instead of Nacho Cheese Sauce, Hash Browns and an Egg. It’s not too dissimilar to the All Day Breakfast Burger minus the Bacon and Sausage with the BBQ Pulled Pork instead and again was quite a nice dish with the barbecue flavour.
The final of the first four was perhaps the most original and went by the name of a one the songs that synonymous with Summer. The Club Tropicana Burger was the only Chicken Burger on the first menu and was smothered in Sweet Chilli sauce and Cheddar Cheese. The Chicken was topped with a Pineapple Ring to oppose the tang of the sauce. The dish was completed with a Calamari Ring on top of the bun which is a bit different to the usual accompaniment of Onion Rings.
The All Day Breakfast Burger was clearly a hit on the Best of British menu as it was voted back in under the name of the All Dayer Breakfast. The Sausage, Bacon, Hash Browns and Egg returned with the tangy taste of Burger
Sauce and will probably be a very popular second coming on sale until September. Price: £8.99.
The taste of America is clearly one that the public enjoy as they voted for the Texas Jack which isn’t really particularly a new concept. The Barbecue Sauce infused Burger has Bacon, Cheese and Red Onion on it and is perhaps a really simplistic Burger that you know exactly what you’re going to get. If you’re not looking for anything different and really enjoy the Barbecue taste then this will tick all of your boxes. Price: £8.99.
One of the sections that Hungry Horse haven’t really added much to is the Desserts and the ones they have added aren’t particularly new. The Choc Ice Brownie is perhaps reminiscent of childhood and sees two Chocolate Brownie pieces sandwiching a wedge of Vanilla Ice Cream. It’s complimented by Chocolate Sauce and again it’s one of those dishes that you know exactly what you’re going to get. The Brownie pieces were quite rich and went well with the Ice Cream but it’s not exactly the most exciting dessert on the menu. Price: £4.99.
Another classic that is now on the menu is a Lemon Meringue Pie. Again it’s not particularly new and for fans of Lemon Meringue Pie it’s going to be the first choice on the menu. The Lemon was quite sharp but it’s still always a popular choice. It comes with Vanilla Ice Cream and was a little on the small side for Hungry Horse. Price: £4.99.
There’s also the Millionaire’s Cheesecake which again comes with Vanilla Ice Cream. The crunchy Shortbread base is topped with Vanilla Cheesecake, chunks of Cookie Dough, Caramel, Fudge and Chocolate Sauce. It’s definitely one for the sweet-toothed amongst you and again is possibly on the small side but for some will be more than enough before being too sickly. It’s again a dessert that you know exactly what you’re getting to get and will again be a popular item. Price: £4.99.
As well as the Bangin’ Burgers, Hungry Horse have now also released a couple of new Summer Sundaes to rival the famous Candymania and again really challenge the sweet-toothed. The new Cadbury Chocolate Everest is rather similar to the Candymania but incorporates quite a few of Cadbury’s most loved treats. As well as two Cookie halves acting at Wafers, there’s also a couple of Twirl fingers sticking out of the four Chocolate and four Vanilla Ice Cream scoops and layer of Cream. Sitting on top of the Ice Cream and Cream are crushed pieces of Crunchie and throughout the dessert are Milk and White Chocolate Buttons to add a soft crunch to the Ice Cream. If that wasn’t enough Chocolate, there’s also Chocolate Sauce surrounding the Ice Cream to really give you that sickly but oh so moreish hit. Price: £5.99.