If you are of a similar age to myself you will look at this advert for Lyons Maid and reflect on those ice creams that you always bought (or were bought for you), those that you now wish you had tried and those that you would never buy (either because they sounded horrible or were too expensive).
I know you can still buy choc ices, but I remember having them all the time when I was younger, but now I can’t recall the last time I had one. My main memory of them was they the ones I had used a chocolate flavoured coating rather than real chocolate.
The last time I went to Frankie and Benny’s I wasn’t that impressed with my Calamari Salad. I decided back then that if I had a choice then I probably wouldn’t choose them as a place to eat. However having been invited out to a family dinner, I found myself once more sitting down and looking at the menu in Frankie and Benny’s.
To be honest I did quite like the idea of a salad with calamari, but remembering my last experience I thought that wouldn’t be such a good idea.
In the end looking over the whole of the menu, I went with the special menu with two courses for £10.95, which is available every day except Saturday.
For my starter I went with the chicken wings: Buffalo Chicken Wings – Large chicken wings tossed in Louisiana hot sauce. Served with a blue cheese dip and crunchy celery sticks.
You got four half wings that were pre-cooked, heated up and then covered in some weird very hot spicy orange sauce. I wouldn’t have called the wings I got as “large”. As for the blue cheese dip, I went without, not a fan of that. As for celery, well I have never seen the point of celery, really don’t like and yes I have tried and I really really don’t like it. I do like chicken wings, which is why I ordered this dish.
I thought the orange sauce was a little too hot and spicy, so much so that it overpowered the flavour of the chicken. For me spicy is nice, but it should complement and enhance the flavour of the food it accompanies, not overwhelm it. If that is what it does, just eat the sauce on its own.
For my main, I did think long and hard and in the end went with a burger. New Yorker Burger – Our 6oz grilled hamburger topped with BBQ sauce, pepper jack cheese, mayo and bacon, piled high with Cos lettuce and fresh tomato in a toasted sesame seed bun. Served with house fries and tomato-chilli relish on the side.
I forgot to ask for salad so got fries instead. The cheese was very gloopy and sticky, but the burger itself was actually very nice and full of flavour. I love the description of “piled high” as there was one lettuce leaf and one slice of tomato. I wonder if they really think that is piled high!
As I didn’t eat all the fries I did decide to have a pudding. with the £10.95 menu you can have a pudding from a selected range for just £2.25 which seemed a lot more reasonable than the cost of puddings from the main menu. As is the case with puddings from Frankie’s it will either be a constructed ice cream style desert or something heated with ice cream. I went with the Hot Chocolate Waffle – A warm cinnamon waffle topped with two scoops of vanilla ice cream, smothered in chocolate sauce and topped with crunchy honeycomb.
It was to be honest what I expected, a warmed pre-cooked waffle with ice cream and chocolate sauce, though not enough honeycomb. It was nice, though quite sweet. I should have ordered a black coffee to go with it to offset that sweetness, actually a black tea would have been nice. Something I learnt many years ago was how nice black tea is with very sweet puddings.
Overall I enjoyed my meal, I think my very low expectations were a big factor in that, I wasn’t expecting high cuisine, sophisticated and lever cooking. What I got was typical chain cooking and it was okay.
There is something about blue food (well here in the UK anyhow) that means it doesn’t really appeal.
There never use to be blue smarties before someone noticed that the Germans had blue smarties!
Druckers, the coffee chain, use to sell a variety of Italian ice creams, one of which was a blue banana flavoured ice cream.
Why it was blue, I do not know, but blue it was.
Now I don’t like blue ice cream, but someone in my house does, he is three! He has been asking for it!
It appears after asking that Druckers won’t be getting anymore in. I did try Patisserie Valerie, both it and Druckers are owned by the same parent company, and after a web search I did find that at one time, Patisserie Valerie also sold blue ice cream. It now appears like Druckers that they don’t sell it anymore!
So no ice cream that is the colour blue. What am I to do?
I have always had a passion for pistachio ice cream. I use to have it as a kid in France and loved it.
It was always a challenge to find it back in the UK even over the last few years it’s not something you see. I have it now and again in (proper) Italian restaurants and even Druckers has a nice version.
This looked very nice. Yes it was expensive and was quite a small tub in comparison to the other “luxury” ice creams in the freezer, but I like pistachio ice cream and this was pistachio ice cream.
I took it home and rather than try it straight away I put it in the freezer for a special occasion.
I followed the instructions to the letter on the day I decided to have some.
Was it heaven?
I so did not like it, I so did not like it so much that I not only threw the tub away, I also didn’t even finish the bowl I had scooped for myself.
So what was wrong, I hear you ask?
Well it certainly did taste of pistachio, it really did taste of pistachio, very nutty, very nutty indeed. It was quite a non-sweet taste, almost savoury-like. I think that was the issue for me, it was too much like pistachios and not enough like pistachio ice cream.
Don’t get me wrong, I like pistachio nuts, but this ice cream didn’t do it for me.