Firehouse Bar & Grill, St Ives – 7th November 2017

Surf’s up. On a trip to Cornwall to surf in the cold November sea with the seals, this restaurant was recommended to me by my friend Mia who frequents St Ives.

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THE STATS

Number of Rings: 10
Cost: £2.50
Cost per ring: 25p

There’s no mistaking how cheap these rings our and I would like to suggest a number of factors that contributed to the price here:

  • Firstly, location. These are not London prices are they.
  • Secondly, shitness. These were gross.

IMG_4641These rings were made from frozen and they were substandard at that. They were very burnt.

The inner onion was almost completely separated from the batter, flopping out when I took each bite into the hollow batter. It was pretty hard to chew the inner onion off the ring which is a common problem with the bog standard frozen ring.


The smaller onion rings had that distinctive from-frozen taste and stodgy texture and the larger rings were too air filled to taste of anything.

Summary

Burnt, hollow, bog standard, frozen rings.

Overall Rating: 2/10

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Frankie and Benny’s – 23rd October 2017

It’s my mission to review the onion rings in every chain restaurant in the UK that sells them…. I never have high hopes for quality though.

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THE STATS

Number of Rings: 8
Cost: £3.45
Cost per ring: 43p

I find that often in chain restaurants the onion rings are dry or soggy and usually from frozen, (Chiquitos and Garfunkel’s I’m looking at you), so I was expecting a very plain mediocre onion ring from Frankie & Benny’s. To my surprise, the waitress said these rings were spicy when I ordered them so I hoped they had raised the bar.

Were they spicy?

Yes, mildly spicy.

Were they mediocre?

Yes, as expected.

The rings were for sure from frozen which I think is such a cheek when they are charging you £3.45 for a portion that probably cost them about 40p MAX.

As frozen rings go I’d say they were slimy yet satisfying. I usually give the bog standard frozens a 3/10 but I’m going to boost the score for the novelty of the light spice. They were standard stodgy rings with a twist.

The texture was totally soft with zero crunch, I was disappointed. They were plain slimy although they didn’t cross the line of too greasy. You win some you lose some.

Summary

Slimy, spicy, frozen rings.

Overall Rating: 4/10

Student Central (ULU) – 2nd October 2017

Student Central is a good place to get a cheap burger and chips at lunch time if you are around Goodge St. Their rings are cheap but will they taste like it?

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THE STATS

Number of Rings: 6
Cost: £2.50
Cost per ring: 41p

Yes they taste cheap, but really at 41p a ring they are just standard price. The portion is smaller than the standard eight ring serving but you wouldn’t really want to eat more than six of these parched rings.

On the menu at Student Central the beer battered onion rings are described as “Crispy and crunchy, cooked in our chef’s special beer batter recipe”. So they reckon these onion rings are the chef’s special recipe but to be honest I think it’s quite clear that what they mean is that these are the chef’s special favourite frozen brand.

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The batter is not breaded and I think it has onion powder in which reeks of the frozen classic ring recipe. The inner onion is juicy in comparison to the batter but anything would be deemed juicy in comparison to batter so dry.

Sadly, the onion flops out and when you take a bite you are likely to drag the whole onion out in one go.  The poor adhesion of inner onion to batter again suggests to me that these are frozen. I can’t believe they would so blatantly lie on their menu.

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On the plus side, they are not plain, the flavour is alright and they’re not noticeably lacking in salt.

Summary

Bog standard frozen and dry.

Overall Rating: 3/10

*** UPDATE! ***

A few days after I reviewed these rings, I went back to ULU and my friend ordered them but I steered clear. He was served an entirely different looking set of rings that looked way better than the ones I had. Since then I have bought the onion rings here 3 times but to no avail. I alway get served these three out of tenners. Will anyone ever find the elusive rings George had? It’s a mystery yet to be solved…

 

Blues Kitchen Brixton – 12th September 2017

Blues Kitchen is one of my favourite restaurants, it has such a fun vibe, great food and the onion rings in the Camden Blues Kitchen were pretty damn nice. So I had to see for myself if the Brixton branch could live up to its sister.

THE STATS

Number of Rings: 5
Cost: £3.00
Cost per ring: 60p

 

These rings are definitely fresh, something I think we should all come to expect from any self-respecting restaurant. The texture was SPOT on. 10/10 for texture. The batter was not breaded but it was very crunchy which is particularly unusual and delicious.

However, the taste of the batter was downright dull. It was completely bland and seriously lacking in salt and almost had a soapy taste.

Once I added my own salt they were somewhat revived but the flavour was tinged with the recent taste of disappointment. I ain’t got time to add my own salt dammit, I’m busy enjoying my meal and chatting to my mates. Besides, I don’t need the guilt of knowing how much salt it takes to make onion rings taste nice, keep that dirty secret to yourselves chefs!

The inner onion was nice and juicy but sadly neither the juicy onion nor the perfect texture could save these rings from the tasteless batter.

These are not as the good as the onion rings that I had in the Blues Kitchen Camden.

 

Summary

Perfect batter texture. Bland batter taste.

Overall Rating: 7/10

Bodeans – 4th September 2017

Double date with Mark and Ellie to their favourite BBQ restaurant. I have high expectations for the onion rings in a BBQ joint but would these match up to my standards?

THE STATS

Number of Rings: 9 
Cost: £3.75
Cost per ring: 42p

 

My first impression was that they were very pale and I was concerned they would not be good. Luckily I found when I took my first bite that they had a good strong flavour and the batter was perfectly salty. Never underestimate the importance of salt when it comes to onion rings.

They were pretty hard to chew through and cleanly bite the onion in half so I had to eat them whole (what a sight haha!). Something clearly wasn’t quite right with the structure.  The batter was very soft, probably due to the fact that it wasn’t breaded.

The inner onion was very juicy and nicely complimented by the taste of the batter. However these rings would have rated more highly if they were a little crispier.

Battered onion rings (as opposed to breaded) often have the problem of being on the plain side but thankfully it was not the case with Bodeans rings, they were very flavoursome. The rest of the food was also pretty good although I went for a hotdog and I know the burger would have been better but you just gotta have a hotdog once every 2 years or so to remind yourself of the superiority of burgers.

Summary

Juicy, soft onion rings.

Overall Rating: 7/10

Auld Hundred, Edinburgh – 27th August 2017

So excited to have visited the Fringe Festival for the first time. I went with my friends Charlotte, Issy and Rhianna and the four of us just had the most fantastic time. Cool bars, hilarious comedy, great company.. but how was Edinburgh’s onion ring game?

THE STATS

Number of Rings: 7
Cost: £2.59
Cost per ring: 37p

The pub was pleasant and it suited exactly what we needed, a speedy service of good food between shows. However the onion rings were sadly that familiar from frozen taste.

However I’m not sure if the rings were actually from frozen like a classic pub onion ring but they tasted run of the mill for sure. Again, perhaps they are from frozen but deep fried? This always confuses the tastebuds…

The texture was good, not too stodgy, and the grease levels were spot on. The batter was nice and crispy and this was complemented exactly as you’d hope with juicy inner onions.

 

Summary

Perfectly ordinary rings.

Overall Rating: 5/10

Prince William Henry – 18th August 2017

 Alex’s 23rd Birthday! We descended on this pub with heated outdoor tables to celebrate. But.. were the onion rings cause for celebration?

THE STATS

Number of Rings: 16
Cost: £3.30
Cost per ring: 21p

 

Pub grub at it’s worst and best. Let me explain…

These were 100% bog standard frozen onion rings. The ones you bite into and you question what they are even made of but you still get an overwhelming onion smell. If you go in with your eyes open to the fact that these are a dirty pub food then you could be tempted to say that they are nice.

The outer of each ring is crispy but I was almost unable to differentiate between the batter and onion once you are inside. The innards had the consistency of mashed potato not onion which does not make for a juicy delicious onion ring.

At 21p per ring they were definitely hitting the spot. I obviously couldn’t finish them and nor did I want to but a few cheapo onion rings go down a treat when you’re in a big group at the pub.

Summary

So bad… it’s almost good, but not quite.

Overall Rating: 3/10