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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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…

 

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

The Lord Nelson Pub Southwark – 23rd November 2016

I visited this funky pub to meet my friend Ellie. Pub onion rings are always a risk, they could swing either way so wasn’t sure what to expect.

THE STATS

Number of Rings: 16
Cost: As part of meal + £1

This pub was really unusual with lots of eye catching decorations. A pretty cool place for a drink and I was hoping too a good spot for onion rings. Sadly I was disappointed.

The onion rings at the Lord Nelson were the bog standard frozen. As for how bog standard go I’ll say these were very dry on the outside (because they are baked from frozen) but perfect grease levels inside. A sadly familiar taste that is boring and not like the real ale. They look grim and beige.

Despite my onion ring disappointment the burger I had called the “Chicken Elvis” was awesome. It had chicken, peanut butter and bacon with lovely soft bread. Would recommend.

Summary

Bog standard frozen.

Overall Rating: 3/10

The Sherlock Holmes – 28th July 2016

Hello again!

As you may know I have a special place in my heart for novelty themed restaurants. The Sherlock Holmes Pub in St James’s, London, did not slip my attention. It’s very well decorated in the theme and packed with tourists resting their weary feet. Despite it being a tourist trap, the chorizo hotdog meal I had, the “José Chorinio”, was both delicious AND reasonably priced at £10.

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THE STATS

Number of Rings: 10
Cost: £2.95
Cost per ring: 30p

Sadly, the onion rings were not so delicious. I was really disappointed with my side order to this otherwise tasty meal.

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Hollow crusts

These were quite possibly the driest onion rings I’ve ever had. They  were so stiff that when u bite them you have a job getting the bloody onion out.

Evidently they were from frozen and quite clearly overcooked too. Although they were not peppery at all like most frozens they were so dry I cannot stress this enough. What the hell

This proves to me that grease is key for a decent onion ring. It just goes to show you can swing both ways away from the perfect grease level.

Jeez these needed more moisture.

Summary

Driest onion rings I have ever eaten. More grease needed. Frozen.

Overall Rating: 1/10

The Sawyers Arms Paddington – 2nd July 2016

When I went to meet my friend Ellie at Paddington station it was a perfect opportunity to try some pub onion rings. Pub onion rings are of dramatically varying quality from pub to pub so this could have swung either way.

Sadly this is what came out of the kitchen.

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THE STATS

Number of Rings: 8
Cost: £2.95
Cost per Ring: 37p
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Ever the optimist I still hoped for the best

There is no doubt in my mind that these are frozen rings. With my first bite the entire onion flopped clean out of the batter and straight onto my chin. The onion inside was scalding hot and regrettably my chin was left burnt and sore.

The inner onion tasted dry, it was definitely overcooked. The batter has that typical bog standard frozen onion ring taste that’s unpleasantly oniony and fatty.

All I can say in their favour is that they weren’t absolutely disgusting and at least they didn’t cost too much money. One for when you’ve had a few beers maybe.

Up your game Sawyers Arms. Pub onion rings can be so much more!

Summary

They aren’t inedible but these are not good onion rings.

Overall Rating: 2/10

 

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Me suffering for my art.

KUA ‘AINA Goodge Street – 4th June 2016

Aloha!

Kua ‘Aina is a cool hawaiian themed burger and sandwich grill on Goodge Street by Tottenham Court Road. I really liked the theme and decor of the restaurant but let’s get down to the serious onion ring business.

This was a BAD onion ring experience. I would go as far as to say I would never buy onion rings from here ever again.

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THE STATS

Number of Rings: 5 (large)
Cost: £3.95
Cost per Ring: 79p

 

First impressions were that they were cold so I had to send the first batch back along with our sweet potato fries. When the second batch arrived they were so boiling hot I felt like they were taking the mickey although I know it’s just because they rushed out some fresh ones.

These were definitely not from frozen and usually this is a really good thing but in this case I think these were actually worse than the average frozen ring. The batter tasted extremely plain, it was not spiced or flavoured at all and I can only assume they used plain flour and water. I could tell the oil was probably fresh since the batter was not too dark.

The onion itself was juicy but because it was swimming in grease it almost tasted soapy. Whatever it was it definitely wasn’t a nice taste and I couldn’t even finish the 5 rings. I don’t think this has ever happened..

If I could offer any excuse for how greasy they were I’d say it was because they were served in a rush since they let the first lot get cold and we sent them back. However this isn’t a good enough excuse for just how gross they were – a huge statement coming from me the onion ring enthusiast, yes they were gross.

Mahalo (Hawaiian for “Thanks”)

Mahalo for nothing Kua ‘Aina!

Summary

Eating these made me sad because I feel like I’ve consumed a load of grease and lost £4 for nothing. 

Do not buy these again. 

Overall Rating: 2/10