Monday, March 18, 2013

Wishbone, 13th March

I am used to eating alone and have done so on several occasions but I have never eaten quite as alone as I did the other day at Wishbone.

Wanting to avoid the lunchtime crush, I arrived in Brixton a little after half one. Walking past Honest Burgers on my way to Wishbone and seeing the small queue outside, I worried that I had still mistimed it. Worry I need not as when I arrived at Wishbone the place was entirely empty apart from the two members of staff. Not letting this deter me I went in anyway, was greeted by one of the waiters/barmen and took a seat.

I hadn't heard great things about Wishbone I must admit, but as Stephen would be happy to tell you, I don't tend to listen much to other people and wanted to try it out for myself. I kind of regretted not being with at least one other person in order to try out a few more of the dishes so I just tried to order a couple of the more 'specialised' dishes. One of their specials today was basically their version of a KFC Tower burger which sounded great but I knew if I got that I wouldn't want have room to try anything else on the menu.

So instead I ordered the Thai thighs which came with a tamarind dressing, mint, chilli and shallots and I also ordered the Hot Mess as a side. I had initially thought I'd go for the deep-fried mac n cheese, something so sinful-sounding I wouldn't dare order it in the presence of anyone else, but when my server described the hot mess as "like nachos but with hash browns instead" I was sold.

My thighs were 5.50 and my Hot Mess was 4.50. For these prices I thought the portions were excellent and made for sharing. Nevermind, I'd have to do my best on my own.

I was still the only one in the place.

The thighs came chopped and coated in batter with mint leaves adorning them and sliced chillies and shallots all over the place. I took a bit and my first reaction was "this is great, what is wrong with other people?" The tamarind dressing was sweet, the chicken crunchy and although I felt like I was eating nettles having such large leaves of mint all over the place, the taste was good. Moreish even. But after a few of the nuggets I must admit my enthusiasm for them waned. I realised the chillies weren't doing anything at all. To test this theory I had a couple of forkfuls of them and nothing else (left).

They didn't elicit even a sniffle. I also realised that the yummiest bit was the tamarind dressing and that there wasn't anywhere near enough of it. I'd have much preferred it if it had come as a side for a dipping sauce. I tried a little of the hot sauce they provided, to make up for the lack of kick in the chillies, and found this a bit too vinegary and watery for my tastes. Maybe I'm just too used to The Ribman's wonderful Holy Fuck. *nudge, wink*

I dug into the Hot Mess and almost instantly disliked it. The same vinegary hot sauce was all over it. I didn't even like the cheese they used. Do you hear that? I didn't. Like. The Cheese! I think it was a mix of some sort of processed orange stuff and some white stuff I couldn't place. Stephen said it sounded like the kind they'd ruined their chips with at Meatliquor. (The major investment in the "Meat" chains is also behind Wishbone.) And the pickles I thought didn't work with it at all - more vinegary sharpness to compound the horrible sharp hot sauce. I tried to dig out some of the plain hash brown to see if I liked that but it was too smothered with everything else to be discerned. I tried to like it, I really did. And certainly ate more forkfuls of it than I really needed to before realising that I was treating eating it like a bit of a chore, and decided to stop.




Being the only person in the place (still) the two staff asked me a couple of times how it was and I feel very guilty for being deceitful and supplying them with the stock answer of "oh, yes, very nice". One guy even asked me specifically how I liked the Hot Mess and I was forced to evade the question, answering "There's a lot of it" rather than actually answering the question.

Back to the chopped up thighs then, which I did finish though after eating them all, liked even less. At first I was excited that they were made from thighs, dark meat being my favourite part of a chicken. But some of the nuggets were really fatty, a couple of the smaller ones almost all fat, and it made me think wistfully of traditional nuggets made out of white meat (or even pink slime if you believe the facebook rumours. Don't, by the way - they're completely false.).


No tamarind dressing left! Just nuggets of fat.

lf you liked the food it would be good value for money, as the servings are very generous. My main and side could easily have fed two. And it was only 10 pounds. I handed over my note and left. Apart from two people getting take out, not a soul had come in to eat the whole time I was there.

So yeah, not a very successful dining experience. I doubt I'll go back. I had to go and have an ice cream from LabG to make up for it. And that was delicious. Panna Cotta flavour. Mmmm.

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I work as an editor in educational publishing by day, and then spend most of my spare time discovering interesting things to do in London, and taking people there with my own Meetup.