“I tried Wendy’s, Croydon’s new fast food joint, and it was so good it put McDonald’s to shame” – Jessica Battison
In many parts of London there is a fast food restaurant within a five minute walk of where you are. So, the idea of a new channel opening up can make your eyes spin when you ask the question: why might we need another place?
But when I heard that the new chain gracing Croydon with its presence was Wendy’s, my opinion completely changed.
Wendy’s is an American fast food chain that promises fresher, higher quality food.
READ MORE: ‘I ordered from the lowest rated Five Guys in London on TripAdvisor and they couldn’t even get my burger right’
For me, it’s the mystical place that’s regularly featured on the TV shows I grew up watching, which caused me a childhood fascination with an ordinary eating place that I didn’t never had the honor to try.
Being invited down to their new Croydon branch for a preview of their menu was a treat for me; Jessica, 11, had dreamed of this food.
Admittedly, this was not the first time I had tried a Wendy’s. They opened their first new London branch in Stratford in August and obviously I had to go as soon as possible.
Croydon’s Wendy’s will open on Tuesday 16th November and believe me it’s worth having queues.
During my visit, I decided to try some of the more classic dishes on the menu with a variety of burgers, sides and vegetarian options.
Spicy Chicken Sandwich
I was told if I was a “spicy girl” I had to try this burger. And considering myself rather spicy, I couldn’t wait to get home
When McDonald’s released their spicy chicken burger, the main criticism was that it was not spicy at all. But Wendy’s was absolutely right; it was actually warmer than I expected.
Their grip had a lingering fiery effect that was still at a pleasant level in the very crisp coating; delicious fried chicken.
Fresh toppings of lettuce, tomato, and mayonnaise cooled the spices in the spongy burger bun, creating a satisfying snack-worthy sandwich.
Chilli con carne
This. This is my new favorite fast food menu item.
It’s so delicious. A real balance of meaty flavor, a rich sauce and a good level of heat.
It’s filling and comforting and I just know on a hangover it would be amazing. It would be the perfect medicine for all alcohol-induced worries. A total hug in a jar.
Even after gorging on everything else, the chili still smoked and stayed wonderfully hot. Dip in these crispy, golden and chewy fries and you’ll be laughing.
Avocado and Chicken Salad
Picking up this salad feels like a brick – the tub is absolutely packed.
I dug through the layers of grilled chicken, smoked bacon, creamy avocado, cheddar cheese, diced tomatoes and half a field of lettuce and was nowhere near finishing it. The salad is tasty, but there’s so much of it that it’s starting to get harder to enjoy.
The avocado was too creamy for my taste – it was more of a runny mash which was unpleasant on its own. However, combined in a bite of other elements, it provided a fresh flavor.
Cold chicken is magically not dry and is tender compared to typical American crispy bacon bites. I wasn’t a fan of the chalky, tangy cheese, but there was enough flavor and texture to be found in the juicy tomatoes and dressing.
This is the kind of salad you eat if you want to feel healthy while still wanting the satisfaction of something hearty.
Named for the founder of Wendy’s, it is perhaps the most classic item on the American company’s menu.
The burger consists of a quarter pound British beef patty, American cheese, lettuce, pickles, tomatoes, onions and a mixture of ketchup and mayonnaise.
In its signature square shape, the galette was actually nice and pink; a well done burger that wasn’t dull and dry.
I’m not the biggest fan of the sauce mix and probably would have opted for ketchup if I had the chance, but this was a juicy and flavorful burger nonetheless.
It was the easiest burger you could get and is an ode to the quality of Wendy’s food. It’s a step above the other chains, almost like a well done Five Guys but at the lower price of McDonald’s.
Another channel icon, an item I grew up hearing on American television and longed to try, The Freezing.
A dessert, a drink, a dream. You can eat it with a spoon or you can suck it with a straw – it’s so perfectly thick and smooth.
And look at that perfect whip on top. I’m almost tempted to have this picture framed for my desk.
I opted for the chocolate flavor and sat in a silent moment of cerebral bliss after enthusiastically shoveling a mountain of sweet, creamy, icy goodness into my mouth.
Frosted is an indulgent treat, it’s almost like a gooey version of ice cream. Not quite a KFC Krushem but not quite a McDonald’s milkshake. Delicious.
Now, I’m clearly not a vegetarian, but I like to avoid meat most days of the week, and this would definitely satisfy me as a small lunch snack.
I was surprised to find that they weren’t dry and crumbly but actually moist and dense.
They were made with an array of spices, herbs, rice, sweetcorn and chickpeas, all combining for a surprising burst of real flavor. Not to dissolve the veggies, but arguably, this sort of thing is usually bland and I was impressed with Wendy’s ability to create real taste.
I don’t think I would enjoy it as a whole as it can get overwhelming, but for non-meat eaters it’s an incredibly friendly fast food alternative.
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For someone who doesn’t eat fast food very regularly, I could overemphasize the amazing Wendy’s.
Everything tastes good quality, everything is fresh and even after trying so many different items I didn’t feel gross and needed to be transported straight to bed.
This chili is going to be my hangover cravings for the predictable. Probably my sober too, I need it on tap.
Other menu highlights include the Baconator burger, chicken nuggets, and chili cheese fries (yes, more chili, more cheese sauce, WOW).
In my opinion, Wendy’s gives you the tasty heartiness of Five Guys, with the freshness of a McDonald’s budget restaurant. What could be better?
Wendy’s opens in Croydon on Tuesday 16th November and you can find it at 19-20 Wellesley Road, CR9 1NG.
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