Jollibee Cardiff: Tried the latest fast food restaurant in town and was disappointed – John Jones
Filipino fried chicken restaurant Jollibee has officially opened in Cardiff – and people just can’t seem to get enough.
Huge queues formed along Charles Street in the city center on Saturday July 24 as the restaurant first opened, with people lining the street as early as 6 a.m. You can read more about it here.
There were still long lines outside Monday afternoon, with some people waiting up to 45 minutes for their lunch.
With 1,478 branches around the world, Jollibee is one of the largest and fastest growing Asian restaurant companies in the world, even surpassing McDonald’s and KFC in the Philippines.
Earlier this year, the chain announced plans to open 50 locations in the UK and Europe by 2025 as part of a £ 30million expansion, including in Cardiff, Edinburgh and Madrid. The company opened a small venue in London in 2018, which saw thousands of fans lining up for 18 hours to sample the restaurant’s famous treats.
The new Cardiff branch on Queen Street will be open daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., with a capacity of 124 seats.
Founded in the Philippines in 1978, Jollibee has been nicknamed “the home of the famous Chickenjoy” and is known for its “mashup” of American and Southeast Asian inspired dishes. Along with the restaurant’s Chickenjoy dishes, the menu also includes burgers, loaded fries, and spaghetti served in a tomato sauce with hot dog slices and melted cheese.
But does the food live up to the hype? I visited the capital’s newest restaurant to find out for myself – and that’s what I did with some of its most popular dishes.
Spicy Chicken Burger Meal – £ 4.99
As Jollibee is famous for its crispy chicken, I had high hopes for the Spicy Chicken Burger, which I bought as a meal with medium fries and a Diet Coke.
The burger is a new addition to the menu, while a simple chicken burger dish is also offered for the same price. I’m glad I went for the spicy version, as the hot sauce and seasoning in the chicken helped turn what would otherwise have been a run-of-the-mill burger into something really tasty.
The chicken was crispy and the lettuce was fresh, although the fries that came with it certainly could have used a bit more salt.
If I were to return to Jollibee this would definitely be the item I would order again.
Chicken – £ 2.05
I couldn’t go to Jollibee and not have a piece of their famous crispy Chickenjoy – but there was nothing too cheerful about it.
Maybe I wasn’t lucky with the bite served to me, but while there was a lot of crunch and flavor, there wasn’t a lot of chicken at all. While the crispy skin of a piece of fried chicken is usually something magical, I couldn’t help but feel wronged by paying two pounds for what was essentially a singular piece of fried bone.
Jolly Spaghetti – £ 4.52
I said it before I tried it and I’m going to say it with even more confidence now – it’s just weird.
A Jollibee classic, the Jolly Spaghetti features in almost all of the restaurant’s commercials and is clearly very popular – so I thought there must be something I was missing.
Turns out there isn’t – it wasn’t great at all. The tomato sauce is very sweet – too much – and the cheese and hot dog slices on top add very little, while the spaghetti was difficult to pass. For just over £ 4.50, the value for money is very poor.
A weird, poorly executed concept – the Jolly Spaghetti isn’t something I ever get.
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Jolly Hot Dog – £ 2.46
Opening the box and seeing the Jolly Hot Dog was truly shocking. With the streams of cheese and ketchup coming out of it, it looked more like a burst cyst than a delicious lunch treat.
But presentation isn’t everything and in all fairness the hot dog was pretty good. It was nothing remarkable, but I would happily pay £ 2.50 for it if I needed to refuel.
However, I would not recommend eating it while wearing a white shirt.
Siracha Chicken Loaded Fries – £ 4.30
I accidentally bought two servings of Siracha Chicken loaded fries, partly because of my own ignorance, but also because of the incredibly sensitive machine I ordered my food on – which also sends your order straight to the kitchen without confirmation when you go to check your cart at the end (thanks me later).
Anyway, with a little drizzle of siracha sauce and a sprinkle of crispy pieces of chicken and green onions, I wouldn’t say these fries were “loaded” like they are in many other fast food places. and take out – but they were still tasty and filling, with the chicken and siracha providing some much needed spice.
Another new item on the menu, they certainly seemed popular with people eating inside the restaurant when I visited, but I would be hesitant to order it again if I came back.
Cheese Yumburger – £ 2.56
Besides having a terrible name, the Yumburger is, again, nothing special. The cheese looked stiff and rubbery, somehow the wrong color – and I’m not sure how that’s even possible.
I mean, it was good – but when you consider it costs £ 2.56, you wonder why you would choose it over a 99 pence cheeseburger from McDonald’s (other fast food retailers are available) .
Chicken Rice Bowl – £ 5.14
‘Bowl of rice’ is perhaps a little grandiose term for chunks of fried chicken with coleslaw and a rock of frozen white rice, but it was certainly one of the tastiest dishes I have ever seen. have tried.
The coleslaw was sweet and lemony, which complemented the spicy chicken very well, while the pot of curry sauce that came with it helped break up the ball of what was otherwise very bland rice.
You also get a large portion, which justifies its price tag of £ 5.14.
Mango Chocolate Coconut Ice Cream – both £ 1.99
Both sundaes were sweet and refreshing, but could have benefited from a wider range of toppings except for the coconut which didn’t add much.
The portions might have been a bit small for £ 1.99, but they were really good and made for a welcome end of the meal.
I’m no food snob, but my first experience at Jollibee was not great.
There is a large menu with a lot of variety, but I thought I would be sure to stick to the supposed classics. In the end, many of these were worse versions of similar items that I had eaten in other fast food restaurants. While it’s sometimes good to keep it simple, most of the foods I’ve tried lacked real flavor or excitement.
As is the case with all fast food restaurants, you can’t expect the presentation to be on point, but some of the items looked really unappetizing, and it takes me a long time to waste my time. appetite.
Some items – especially the loaded spaghetti and fries – certainly didn’t justify their price, and the items above cost a total of £ 35 which was a bit pricey for what I actually got.
If you are looking for something to eat in Cardiff city center and want something simple to fill you up then Jollibee is the place to go, but if you are looking for something more you might be disappointed .
Have you ever tried Jollibee in Cardiff? What did you think Let us know in the comments