Matt and Cat have long been occasional patrons of KFC, Newport. but rarely go into KFC Ryde. It was whilst out Christmas shopping with junior reviewers Bill and Jack that Matt decided try the offerings that KFC dishes out in its Union Street branch.
The restaurant is long and narrow, and slopes down, so that when approaching the tiny counter, customers have the slightly odd experience of looking down onto the serving staff. The lad who served Matt was pretty short, and as Matt’s no midget himself, this meant that the difference in their eye levels was, disconcertingly, some four feet. With the powerful Christmas music blaring out this made communication a little challenging. But having made his wishes known by bending down and speaking clearly, Matt was promptly served with a Supercharged Fillet Burger Meal, along with a Colonel’s 2-piece Meal and a Cheese Fillet Meal for the nippers. There’s no doubt that KFC serves its food very quickly. The menu choice is also reasonably wide – assuming you like chicken – and with specials regularly changed, there’s often something new to try.
The party settled themselves on barstools along the side of the establishment, and settled down to graze on the food. The Christmas party CD of noxious cover versions roared in their ears, as Roy Wood, Freddie Mercury and Jona Lewie got the worst of a musical battle against Phil Spector. Why is it that no Christmas song was made any later than about 1990? Did people suddenly realise how wrong it was in the 1990s? If so, why do we all still play these dire jangles? Anyhow, after a while the CD player must have achieved sentience, because the row degraded into digital static, and then ceased altogether.
Meanwhile, Matt and the lads were chowing happily on their food. Whatever else is said of KFC, it does produce a pretty eatable product. Matt’s Supercharged Fillet Burger was, as advertised, pleasingly hot and spicy, with plenty of salad alongside. The addition of a potato patty in these fillet meals bulks it up well to ensure it is satisfying, and moist without being over-greasy. Jack enjoyed his classic 2-piece meal. There is something simple and rewarding about just nibbling fresh, hot meat off the bone. Bill expressed approval of his Cheese Fillet Meal, although it was not as flavoursome as he was hoping.
Some mention must be made of the eating environment. Unlike the KFC restaurant in Newport, this one was tatty, worn, and downright messy. Napkins and other debris strewed the tiled floor; the toilets were tiny and in a state of great disarray, and perhaps most unpleasant, the walls and even the ceiling seemed to be spattered intermittently with various fluids, including ketchup, mayonnaise, and molten cheese. The mirrors that Matt sat gazing into whilst he ate were extreme examples of this – his view was clouded by a miasma of grot, including, incredibly, bits of plastic which appeared to be adhering to the vertical surface.
Despite the state of the place, once more Matt is unable to resist the charm of KFC. The food really is pretty good, it’s quick, and you know what you’re going to get. Anyone going into KFC for a delightful candlelit dinner for two is going to be seriously disappointed. But, come on, it’s KFC. You know what it’s for. Appreciate it for what it is.