Review of 'Jolibee'

The Philippines-based fast food burger chain finally lands in the UK to the delight of many who have experienced this alternative to McDonald's and KFC in the fast-food business. When I visited Manila it was difficult to miss this chain with busy locations everywhere and I was told by the local people to give it a try, but, regretfully, never did. I finally have my chance now here in London.

The emphasis here is on chicken (“chickenjoy”) though there are burgers and hot dogs on offer too. This busy location has opened up a short distance from Earl's Court tube station (look for the red smiling bee wearing a hat logo).

The menu shown on huge screens above the order/pick up area is simple with various options for their key dishes offered in individual and sharing portions. First time visitors might find it odd there is spaghetti (“jolly spaghetti”) on the menu but this is one of many things that differentiate this chain from corporate American giants. The “burger steak” is another example: A burger (steak) cutlet topped with mushroom gravy served by itself (or with rice). Sides are also a big unusual: Fries, mashed potato (ok, so far, so KFC), but then buttered corn and white rice. Deserts do not deserve a mention, just a soft serve ice cream cone or chocolate sundae. Prices are reasonable with a 2 piece “chickenjoy” meal (with side and drink) coming in at £4.99 and, at the other end, the “Family Bucket Meal B” with a woping 8-pieces of “chickenjoy”, 4 portions of “jolly spaghetti”, 4 rice and 4 drinks for £33.89 which would feed a hungry family of 4.

The restaurant can be quite busy but when we visited early on a Sunday evening there was very little queue. As seems to be typical for most modern multinational fast-food restaurants you place your order then given a receipt with your order number on it that appear on a screen (and are shouted out) for pick-up from a long counter to the right. Finding a table even when not busy was a challenge. The seating is, as you might also expect, plastic pre-fab jammed in very close together but we found bar-style seating against the wall helpfully near the order-pick up. The service is what you might expect with quick, if not overly friendly staff, taking and fulfilling orders.

Interior

Attempting to cover as much as I could on the menu I ordered the “Jolly Spaghetti” with 1 piece of “chickenjoy” meal, so included side and drink for £5.99. My companion simply had the “Chickenjoy” meal (2 pieces chickenjoy with side and drink) for £4.99. We only waited a few minutes before our order was called. The chicken is absolutely delicious, juicy with a crispy, crunchy coating that is quite mild in flavour, quite a bit milder than KFC but a lot crispier. The meals came with a rather thin dipping gravy which worked as an excellent complement to the chicken adding a lot of flavour. The spaghetti was not bad if a tad over-cooked with a tomato sauce that, for some reason, included cut up hotdog meat. Next time I visit I will likely forgo the spaghetti. The drinks were simple fountain soft drinks.

Jolly Spaghetti

For a large fast-food chain, I found Jolibee quite a nice change from KFC and McDonald's - Just a bit different and quirky no doubt reflecting the different culture of the Philippines (and other Asian countries where it has been around for some time now). The prices are certainly reasonable and you definitely must have the chicken.

Rating:

Review Date: 2019-07-07


Cuisine: Hamburger Joint

Address: 180 Earls Ct Rd, Kensington, London SW5 9QG ENGLAND

Public Transport: Earl's Court

Location: London (England) - Earl's Court

Map:

 

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Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7244 7444

URL: https://www.jollibee.com.ph/