Tag Archives: eat

Eat Big Bold ‘Fully Loaded’ Potato & Bacon soup

Deeatpotatobaconscription: Eat says:Creamy potato soup with chunks of potatoes and applewood smoked bacon. Garnished with a cheddar, chopped jalapenos and chives mix.” Mostly accurate.

Health: 336 calories, 16.2g of fat (and 7.5g of sat fats), 17g of protein, 7.9g of sugar and a full 2.1g of salt – again around 1/3 your daily intake. This is OK, but it’s not exactly winning prizes for Pret’s healthiest soup.

Taste: I never thought I would utter the phrase “too much bacon” but that’s sadly how I feel about this soup. What might have once been modestly crisp pieces of back bacon have taken on the texture of soggy toilet paper. The potatoes, rather than being blended through to create a thick, luxuriant soup, sit as sad, tiny spherical lumps (admittedly tasty, for potato), but just insufficient. It’s like drinking bacon stock with potato lumps, with a slight (welcome) chilli heat from the Jalapeno. The smell was overwhelming; the soup wasn’t off but caging ‘souped’ bacon in a pot delivers an overwhelming and somewhat unpleasant aroma. Wet meat smell.

Full-o-meter: The incredible salty flavour at least meant it was eaten quite slowly. But it doesn’t have the nutrional content to keep you going. More potatoes, or some source of fibre, might have helped.

Make it yourself?:  There’s a reason we have ‘ham’ and pea soup when bacon, generically, is clearly a better meat. It just doesn’t work in soup. A ham, leek and potato variant – I’d try that at home!

Verdict: 1.5/5.

Pret Coconut Chicken Curry Soup review

Now that I have a burger blog, it’s even more important that I get the soup reviews/lunches going again. I also spent, like 2 hours sorting out a PHP issue on this site and updating the theme, so I figured I better make good on it again! So, luchtime soup reviews, here we go again…

pretcoconutchickencurryDescription: Pret says: “Ground curry spices gently stewed in coconut milk with generous chunks of roughly chopped vegetables, rice and diced chicken make this a genuinely moreish and luxuriously creamy soup.


Health: 248 calories, 12.9g of fat (and 2.9g of sat fats, thanks to that coconut milk), 12.2g of protein, 7g of shugar and a full 2.1g of salt – around 1/3 your daily intake in a relatively small pot of soup. This is OK, but it’s not exactly winning prizes for Pret’s healthiest soup.

Taste: Pretty good, actually. I wasn’t a fan of Pret’s Malaysian chicken curry so it’s pleasing to see how they’ve addressed the problems here; a thicker texture, a good amount of chicken, peas (or beans of some kind) and potatoes. The soup is mildly spicy, and the heavy dose of salt ensures it is moreish. It will be familiar to fans of other coconut based curries but is neither a laksa or a green curry in flavour – probably closer to the former than the latter, but it’s clearly a European take on an Eastern tradition.

Full-o-meter: I’m not in practice here but I’m going to say it’s not great on this score. Other than the pea-bean things, there doesn’t seem to be a great deal of fibre, and whilst the soup is thick and full of veg, I can’t see it seeing a full sized person through the day.

Make it yourself?: I guess this could be doable; I’d probably do a part blended version with some potatoes first to thicken the soup further, then add the beans and chicken after to provide chunkiness.

Verdict: 4/5.

What should I review next?  Are there some new soup eateries in London that I can get to from my office in Victoria? Hit me up in the comments.

Eat Malaysian Beef Rendang soup review – Big Bold @eat_news

RendangDescription: “A rich coconut curry with slow cooked beef and potato, flavoured with ginger, lemongrass and cinnamon. Garnished with coriander. Less than 5% fat.” OMG this is on the money. So much meat. So little potato. I’m not complaining.

Health: 350 calories comprising 16.9g of fat (<5%… really? 12.1g saturated), relatively modest 4.4g of fibre and 16.9g of protein. Although I reckon there must have been more in my portion. A relatively modest (for Eat) 2g of salt.I’m not entirely clear how the “coriander garnish” takes the calorie count of this soup from 261 to 350 (according to the information on Eat’s website) so am guessing that’s a mistake.

Taste: Nom nom nom… Snarf, gobble… chomp chomp… erm, maybe I should have another pot just to be sure? This is a new favourite – the soup is thick and well spiced (it doesn’t compare to a real beef rendang for chilli-hotness but that’s just as well, as that would be inedibly spicy). There were only a few bizarrely uniform cubes of potato in my helping; a good chunk of beef in every mouthful surrounded by tasty vegetables in a thick, creamy soup. A taste-explosion in every mouthful.

Full-o-meter: Eaten with that delicious bread roll (ode to that to follow at some point – a world improved from the dry, crusty pan-bread pieces Eat used to serve with its bread), there’s been no need for further snacking this afternoon. It’s a hefty one.

Make it yourself?: Sure, but it probably won’t be as good. Eat does coconut based soups well.

Verdict: 5/5. Saturated fats be damned.

Eat Jerk chicken soup review – Big Bold/Hero @eat_news

So – confession. I had no idea what “jerking a chicken” involves, and whilst it has always sounded HILARIOUS, growing up in the cultural hotpot that is Malaysia, Caribbean cooking unfortunately didn’t feature (unlike most other cuisines).

I had a piece of Jerk Chicken at the Notting Hill Carnival one year, and wasn’t impressed – it was dry and bitter. I’m told this is the risk of buying food at Carnival – you have to know where the good places are.

In any event, my colleague V is a massive Jerk Chicken fan, so I decided to give it another go, EAT style. And, well, you’ll see the result. For those, like me, who need a starting point, this is how you jerk a chicken:

The jerk sauce is actually traditionally a dry rub that is famous for being extremely spicy. At a minimum, the spicing includes scotch bonnet peppers, among the hottest in the world, and allspice. Most cooks also include shallots, cloves, cinnamon, thyme, nutmeg, pepper, and a variety of other ingredients to taste.

Deatjerkchickensoupescription: “Our homage to the fantastic Jerk chicken. A coconut soup with shredded chicken and black eyed beans flavoured with all spice, cinnamon, nutmeg, fennel and plenty of chilli. Garnished with rice.” This is a fair description of what was in the dish. Read on for taste.

Health: 436 calories including a phenomenal 18g of fat (the Coconut’s fault?), this thing is high on everything – carbs (nearly 50g), protein (21g), sugars (10g), and thanks to the beans does OK on the fibre front too (4g). As with all Eat soups, salt is applied liberally – 2.2g.

Taste: Well, it tastes good and helped me recover from my experience at Carnival. BUT… it’s not particularly spicy (“plenty of chilli” my shiny metal ass…), the creamy saltiness dominates and – in a blind taste test you’d be excused for confusing it with the other Bold soup on sale today, Chicken pot pie. But that’s being excessively critical – the end result is very eatable, chock full of big chunks of perfectly stewed chicken, potatoes and beans, the mild heat is pleasant and the texture and consistency is moreish and filling.

Full-o-meter: Oh y eah, with rice as a garnish and my (unnnecessary but still delicious) accompanying roll, I should be full up for the afternoon.

Make it yourself?: I gather making jerk chicken is messy and time consuming, but maybe if V brings in leftovers one day…

Verdict: 4/5.

Eat Summer/Winter bolognaise soup review – Very Big Bold @eat_news

Wow, it’s been a while since I did one of these. Sorry – the diet has lapsed. It’s back now!

Eat Summer Blogonaise soupDescription: From Eat website: “Minced beef in a chunky tomato, garlic, oregano, red chilli and fresh basil sauce with Gnocco Sardo pasta. Garnished with Gremolata (Fresh Parsley and Lemon Zest).” No arguments.

Health: 364 calories, for the super-sized edition. Awesome on most counts but ludicrous on salt (3.1g salt, 1.3g of sodium, just over half your daily allowance), not massively high on fibre. Fat and saturated fat levels satisfyingly low for the immense portion.

Taste: Not a vast world away from the old Eat Italian Ragu and Pasta soup, which I liked a lot, but slightly lower on calories and without the nice cheesey top, which is substituted with a satisfying spice from the red chilli and a fresh, zingy crunch from the gremolata – occasionally with a bit too much parsley stalk for my liking. Although I do now know what gremolata is, which is awesome. But it’s pretty much what you’d expect; a zingy, tasty, sweet-but-savoury combo. The pasta shells, as I experienced when I tried to make a variant on this soup at home, do get a bit soggy from the long simmering the soups must get. Not sure it’s as good as rice as a carb staple for soup.

Full-o-meter: Pretty good short term, although imagine the low fibre score will mean the full feeling will wear off sooner rather than later.

Make it yourself?: Totally doable. I’d fry up some onion and chilli in oil, throw in the mince beef to brown, add diced carrots, salt, pepper, oregano, basil and chopped tomatoes, stew for a while before adding veg stock and rice/pasta to taste, and the gremolata stuff. Easy-peasy.

Verdict: 4/5. Recommended, if not inspired like their pot-pie soups, and without the cheesey top its not as moreish IMHO as the old IT&P soup.

Eat Ham, Pea & Mint soup review – Very Big Bold @eat_news

Description: “A simple hearty soup with shredded Wiltshire cured ham, carrots and potatoes with a hint of mint. Less than 5% fat / non-dairy / pork.” Definitely not as green as other pea & ham soups, potato and stock are the dominant colours / flavours in this winter warmer.

Health: Not bad. 480 calories for the 32oz pot, 38g of protein, 12.4g of fat (pretty low!), and a not-awful 8g of fibre. More here.

Taste: Stocky, potatoey, and with enough chunks of ham and pea to be interesting texturally. The ‘hint of mint’ is pretty subtle (no bad thing), but I’m a bit disappointed at the sparseness of peas. It seems more of a garnish than a fundamental component of the soup.

Full-o-meter: OK. It’s a BIG pot. More peas might have contributed more fibre and helped it out a bit more here.

Verdict: 3/5. I’d probably have it again but Pret would have to be having one of its uninspired days. The ham is delicious but ham, carrot and potato soup doesn’t quite do it for me.

Eat Hoisin duck gyoza dumpling soup pot review – @eat_news

Description: Plummy duck gyoza in a savoury broth with egg noodles and crisp cabbage, carrots, bean sprouts and greens.

Health: OK. 420 calories for the pot, reasonable fibre, low on fat, but v. high on carbs, sugars and salt.

Taste: OK. Not brilliant – tasty as the gyoza are, they kind of dissolve in the broth so the texture is a bit odd. had chilli in (Eat’s ‘extra spicy’ option), which gave it a pleasant kick but might have been overkill, and some of the vegetables were a bit odd – the edamame-esque beans were crunchy in a weird way. Not bad on the whole, but… lacked a certain ‘oomph’.

Full-o-meter: OK; not too shabby at all but I was slightly short-brothed today, and the ‘hot hot’ broth was either tepid or the freezing wind chilled it over the 3 minute walk back to the office. Still, better than Eat’s Tom Yum’s…

Verdict: 3.5/5.

Eat chorizo and chickpea soup review – Big Bold @eat_news

Hmm, new soup day! Excitement!

Description: From Eat: “A hearty and warming soup packed with chorizo, chickpeas and tomatoes with a hint of smoked paprika and red chilli. Garnished with flat leaf parsley.” Yep, about right!

Health: Big on most nutritional fronts – Big Bold was the biggest I allowed myself at 374 cals for the 16 oz portion. Salt also slightly off the charts but not too bad on other fronts.

Taste: It feels a bit unfair to score this against Pret when Eat has been a little cheap in winning the taste war by adding loads of salt. That said, it’s also much fuller of chorizo and chickpea than the Pret alternative (ok, so that had – a few – butterbeans instead of chickpeas) – but probably does win out on salty, spicy, tomato & sausagey goodness.

Full-o-meter: Good – I think. I’ve been a bit rubbish on the diet lately and got it with some rye bread. But the chickpea/fibre in it will make it work.

Verdict: 4.5/5. Definitely has an edge over the Pret alternative and definitely worth having again.

Eat chicken and garden vegetable broth review – Very Big Bold @eat_news

Description: From Eat – “A hearty broth packed with loads of chunky vegetables, shredded chicken breast and fresh herbs. Garnished with freshly chopped flat leaf parsley and chives.” Hmm, ‘hearty’ and ‘broth’ I think are contradictictory in this case, but otherwise, yep, about right.

Health: Pretty good – only 404 calories for the Very Big size… and good amounts of protein and fibre. But as with all Eat soup, salty in the extreme – 2101mg of sodium!

Taste: Meh. Like chicken stock with meat and veg in it. Salt makes it moreish but the watery broth is not something I’m keen to return to without some kind of spicy kick to make it interesting (like the Pho soups have).

Full-o-meter: Decent at Very Big Bold size. At only 202 calories for the Bold you’d need bread to keep you going.

Verdict: 2.5/5. There’s nothing wrong with this soup, really, I just don’t like boring old chicken and vegetable broth. Should have risked the Sweet potato and chilli that @ahadfromcheam went for…

Eat chicken laksa soup review – Big Bold @eat_news

Description: From Eat – “A Malaysian classic…lots of noodles and chicken in a spicy coconut creamy soup. Garnished with spring onion, spinach and freshly chopped coriander.” Hrm, as a Malaysian I have to point out that this only bears a slight resemblance to a proper laksa. But that’s not necessarilly a bad thing.

Health: Just bad. For soup, I mean, which is still better than most sandwiches, but whilst the 367 calories is low for a lunchtime meal, the 1000+mg of sodium, the 11g of saturated fat, and the low fibre content loses this points.

Taste: Salty, chickeny, creamy, coconutty tastiness. Nothing bad about ths smooth noodle texture and the rich tasting chicken. Could do with a bit more spice to bring it to Malaysian Laksa standards, but imagine it has been toned down for the general population.

Full-o-meter: Ok ish, but I suspect I’m going to be hungry in an hour. The coconut in the soup stock makes it quite heavy for a small pot of soup.

Verdict: 3.5/5. Would get a 4 if it was healthier, as tasty, and will have it again in spite of myself.

Will try to compare this with the Pret variant, but with the wedding coming up next Saturday it may have to wait until my return from the Far East…