Cheating on the Colonel: Jollibee Cardiff Review

This review has been a long time coming. Originally, I had planned to step-up the blogging frequency over the summer but as you can see, that didn’t work out so well. In fact it didn’t work out at all, seeing as the last time I posted was at the very start of July. This post was supposed to be up a few days after the Jollibee opening but I kind of forgot. I’ve had a busy summer (working in a service station during the summer holidays is not the one, I’ll tell you that much).

Anyway, enough of me grovelling about my inability to keep the blog updated and on to the main topic of this post, Jollibee.

A little while ago, as a die-hard KFC fan, I put aside my love for the Colonel’s Original Recipe chicken and popped over to Jollibee for their soft open, after receiving an invite from them. This invite included a huge selection of items from their menu to sample, so I was incredibly excited.

I was also intrigued by the fact that Jollibee originated in the Philippines so I expected some sort of Asian-influence from that. I mean, basically I just hoped for some ketchup spaghetti so I could prove to my friends that it is an actual thing and not a gross slap-up student meal I came up with myself (I promise you this is a staple food item for Japanese kids).

On arriving at the venue, which was bright and colourful and much prettier than your run-of-the-mill fast food outlet (though this could be attributed to the fact that it was brand new), we were greeted by the lovely staff there. Having worked in fast food myself, as well as the odd bar, I know that there can be a bit of a difference in service style when ordering fast food compared to a restaurant, and it may have been the high spirits of a soft open, but the staff seemed sweet, friendly and accommodating. I hope they continue this, as it was certainly a nicer experience than having someone shout a number at me and shove me a bag (also guilty of being the number shouter/bag shover so I can’t complain, such is the nature of fast food).

We then were given a couple of drinks, including some pineapple juice and something fizzy that I think was peach and mango flavour. Whatever the drinks were, they were definitely more exciting than the usual Coca-Cola or Pepsi options available at most fast-food outlets (though I’m sure they also have these more standard options).

After a little while, we were presented with a selection of items to try, including some pieces of chicken on the bone, chicken tenders, jolly spaghetti, a few chicken burgers and sides, sauces and dessert. Basically everything I could have ever dreamed of.

I was incredibly pleased to discover that none of the items were reminiscent of KFC at all (I keep coming back to the KFC comparison as I believe it’s the predominant fried chicken fast food chain in the UK, also I used to work there and it’s my favourite fast food place).

Knowing that Jollibee is fast food, I wasn’t expecting the fanciest food ever and it pretty much was what it presented itself as, a fast food place that sells chicken, burgers and spaghetti. All of it was warm, delicious and not quite like any other fast food place around. I think that’s an important piece of information because there’s a lot of options these days for a quick meal, and somewhere new like Jollibee needs to stand out. Certainly, I have found myself craving a meal from Jollibee specifically (especially while writing this) which is definitely a good thing.

A little spotlight on fries, as I’m incredibly fussy about fries (well, I don’t really like any of the fries from any of the main fast food chains in the UK). Jollibee had very nice fries. Crisp and not too salty, and warm and fresh – something some places seem to struggle with. Perhaps a little thin for my liking, but I guess I’m not really a fry girl these days.

I also liked some of the more unusual options on the menu. I imagine a lot of people were apprehensive about the inclusion of spaghetti on a fast food menu, but I was very excited to have the option of something a little different. When ordering the spaghetti, though, you do have to put aside your usual expectations for a spaghetti, as the Jolly Spaghetti is a lot sweeter than you might expect. For me though, I think it may have been my favourite item on the menu (yes, it reminded me of ketchup spaghetti). I also loved the rice there. I know what you’re thinking, isn’t rice, just, rice? Absolutely not. If you can tell the difference between good rice and bad rice like me, then I promise you, Jollibee serves good rice.

To summarise, as I’m now getting hungry writing this and I feel like I’m rambling (I took a month off and forgot how to write), Jollibee is definitely worth checking out if you need a quick bite and want something different to the usual fast food options.


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