Monday, 18 May 2009

FOX & FIDDLE ~ London ON

Victoria Day Weekend!!!

First long weekend of the year, and in honour of Queen Victoria, I went to London. No not London England, London Ontario. 3/5ths of my high school crew (Ricky, Brad & Amanda) live in the Forrest City (Dude is in China, and I'm in Ottawa). Brad had heard about some a pub in London that someone had described as 'the best wings he had ever had' but when we went to go try the place out, it was jammed packed with people. Not giving up on pub food, or as it turns out the British theme, we headed to the Fox & Fiddle pub.

I took the gang there back in Toronto, and they always had tasty wings. Now it was their turn to take me to their outlet. However, this location just opened up. Having originally been an Elephant and Castle (another pub chain part of us went a while back) it converted and re-opened about a week ago.

The decor is probably the same with just a door sign refit. It's got all sorts of levels to sit at. We were sat near the front door, and while there was a table between us and the door, I felt exposed. Not the best room in the house.

Brad ordered up some vegetable samosas. I sampled one, but I couldn't really taste them. The deep fried taste of the pastry dominated the appetizer and the seasoning was just really weak.

There was also a share plate of sweet potato fries. Crisp and tasty they were great - clearly this is a dish that's replacing fries as the potato of choice. The dipping sauce was not to my liking. The menu says its honey mustard, and I can sort of taste honey mustard, but it is really oily and had the flavour of Italian salad dressing.

Rick's dish was the Fox Banquet Burger with his fries 'poutined'. Having spent time in Ottawa, I've come to understand the hatred of things labeled 'poutine' and not being so (shredded cheddar and mozzarella is not cheese curds. Poutine is fries with cheese curd and gravy.). Rick said he enjoyed his burger (boy that pickle and bacon looks good) but I don't think it was the best ever.

I had debated getting wings (I actually do debate, wing just often win the argument) or getting the "Ultimate Fiddler Fries". Brad got them, so I was able to sample them. Overall they were just disappointing. The wedge fries were pretty blah, the cheese was blah, even the 'chipotle gravy' was blah. There were jalapenos, but it just didn't do anything. Brad agreed it wasn't what he expected. A great concept I've seen elsewhere executed way better than here.

AJ went with the vegetarian burger done 'mushrooms & cheese'. Vegetarian burgers are set into two camps: patties that look like, or relatively like a burger, & patties that are full of vegetables (and in my opinion, look like vomit with chunks). This burger was the latter, and AJ, like most vegetarians I have heard do not enjoy chunks of carrots or corn or chunks of anything in their burger.
There were some new sauces since I was at the F&F last, I decided to do some wing sampling.

I was really hungry and in the mood for wings, so I went with a double order to do some sampling. These wings were not cheap, but hey, its the holidays, right? I decided on 'Buffalo Butter' with a side of 4 Alarm Sauce, and Ancho Chipotle BBQ.

The chicken was a sizable appendage, large, meaty and with a dusted coating made for a big bite. They came out strange, like they were baked, plated, sauced, then dumped onto a new plate so the top of the wing was not sauced, but the bottom was. Strange.

The big problem with the wings was the baking process. They were charred. While this can also be a flavourful charm, it was not. They were not so burnt that I would send them back, but the burnt flavour ended up blocking all the flavours I ordered.

BUFFALO BUTTER: Well, they came out saucey. But their 'signature' sauce was, well, plain. No heat. My guess is bottled sauce, like Laredo, with no actual cayenne and butter involved. No taste, no heat. But char was the dominating flavour.

4 ALARM: Wow, I don't know what the alarm system is, but there must be over 10 stages on the alarm because it was a medium heat. It did have a nice flavour and I ended up using it on all the wings.

ANCHO CHIPOTLE BBQ: What is the first thing thing that comes to mind when you hear Chipotle BBQ? Or the second thing? I think, Chipotle = spicy. I think, BBQ=BBQ. Well Fiddler thinks differently apparently. No heat. The sauce, sweet in a fruit relish like way, not in a BBQ way.

FINAL SCORE: Well, I'm just totally trashing the place. The wings are big and meaty and that was good. But the burnt taste was just too much. I can only hope that these are problems because the place just opened up. The service was friendly here, but the food just didn't rate in my opinion. I hope the F&F in Toronto isn't like this, but when a chain has the same menu, its hard to say. 4/10

Fox & Fiddle
355 Wellington Street (London Citi Plaza Mall), London ON


Teena in Toronto said...

Charred wings? Not very appetizing :(

Anonymous said...

I have not been there yet but have heard great things about the Fox and Fiddle. You have to give them a chance if they just opened...most of the time it takes a while to get the kitchen staff trained properly.

Their grand opening is today so a bunch of us are heading over for a fun night!

Anonymous said...

with Chipotle you should never think spicy, as Chipotle is a roasted jalapeno... you should be thinking smokey

Anonymous said...

the buffalo butter is actually four alarm with butter melted into it (the only sauce they alter in any way) and the wings are baked in a flour mixture then deepfried then tossed in a bowl in your choice of sauce.

Lord of the Wings said...

@Teena - It wasn't.

@Anonymous 1: Your right, new places do have kinks to work out. Hope your experience was better!

@Anonymous 2: You're right, smokey should be dominant flavour. I'd still like a little heat thought.

@Anonymous 3: Thanks for the info!