Category Archives: The Contenders

Ye Olde King’s Head – Santa Monica

The egg arrived cut in half, depressingly revealing the obvious over-boiled egg. A dank grey ring circled the egg like a foreboding signal of what was to come. The sausage meat was thick and dry like chewing on Royal Mail parcel-packaging. It was lukewarm, something a Scotch egg should never ever be. Serve fresh and piping hot or cold in a picnic hamper, but never that dangerous space in-between. By my second mouthful it was stone cold; chewable fleshy meat, unseasoned and putrid.

A side of gravy – once top skin was removed – lifted the bland meat and wet breadcrumbs, but this was a failed product from the beginning. Some salad garnish became the most exciting thing on the plate and that really sums it up.

America, learn how to boil an egg, season meat and present this English classic, otherwise don’t do it at all. Stick to your meatloaf.

Price: $5.95
Overall: 1/5

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Heliot at the Hippodrome

A collection of excellent mini quail Scotch eggs accompanied with Heliot HP chutney. Each had a crisp, golden breadcrumb casing that crunched pleasingly against the teeth. The warm, fragrant sausage meat was soft and steaming, cushioning nicely a centre quail egg. The yolk wasn’t runny but it’s always a little more difficult with a quail egg. Still, they tasted great but steeply priced at £7.50 for four, then again it’s a restaurant in a London casino, so what do you expect!

Price: £7.50
Overall: 4/5

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Sainsbury’s

Not to belittle supermarkets, but their delicacies aren’t always the best available on the market. It’s not always ‘high-end’ or top-of-the-range, however on occasion you can discover the odd gem without having to fork out in the food halls of Harrods, Selfridges, Harvey Nichols and Fortnum & Mason, and Sainsbury’s Scotch egg was just that.

At 59p it’s surely one of the cheapest on the market and it’s a decent size too, about the size of a small child’s fist. A perfect egg wrapped in sausage meat and coated in breadcrumbs, it ticks all the necessary boxes. And to taste?

It’s tastes great! Meaty and well-seasoned with a good , thick rim of prime porky meat encasing a creamy egg. The breadcrumbs lacked the crunch of some other morsels, but you’re always going to get that with a cold Scotch egg, not fresh and crisp from the deep-fryer. And all this for well under a quid.

Price: 59p
Overall: 3.5/5

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Fortnum & Mason chorizo

It’s always a treat buying a Scotch egg from Fortnum & Mason. There’s arguably no greater home in the world for the savoury snack, after all, it’s been 274 years since F&M developed the idea of the golden-orbed delight in an attempt to fortify travellers leaving Piccadilly on the stagecoach.

The addition of chorizo to the recipe is not something new. I’ve sampled several variations of spicy Scotch eggs on my travels and enjoy the fiery lingering that’s left in my mouth. There’s something very clever about a heated-tang cutting through the density of the meat and the creaminess of the egg. Here, it’s a rich and fatty meat and the lasting flavour is definitely the chorizo.

The orb is smooth as a result of very fine breadcrumbs. I prefer the thicker blend of breadcrumbs, creating that rugged, rustic appearance, and when fresh and served warm, there’s that ever-pleasing ‘crunch’. The meat is rich, littered with small cubings of Spanish chorizo which trigger the taste buds into excitement. The sensation does overpower the other components, however what a flavour to take control.

For the price it’s a very reasonable creation; strong textures, good in size and a twist on the classic Scotch egg, developed here, in the royal supermarket.

Price: £2.95
Overall: 4/5

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the happy egg co. mini savoury eggs

 

Often the dreaded party snack, these mini savoury Scotch eggs come as a 12-pack by the happy egg company. Using outdoor reared pork sausage meat and free-range egg mayonnaise, they were a pleasant little surprise. Liberally rolled in breadcrumbs and meatier than I’d expected, these are delicate meaty gobstoppers.

Ingredients include: salt, sage, black pepper, onion, sugar beet, coriander, nutmeg and rosemary extract, and while each individual flavour isn’t noticeable as a standalone, there is a certain palatable medley.

They’re difficult to judge being a move away from the traditional Scotch egg (minus hard boiled egg), but a decent attempt at the mini treat and much, much better than the usual bright orange, thinly applied breadcrumb, egg mayonnaise hodgepodge you get from supermarket party packs.

Price: £1.49
Overall: 2.5/5

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Artisan du Chocolat (Easter Special)

A prize for the person who can to tell me the connection between chocolate and Easter… no? Okay, rabbits and Easter… no? Mini eggs and Easter? Okay, Scotch eggs and Easter… it doesn’t matter anyway. Artisan du Chocolat have found a way of combining ‘chocolate’ and ‘Scotch eggs’ with Easter, and if you find that wrong, then consider the entire principle of our Lord Jesus and the chocolate celebration at this time of year.

This special Easter cocoa concoction – an irreverent take on the classic savoury snack - not only looks, smells and tastes extraordinary, but as far as I’m aware, is the first of its kind.

The egg white is vanilla ganache, the yolk is passion fruit ganache which is sweet and heavenly and the pork is spongy chocolate marshmallow with dots of puffed rice for crunch. The marshmallow has a rubbery consistency rather than soft and melting and is disappointing in comparison with the accomplishment of the egg, which is smooth and creamy like a truffle confection. The outside is grated chocolate for that rough breadcrumb appearance. It’s quite an assembly.

Price: £12.99
Overall: 4/5

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The Hinds Head

A true example of golden orbed, eggy beauty. This is a very fine Scotch egg. A very fine one, indeed. It’s everything I could wish for: the golden breadcrumb casing is thickly applied, freshly crisp, and crunches against my teeth. The sausage meat is fresh and fragrant, simply seasoned, and meaty, meaty, meaty. Oh! and the egg. That centre quail’s egg… the winning pearl. It’s creamy and perfectly boiled; the warm, glowing orange yolk oozing from it’s interior across the plate. I use my fingers as ‘soldiers’ to dip-in and mop-up the tangerine gooeyness, sucking the vitellus from my fingertips.

Head Chef, Kevin Love takes his Scotch eggs seriously (as does Heston Blumenthal- proprietor), and it shows. This noble snack has become their signature dish and won my ‘David J Constable ‘Forever Eggsploring’ Award for Best Scotch Egg 2011′ at the Scotch Egg Challenge, the homemade trophy now sits proudly in the Hinds Head trophy cabinet.

Price: £3.50
Overall: 5/5

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