Tag Archives: Bad British food

Long Acre: We’re Going Short on the Nachos

19 Jul

Among the tourist traps of Covent Garden and Leicester Square, Long Acre stands out for its affordable pints, good cocktails and the clientele’s (relative) lack of London maps, khakis and cameras. It fills up pretty quickly on the weekends, and plays decent music.

We managed to find a booth at 8pm on a Friday, and settled in with a few pints.  The menu description did not inspire confidence; Long Acre describes its nachos as “smothered with melted cheese, jalapeños, spicy tomato salsa, guacamole, sour cream and chive.” Is there any other kind of salsa besides the spicy kind made with tomatoes? And it’s “chiveS.”  Still, onward we go, bypassing the smoked salmon crostini with créme fraîche and roast mini-cumberland sausages.

  • Appearance: (7) At first glance, these nachos appeared promising: guacamole, salsa, sour cream, melted cheese, even chives sprinkled over the top. Closer inspection revealed something peculiar about the tortilla chips: they were actually Doritos. If this were a conscious experiment we might give Long Acre some points for creativity, but that seems doubtful. “Odd” is the best way to describe the Dorito-nachos.long acre
  • Distribution: (4) There was enough salsa, guacamole and sour cream, but the cheese only existed on the top layer. The plate became progressively less nachos and more “super-bowl-chips-and-dip” as we finished off the top layer of chips. The cheese quickly cooled and coagulated, forming blocks of Doritos.
  • Quality: (4) The Doritos were, um, Doritos. Fresh from the bag, I’m sure! The guacamole was definitely above Tesco-quality. The salsa and sour cream—generally the no-brainers for nachos—were quite icky. And again, there was no meat! Why? English cuisine is fixated on beef, sausage, kebabs, lamb doner, and burgers. They even make pies with meat here! Yet, no meat for nachos…
  • Price: (7) 4.50 GBP / $7.35: For the portion size, this is the best value we’ve seen in downtown London. There’s a long way to go in terms of quality, though; we’d recommend starting with better sour cream, cheese distribution and meat. Oh, and actual tortilla chips.

Overall: (22/40) We’re long on the bar, but definitely short on the nachos.

Los Locos: You’d be crazy to go for the nachos.

8 Mar

It’s your Ye Olde Foreign Correspondent in London, back from a long hiatus! Unfortunately, it was not worth the wait…

Los Locos is a quintiessential dive.  The bar/club is in a basement near Covent Garden—and fittingly, because the light of day is really not welcome there… What is welcome are the 99 pence tequila shots, cheap pitchers, decent food, lack of a cover charge, and the dance floor.  The slogan on the waiters’ t-shirts reads “no one is ugly after 2am.”  There is certainly good empirical evidence for alcohol as a mediating variable for hotness. This mediation affect probably applies to food in some cases. But not these nachos.

•    Appearance: (7/10) At first glance, there were good portions of salsa, sour cream and guacamole. And the cheese was actually melted! (That’s a big step forward from my last  British nachos experience…) I thought they forgot the chicken because it was all buried. And later, I wished they had forgotten to put on the chicken…

imgp2345•    Quality of Ingredients: (3/10) Overall poor, with one bright spot being the guacamole. It had decent flavor and appeared to be fresh.  This could not compensation for stale chips and watery beans. Or the the chicken akin to water-diluted lunch meat. I abandoned these nachos rather quickly, and let the boys finish them…

•    Distribution of Toppings: (7/10) The chips to toppings ratio was adequate.  The cheese was spread out well, but it was not melted in some places.  The chips did not get soggy, but that was probably because they were stale to begin with.

•    Price: (3/10) In general, Los Locos is a great deal. It offers half-price meals on weeknights. (As long as you have a 6-inch separation between tables. Will chalk that one up to “yet another bizzare British thing…” or incompetent and confused management staff.) However, nachos are NOT included, so this sorry nacho experience cost me about £11. And even with the pound’s recent plight, that’s high.

•    Overall: (20/40)

Go to Los Locos for the 99 pence shots. Go for the music. (The DJ actually took several requests!)  Go to embarrass yourself on the dance floor.  (Photos censored…) But just don’t go for the nachos.

The Ranch in Bristol, UK: An insult to the fine cusine of nachos

27 Oct

Nearly a month ago I bid adieu to the Nacho Patrol, and hopped a plane to London. There were many things to be worried about… would I like the city? Would I meet new friends? Could I successfully return to the poverty-stricken life of a student? Having spent my first month dealing with these issues, I am now turning to a more important one: the state of British nachos.

London is a great city. Over the past month, I have enjoyed pints of cask ales and fine plates of sausage and mash. However, just as the City currently suffers from a dearth of capital, the city of London has a severe nacho-deficiency. I tested my first plate at The Ranch in Bristol. After several glasses of wine, I spotted something unusual amongst the crisps and sandwiches… could it be?

Yes, it was. But oh, was it disappointing…

  • Appearance: Plaintive. The tortilla chips were scattered on the plate, while most of the toppings were clumped in the middle of plate (5/10).
  • Quality of Toppings: Abysmal. I’d heard British food was bad. It seems the only thing worse when the British try to branch out. They did have the standard sour cream and guacamole. The cheese was mostly clumped in the middle, and some of it wasn’t even melted! This led to the revelation of the first axiom of nachos: Melted cheese is requirement to bear the distinguished label of “nachos.” Nachos without melted cheese is like a Sarah Palin speech without a Joe-six-pack reference or a down syndrome baby… (3/10).
  • Distribution of Toppings: Appallingly bad. Excessive clumping is a nacho plate’s worst enemy (3/10).
  • Value: In this case, free. I’m assuming it’d be ridiculously expensive under normal circumstances just like everything else in the UK (5/10).
  • Overall: 16/40. These barely qualified as nachos. Thankfully, it’s unlikely I will be back in Bristol in the near future.

Despite the rough start, I believe that a country like Britain must have decent nachos somewhere. And I shall persevere even if it takes years to find them.