IT might have an unusual name, but it’s a name that has been proving popular in the last 72 hours.

Famed for its bizarre menu, which includes spaghetti, rice and lots of fried chicken, Filipino chain Jollibee has finally landed in Newcastle.

Opening on Friday morning, the chain saw hundreds of fans queuing outside just desperate to have their first try.

Read more: See huge queues outside Jollibee in Newcastle Northumberland Street

So when we had the opportunity to give it a go we could not turn it down – and here’s what we made of it...

The Northern Echo: Picture: JIM SCOTTPicture: JIM SCOTT

Located at the top of Northumberland Street, Jollibee has taken over the former American Candy store and has brazenly opened next door to KFC.

Inside, you're greeted with a modern twist on Asian interior with eye-catching signs which don't allow you to forget where the chain is based, all 6,500 miles away.

Like many other fast food joints, you have to place your order either at the self-serve or till points, before finding one of the 95 seats inside - or taking away. 

The menu is basically the same as what the chain serves in the Philippines and the rest of Asia with very little appearing to have been tweaked for the UK market.

The Northern Echo: Picture: JIM SCOTTPicture: JIM SCOTT

As mentioned, the menu is bizarre but it obviously works elsewhere as it is the Philippines' preferred fast food eatery, despite having the likes of McDonald's and KFC.

We went for a bit of everything on the adult menu which is much priced at what you'd expect with a meal costing around £6 to £8 for a main, side and a drink.

The more family-sized options can set you back anywhere between £20 and £38 for a bucket full of fried chicken, snacks and burgers.

The Northern Echo:

From top left to bottom right, Jolly Spaghetti, Tropical Chicken Burger and Sriracha Chicken Loaded Fries 

Starting off with the six-piece Chickenjoy Bucket (£12.10), the first thing you notice is the chicken is done very crispy with a fairly tough coating.

Jollibee claims you won't find crispier chicken anywhere else, and we'd probably have to agree - pulling it apart, you could see just how fresh it was while its taste did not disappoint.

The two-piece Chicken Tenders (£3.35) had a sweet taste to the coating, and one that feels unfamiliar to begin with, but the flavours were just as juicy as the Chickenjoy bucket.

The separate Chicken Rice Bowl (£6.04), which is probably among the most Asian of dishes on the menu, was tasty and extremely filling in itself.

All of the dishes can be complimented by a choice of dips - including sriracha mayo, sweet chilli, Asian ginger and chilli, garlic mayor and of course, gravy.

The Northern Echo:

Clearly in the market of appealing to as many as possible, the usual offerings of burgers too have also made it to the menu in its new Geordie store.

The Spicy Chicken Burger (£3.99) had the right amount of tanginess and did not taste like its rivals such as the Zinger at KFC, which was sobering to see.

The Tropical Chicken Burger (£5.99) puts together an unusual selection of tastes - a wedge of pineapple and Asian ginger chilli sauce - but actually appeared to work very well.

Moving away briefly from the chicken-focused menu, a sweet-style sauce paired with cheese and topped with hot dog slices formed the most unusual dish, Jolly Spaghetti (£5.32).

We liked this and it's probably safe to presume that it'll catch the attention of most people, being one of the most-tried dishes. 

But the Sriracha Chicken Loaded Fries (£4.82) were the firm favourite as we seemed to get a bit of Jollibee everything, with a strong sauce, fresh chicken and glazed fries.

The desserts

Now you wouldn't necessarily order a 'pudding' when finishing a batch full of fried chicken, but we had to say that the Chocolate Coconut Sundae (£2.23) was incredible.

Rounding off the meal nicely, the ice cream was topped with real pieces of coconut, topped with a chocolate sauce and as smooth as a "99."

We have to admit that you probably wouldn't go to Jollibee if you wanted dessert only as the options are fairly limited with just three additional ice cream types on offer.

The verdict

If you are in Newcastle and in the market for something different then you should give Jollibee a go, but you might have to wait a few more days for the queues to die down.

The restaurant is set in a busy and popular part of the city and has a nice, comforting and welcoming feeling, which is something many big chains are now lacking.

It won't be for everyone, especially for those going in with the mindset it'll taste like KFC as it has its own unique taste, but we can probably say you'll find something on the menu that you'll want to try again... and again.


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