Sometimes you’re just in the mood for some spicy grilled chicken wings. I was exactly in that sort of mood when I visited Habaneros in Willesden Green. The first impression I got from this place reminded me of Five Lads. A small fast-food peri-peri style restaurant.
The place was slightly small, a little busy and seating were scarce. I hear they also have a branch in Tooting which can accommodate more people.
A strong gush of grilled charcoal scented smoke was coming from the kitchen. As appetising as it smelt, the odour definably will stain your clothes. I wish it wasn’t as strong though because it was seriously making me choke. Nonetheless, even with the strong smoke, and scarce seating; I chose to dine-in.
We went ahead and ordered a beef burger and some peri chicken. I wanted to see why Habaneros has the belief that they are the home of the epic burger (as stated on their website).
What’s wrong with the statement “Home of the Epic Burger”
When you hear such a bold statement, like the one stated in the headline above, I’m sure you expect an extremely epic, supercalifragilisticexpialidocious burger. Right?
I can never resist a gourmet beef burger, especially with cheese. So, when I saw that Habaneros had beef burgers, it was only natural that I levitated towards it. They have 3 options of patties to choose from 6oz, 8oz and 12oz’.
Deciding to order the “Habanero” beef burger, which includes ketchup and Habanero spicy relish. All the burgers include cheese, red onion, lettuce, mayonnaise, tomato, relish and pickles. Habaneros cook their beef burgers to well done and only well done. As stated on the menu “All of our burgers are juicy and well done”. Well, I was about to find out how much truth was in that statement
The burger was wonderfully wrapped up. Inside was what I expected. Two 6oz patties, sandwiched between a bun with cheese and the rest of the toppings. This potentially looked like it could be a tasty, epic burger.
As it sat there on the tray, in all its glory, looking beautiful and unaware of its fate of ending up in my stomach. I picked the burger up and gave it a little squeeze. We will call this the “Halal Grubbin’ burger test”. A test to see whether a burger was holding any grease, fats or tasty juices within it. Unfortunately, there was no juice to be seen.
Already my alarm bells in my head had gone off. Could this really be the epic burger Habaneros is talking about? Where is the juiciness of the burger hiding?
Given the benefit of the doubt, I proceeded to go for the bite. Chewing, chewing and chewing. I was thinking when will the chewing everHabanerohe patty was almost like rubber.
It was bouncy but not in a good way. Hard, dry and my mouth was starting to ache from chewing so much. I could taste a mild tomato salsa in the burger. That must be what they described as the ‘spicy’ Habenero salsa. While the salsa did taste moderately good, it didn’t go well with the ketchup and beef, in my opinion.
Regardless to say the beef patties were still extremely dry and had a rubber-like texture. This burger was awful. What’s worse than one dry patty is two dry patties. For the first time, I regretted ordering a double patty gourmet burger.
I would definitely advise you to stay away from this burger. Fortunately, not all was going downhill for Habaneros because it seems to be that chicken is where they prosper.
The underrated King of Habaneros – The Chicken
When ordering grilled or peri-peri chicken, I find I get the most flavour from extra hot. I feel as if those who cannot handle the heat are truly missing out on the beauty extra hot chicken withholds.
We ordered a quarter chicken, 5 wings and 5 chicken strips, so we can candidly taste what the chicken was all about. I started off with the chicken strips because it was made from breasts cutlets.
Marinated with extra hot peri-peri sauce, the chicken strips were soft, succulent and juicy. The marinade covered every part of the chicken. The chicken cuts were not too thin or too thick, making it saucy with every bite.
The chicken wings had the same story as the strips. Steaming from the bone, succulent and soft. With a crispy skin and slight charcoal flavour, these wings outperformed the burgers Habaneros have to offer.
If you do decide to visit Habaneros, without a doubt, you must try the chicken. I haven’t tried any of the chicken burgers. But if it’s anything like the chicken strips, it most likely will be a delicious burger. The peri-peri wings were also crisp and succulent.
Perhaps Habaneros should consider changing their statement from “Home of the Epic Burgers” to “Home of the epically failed burger and crisp juicy chicken”. Harsh? Perhaps, but it’s my honest opinion.
My only warning is to stay away from the beef burgers. Dry patties and overall not an epic burger at all. If you like peri-peri flavours, why not read my review of Franzos. A place where peri-peri is mouth-watering and cheap!
– All meats served are Halal
– Child and family-friendly establishment
Tooting Address: 50 Upper Tooting Rd, SW17 7PD
Willesden Green: 3A Walm Lane, NW2 5SJ
Last modified: 4th May 2019