“ Manufacturer: Walls / Type: Pie „
PRICE: £1.65 per 180g slice (at my local village grocers)
NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION (per slice):
(of which sugars): 3.4g
(of which saturates): 12.4g
Equivalent as salt: 1.7g
Wheat flour, beef (21%), vegetable oil, potato (12%), water, onion (4.5%), single cream (3.5%), cornflour, yeast extract, salt, sugar, milk proteins, black pepper, white pepper, chilli powder, glucose syrup
Contains milk, wheat, gluten
Though the product contains no nuts, no guarantee can be made that the ingredients are nut-free
Free from artificial colours, flavourings and hydrogenated fat
After having read a few reviews on DooYoo of peppered steak slices (Ginsters, and I believe one other brand), I felt that I'd like to try one. On this particular day I visited my local village grocers, and I opted for Wall's Peppered Steak Slice, as it is the only brand this particular shop stocks.
Steak au Poivre is probably my favourite item on any reasonable bistro type restaurant's menu, but of course I didn't have any expectations that Wall's Peppered Steak Slice would come even a tiny bit close to that league. I did hope that it would be at worst edible, and at best enjoyable as a junk food type of snack.
Wall's Peppered Steak Slice comes in a horrible pale brown coloured plastic wrapper that has the standard Wall's logo on the front, together with a very brief description of the product. The back of the wrapper shows nutritional information, ingredients, storage/cooking instructions (conventional oven or microwave), dietary/allergy advice, and Wall's quality claim together with their contact details.
Inside the wrapper, the slice is loosely wrapped in a thin cardboard cover. The slice is fairly large - approx. 7" x 4", and is I'd guess just over an inch thick. Fairly deep decorative ridges are cut into the surface, and the pastry is a nice golden brown colour.
As I don't like pastry products heated in the microwave because they go too greasy and pappy, I opted for the conventional oven method (pre-heated @ 190C/375F/Gas 5 for 18-20 mins). During the heating process, I couldn't really smell anything coming from the oven. Because I was interrupted by a phone call, the slice had to remain in the oven for 5 minutes longer than the recommended maximum time (it is also advised on the rear of the packaging that the product can be eaten cold, straight from the fridge).
On removing the slice from the oven - I didn't prepare any accompaniments, as I just fancied it as a quick snack on its own - the top of the pastry had turned a very dark brown, but looked delicious. I don't mind my pastry a little overdone, as I find it to then have a better flavour. None of the filling was seeping out of the sides, nor bubbling up through the slits in the top of the pastry, and there had been no shrinkage during the heating process. There still wasn't any significant meat or pastry smell, and I settled down to eat.
The pastry crackled nicely as I slid my knife through it, and I tried a little piece off the corner just to begin with. Light, flaky and having a very good, almost buttery flavour, I declared the pastry delicious. Then, onto the big business - the filling!
Inside the pastry casing, was a smear of dull greyish-brown coloured mush, with just a tiny amount of miniscule chunks of tired-looking meat. The filling was so very sparse, that it's no wonder I couldn't smell it whilst it was cooking.
I scooped up a forkful of the gunge, and on moving towards my mouth, did notice a very slight meaty smell. Though this gunge did look decidedly unpleasant, it actually didn't taste bad at all, but the consistency of it felt like I had a mouthful of super glue.
As I continued eating the slice, I was enjoying the nice meaty flavour, and the taste of the pepper was strong. The gravy, though horribly gloopy, was rich and beefy. Though there is no mention of whole peppercorns in the ingredients list, I came across a few of them and as I crunched, they released a nice peppery hotness into my mouth, which blended with the pastry very well.
The miniscule pieces of meat were tender, tasty and completely free of all globs of fat and gristle, which for me was a bonus as in general I find the Wall's company is occasionally less careful than some other manufacturers are at removing these hideous things. There was quite a generous serving of onion, and overall, I was pleased with the taste of the whole thing - not the consistency though, nor the sparse portion of meat.
Despite having liked the overall flavour, I don't think I will be in too much of a hurry to buy Wall's Peppered Steak Slice again. I didn't feel the product was worth the money, even if it quite likely would be more than a few pence cheaper in one of the big supermarkets. Though quite tasty and the pastry being good, the quality of the filling is rather poor, with a sparse portion of meat and gravy that is unappetising to look at.
For me, the best part of the slice was the pastry - rich, flaky, light and golden, with a very good flavour.
All through the evening and well into the night, I had a strong black peppercorn after-taste in my mouth, and it kept repeating on me. That was no more or less than I expected, but it did go on for longer than I'd have liked.
I certainly wouldn't fancy eating this product cold, as Wall's recommend as an option.
Wall's Peppered Steak Slice isn't the very worst thing I've ever eaten in my life, but it's certainly nowhere near the best. The saving grace was in the overall flavour plus the lovely pastry, but the horrible appearance of the meat and the gloopy stuff inside has rendered it so that I'll either give this a miss in future, or try another brand and stick with that if it's nice and good value for money.
So, Wall's - sorry, you only earn 2 stars for this product. With a little more care in production and a more generous filling, maybe your score could creep up a couple more stars. The very high fat and calorie content makes eating something which falls below average on the quality scale, just not worth it.
Thanks for reading!