Food Review: The scent of truffles

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By Joseph L. Garcia, Reporter

WE never thought we’d see truffle-roasted chicken from a fast-casual brand, but here we are.

Last month, Kenny Rogers Roasters launched its Truffle Roasted Chicken, loaded with the promise of luxury from the strong-smelling and very expensive fungus. Delivery and transportation platform Grab partnered with the chain so the chicken could be brought to the home in splendor. According to a statement, if one orders an item from the Kenny Rogers Roasters’ Truffle Collection, the Grab rider will be dressed in gold, with a golden motorcycle.

When Kenny Rogers Roasters’ gave BusinessWorld a tasting earlier this month, sadly, we weren’t at home to witness the spectacle. The chicken, marinated in truffle extracts and drizzled with truffle oil, arrived in gold foil to drive the point home. It had the scent of truffle, yes; but it faded away quickly and the truffle taste had become a mere suggestion. The original taste from Kenny Rogers was very evident though, and it brought satisfaction still.

We would, however, recommend the Truffle Mac & Cheese (solo: P180; platter: P539). Perhaps the truffle oil clung better to cheese, because even if we served it cold and the pasta had gone mushy from staying in an insulated bag for a few hours, this had a richer truffle flavor and scent than the chicken itself.

The Truffle Roasted Chicken is available as combination meals. There’s the Truffle Roast Solo B plate (P300), with a quarter roast chicken, a choice of two side dishes, rice, and muffin; and the Truffle Roast Group Meal (P1,065) which includes a whole roast, four side dishes, four cups of rice, four muffins, and a 1.5 liter bottle of soda.

Frankly, we’d rather have the Chimichurri chicken back, which had been available on a limited-time promo. That recipe could stand up to those from more expensive restaurants, and at least according to a release earlier this year, that promotion helped farmers.

In January, Kenny Rogers Roasters initiated the Farmvocacy campaign where every purchase of its best-selling Chimichurri Solo Plate offers support to local farmers. A portion of sales from every Chimichurri Solo Plate purchased via dine-in, takeout, and delivery, was donated to select local farmer groups. These non-government organizations (NGOs) included Tabang sa Dunong in Bicol, Vizcaya Fresh from Nueva Vizcaya, and Mapalad Ka from Mindoro. “The proceeds will be used in operational and processing section or infrastructure in the farms to ensure sustainability, better yields and land cultivation,” said a statement.

Kenny Rogers Roasters’ menu offerings are available for dine-in, takeout, or delivery through www.kennyrogersdelivery.com.ph, 8-555-9000, or via Grab Food and Food Panda.