Taste-Test: Lord Of The Fries Sydney

Melbourne’s beloved hot chips restaurant Lord Of The Fries has finally landed in Sydney. The new George Street store was giving away free fries yesterday, along with the usual selection of vegetarian fast food morsels. I stepped in line to find out what all the fuss is about... and ended up losing a tooth for my troubles.

Lord Of The Fries is a vegetarian fast food chain that specialises in freshly prepared french fries that come with a variety of sauces including satay, Belgian mayo and shredded cheese with hot gravy. The franchise has been a regular fixture in Melbourne since 2005, but hasn't expanded beyond Victoria -- until now.

I headed over to Lord Of The Fries' Sydney outlet at around 3pm and the queue was still pretty respectable at this time; unlike McDonald's free breakfast deal, it seems people were really keen to snap up a freebie.

One thing we noted while lining up was that the in-store menu does not provide any nutritional information. The word 'kilojoule' is conspicuously absent from the entire menu board.

Isn't this in direct violation of NSW's fast food laws? [Update: turns out this only applies to franchises with over 50 national stores.] I still feel this is dodgy when you consider Lord Of The Fries is pitching itself as a vegetarian restaurant -- some customers could conceivably be duped into thinking the food is actually good for them.

While it might sound like a healthy alternative to the likes of Hungry Jacks, Lord Of The Fries’ signature menu item is deep fried potato covered in a range of high-sugar sauces. Clearly this isn’t a path to weight-loss. (On the plus side, they use sunflower and cottonseed oil in their cooking but this doesn't make up for the nutritional informoation going AWOL).

Slightly perturbed by the lack of a kJ breakdown, I decided to opt for a Kid's Size fries, which actually turned out to be pretty mammoth. It comfortably dwarfed a large fries order from most fast food restaurants; which is just as well given the price tag.

My order came in at a fairly steep $5.95, which included Mexican chili salsa 'deluxe sauce' for $2.50. (To be fair, Lord Of The Fries also offers tomato sauce and vinegar free of charge.)

So how does it taste? Before I started tucking in I wasn't sure what to expect. I'd heard mixed reviews about these things, with some people slamming them as disgustingly greasy and others swearing they're the best chips in Australia.

Personally, I loved them. The chips are on the soft side but still have a pleasant crunch to them and while they are a bit oily, I wouldn't say this detracts from the flavour. I'm also a fan of Lord Of The Fries' decision to keep the potato skins on.

All in all, this is an excellent hot chip that comfortably trumps all major fast food rivals including McDonald's, Hungry Jacks and KFC. My only reservation would be the Mexican Chili Salsa which didn't have much of a bite (then again, my tolerance for spicy food is probably higher than most).

Indeed, the chips were so delicious that I inadvertently knocked my front tooth out while enjoying the meal. No really.

Regular Lifehacker readers will be familiar with my recent dental mishaps involving a loose tooth.

A dodgy gluing job at the dentist resulted in my tooth breaking off completely about halfway through the meal. Perhaps this was divine retribution for sneakily eating the fries in a Hungry Jack's Restaurant. (Lord Of The Fries does not provide seating for patrons.)

The tooth was sadly unsalvageable and I currently look like a filthy pirate. As I type this, I'm holed up at home waiting for my (new) dentist to construct a denture.

So in conclusion, I'm not sure the Lord Of The Fries meal was worth the $700 that a denture will cost me, but it was certainly very tasty. Once my tooth is fixed, I'll be sure to check out some of their vegetarian burger and hot dog offerings for a followup article.

Score: 8/10

The Lord Of The Fries Sydney store is located at 537 George Street which is a short walk from Town Hall Station.


Comments

    Lord of the fries only has one restaurant in NSW, which precludes them from being required to display the 'per Kilojoule ' labelling, just as any fish and chip, pizza or other small-scale fast food restaurant would be precluded.

    It took me 10 second to Google this: http://www.foodauthority.nsw.gov.au/news/media-releases/mr-30-Jan-11-fast-food-labelling-laws-to-commence/#.Ugw_85LYJ8E

    Perhaps before you broadcast your opinion you should conduct some journalistic due-diligence and get your facts straight.

    Also, since when has vegetarian food been synonymous with healthy eating? Did you survey people to find out if anyone was 'duped' by their 'dodgy' connection to vegetarian food?

    I give this article a 3/10.

      Lord of the Fries positions itself as a franchise. Just because it can legally get away with something doesn't mean it should. I stand by my comments.

        Just because Lord of the Fries isn't big enough to come under the law and is probably too small to make kilojoule testing economically viable, doesn't mean that they shouldn't have to obey Chris Jager's dictates!

        When it comes down to a choice between unfairly foisting a significant cost on a small business and accusing them of breaking laws they haven't broken, or Chris Jager admitting he made a mistake, Lifehacker stands for pigheadedness every single time!

        Mate it's not cheap to get that done. That's why the laws only apply to a certain size business. At least edit your original article now that you've been informed of what the law is by a reader who was kind enough to do the 10 seconds of research you were apparently too busy to do.

          Lord of the Fries has full nutritional info available on their website, and probably in store if you ask for it.

          makes most of your argument moot.

          http://www.lordofthefries.com.au/system/pdf/nutritionalinfo/1/lotf-nutrition.pdf

          Last edited 15/08/13 3:26 pm

            I retract that part of my argument without qualification. Thank you for pointing out my error beatsbynelly and through this, making me a better person!

            I think now knowing that they have this information, I agree with Jager's claim that as a matter of virtue it should be made available and clear at store. I think the article should be amended or annotated to reflect this much more powerful argument.

            Last edited 15/08/13 3:35 pm

              I agree with you for different reasons, they don't need to display it on their menu board. And additional info will just clutter up the store

              (of note, you can't actually get to the nutritional info from their web page, you have to google search for it)

              Last edited 16/08/13 11:33 am

                Yeah it's a balancing act. I remember the stores being very cramped as it is including the menus. Not sure about Sydney though.

      Wow have to say this is a bit harsh... I agree with Chris, I would have expected them to have the Kj ratings on the menu since they are franchise. The fact that they dont have to is irrelevant to me. I am seriously getting sick of people just slamming the articles, its FREE. Don't like it, don't come back.

        Just because something is free doesn't mean criticism is not valid. I charge nothing for advice and information that I give to many people and I always welcome criticism because I believe in what I'm doing and I believe in the truth.

        Lifehacker can say 'we are free we don't want to hear feedback' but what does that say about the quality of their site? Let's also not forget that Lifehacker is a business; just one that doesn't have a direct fee for service business model.

        The laws surrounding business size are there for a very good reason. That reason is the significant cost of having your products nutritionally quantified. Large businesses can absorb this cost because the cost per premise is lower than those with only one premise. Lord of the Fries currently has one premise in NSW and (two I think) premises in Victoria. When it reaches a size where it can be reasonably considered to absorb those costs without its prices becoming uncompetitive then the legal requirement will be triggered.

        Last edited 15/08/13 1:47 pm

          Not sure how you can argue we don't want to hear feedback when there's a comment form which you're using quite happily :) (BTW, there's at least half a dozen LOTFs outlets in Victoria, though from memory the KJ display rules don't apply there at all.)

            Thank you for confirming my argument Angus that Lifehacker indeed does want feedback.

            I also want to thank you for providing additional evidence for Chris' subsequent claim that Lord of the Fries should display nutritional information as a matter of virtue. I'm personally unfamiliar with the economics but this is additional evidence that Chris seemingly was unwilling to look for and provide in the aim of producing a quality article.

            Your post gives me hope that Lifehacker does have a commitment to quality and professionalism, and I think it has already improved this particular example significantly.

              What the hell is wrong with you? Does it make you feel better to just moan and complain on website forums about the quality of journalism that you are getting for free?

              The first thing you see on the LOTF info page is a whole page of them telling you about how much healthier their stuff is than everyone else's.
              Also, your idea that a business can't afford to have things nutritionally tested is garbage.
              It is a standard overhead cost of business for businesses with more than one store; and even smaller stores which like to be transparent about their food.

                The post you are replying to was not sarcastic, it was genuine. I can understand that it is reasonable to assume the post was sarcastic as genuine posts of that nature are not the norm on the internet.

                Regarding the cost of nutrition information the original position was that Jager should address his false claim. A subsequent position was that it was unreasonable to expect LotF to supply this information. I abandoned this position in another post when it was pointed out that LotF has that information. I am on record as supporting Jager's separate 'inclusion as virtue ethics' position.

                Regarding the health claims, as I have also said any specific claims would make an excellent article and an article that listed and commented on specific claims would be an article that had my support and respect.

                Regarding your substantive question, yes it does make me feel better to complain about the quality of journalism I get for free. Particularly when it is a service desired by the providers, as Angus made clear.

    I'm sorry, what?! "I stand by my comments"?

    You ask "Isn’t this in direct violation of NSW’s fast food laws?", somebody pulls you up with no, provides a link that provides clear evidence to the contrary, and castigates you for sloppy, non-fact-checked reporting , and you "stand by your comments"?

    Cop it on the chin, admit that you were wrong, learn something and move on. It's not a weakness to be wrong about something.

    Also, the place is called "Lord of the Fries". And it serves chips. Fried in oil. Anybody that is "duped" into thinking that it's going to be good for you is, frankly, an idiot. And I'm more than happy to be proven wrong on this if you can find some evidence to the contrary.

      I haven't seen them make any health claims about their food but if they have then that is a legit criticism and Chris should bring that evidence forward.

      However vegetarianism isn't just about health (which is a ridiculous claim that vegetarians can make), it's more often about ethical and environmental concerns.

        Well, their website certainly hints that its fries are healthier than others -- it proclaims them free of beef tallow and trans fatty acids and boasts they're cooked in high quality Sunflower and Cottonseed oil. They also claim that their burgers contain "virtually no fat".

          HA! Now that's some corny claims worth of an article!

      There are of course, varying levels of degrees as to which chips are 'healthy' for you. (Well, NONE are healthy but as to how UNhealthy they are).

      McDonalds ones for instance are soaked in glucose and sugar before they're packed and shipped, to get that golden crispy look to them.

      New York Fries when they were around in Brisbane in the early 2000s, just did straight up slicing, into the oil (sunflower oil) and cooked from there.

      I guess it's not a case about finding the 'healthy' chip, just the one that's less 'shit' for your system?

    On a side note, have you looked into implants instead of dentures to replace the tooth? I know they are significantly expensive but could make an interesting LH article.

    So are the burgers and hot dogs all vegetarian too? I'm more interested to find out how they taste.

      Yeah the burgers and hot dogs are all vegetarian as well, using "soy and textured soy protein" instead.

      http://www.lordofthefries.com.au/about/faq

    burgers and hotdogs are yum. Well they are in Melbourne at least. Everything is vegetarian, halal and kosher, they even have vegan and gluten free options.

    Chris, if you had the "sampler cup" (which I assume is what you meant by kids size?) it comes in at 592kJ (141Cal) with the Mexican sauce, which isn't bad at all. I looked up LOTF's nutritional info when I went down to Melbourne last time to see how it stacked up. It's actually not that bad: http://www.lordofthefries.com.au/system/pdf/nutritionalinfo/1/lotf-nutrition.pdf

      Surely not... Either he got a larger size, or their nutrition numbers are screwy. I mean, a large banana has about that many calories! That huge pile of chips in the photo looks more like 400+ (for comparison, a large chips from KFC has about 520).

        Or they gave him a bigger size by mistake? You are totally right about the look of the picture. He says it cost $5.95 including the sauce at $2.50. The sampler is $2.95 which would make the whole thing $5.45... but the next size up is $4.95 which would make it $7.45 total. I'm confused!

          Perhaps Chris should clarify what size he ordered.

    Burgers have "virtually no fat", eh? Now that is an ambit claim worth attacking. Particularly since their own nutritional info says that a single burger has anywhere between 7% to a massive 70% of the daily recommended fat intake. Virtually no fat? My arse! (Which, by the range given above, I now claim also to have virtually no fat).

    the stuff served might not be low fat/low joule, but it won't be full of all the fillers, animal fats, additives which are hard to pronounce, added sugars, flavours, etc, etc, which so many other 'fast foods' (which the additives turn into junk foods), are crammed with......and vegetarian does not mean necessarily mean 'healthy' as in low joule......and this type of fried food is usually reserved for the occasional 'treat', not everyday eating......think people, think!!!

    I would like to try their fries, so hard to get a good chip these days,they all taste like instant mash potato powder,they can keep their hippy bugers though.

    Firstly, bummer about the tooth... I'm in the same situation with bits and pieces that have seemingly worked well for 45+ years suddenly shitting themselves. Regarding the nutritional details, I reflect on the local fush and chup shop or hamburger joint - no information - the only difference here being that this establishment is very well marketed and in the eye of the media. The decision to venture into this style of food emporium is generally made through a deliberation with common sense. This stuff is fried - irrespective of the oil type (and quality), it's fried. If you'e lacking common sense and all of a sudden exclaim that the food discussed may not be very good for you then I suspect you've reached a paradoxical revelation in terms of a general understanding of where food comes from and how it's prepared. It's not steamed tofu, it's fried potato with lashings of toppings. Bloody fantastic in terms of a snack that is eaten with the realisation that you've probably consumed one third of your daily Kilojoule intake. Like all things in live (except for [insert evil food of choice here]), most people take realistic decisions regarding what they stuff into their gobs - it's fatty I know, but to hell with that, I'm still going the eat it.

    Just because its vegetarian doesn't mean it's healthy, just that there's no meat in their food. Chips are just as unhealthy as anything else when it comes to fast food...

    had no idea the burgers were all vegetarian only found out when i came back to my office and check out the FAQ

    The burgers are low in fat since they are vegan burgers.
    One of my favourite snacks to get if I'm hanging out in the Melbourne CBD is the (vegan) nuggets. They aren't chicken but they are delicious! You don't have to be vegetarian to like their food, they've done a good job of making their food tasty.

    Perhaps this was divine retribution for sneakily eating the fries in a Hungry Jack’s Restaurant

    Probably should've ducked across the road and eaten them at Grill'd - the packaging is kinda similar, so maybe karma wouldn't have spotted you.

    Sorry about the tooth, though.

    That nutritional information is completely outdated.
    Im from Melbourne; the menu has changed considerably since 2010; this is with regard to both portion size as well as ingredients.
    So long story short, the calories in that pdf (someone posted the link above) is not applicable anymore.
    I would be quite interested to see what the nutritional information is at now.

      Um, says who? This was sent directly from the company; seems very unlikely outdated info would be used. (I'll favour direct company comment over unsourced commenter any day.)

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