Tuesday, 8 July 2008


a couple of examples of those basics you can usually rely on lidl to get right. bread. peanut butter. you could live on these. well, you might die of scurvy

mcennedy peanut butter (454g)

price: £0.79
how consumed: with bread

really, it's hard to make bad peanut butter - there's not much to go wrong (i've had it once: asda smart price. seemed to be made of bitter-tasting oily grit). its nutritious 25% protein/50% fat combo + added ease of use has made it a student staple forever (well, at least back when i was one). lidl's is pretty tasty - as good as most supermarket/branded ones you care to mention, if not quite up there with the poncy organic varieties. crunchy, by preference, for me, but they're both good

perfectly decent. 7½/10

malted grain bread (800g)

price: £0.75
how consumed: with peanut butter

standard granary loaf (without all the stuff like linseeds that you get in the premium ones) like in other supermarkets, but costs less. quite thin-cut, satisfying malty taste. works as toast, sandwiches, whatever. perhaps just a touch too dry. not much more to say, really: definitely a decent loaf of bread

good work. 7½/10

Thursday, 26 June 2008

the start

why lidl reviews?

many years ago, when the web was young, i knew a guy who had a tesco value homepage: a handy home-researched guide to the bargains and pitfalls of tesco's iconic cheapo range. i in fact emailed him at one point to tell him it was a work of genius

nowadays, we have blogs for this sort of thing. and we have better cheap grocery options than the decidedly shoddy tesco value. i refer, of course, to lidl. queen of all that is german and at a knock-down price. (well, ok, they're not the only one. but they're the one i'm doing). "but," you ask "aren't they a bit... you know, evil?". well, they may well be for all i know, but i've decided to stick my head firmly in the sand about that one. in any case, i suspect all supermarkets are at least moderately evil. but that's nothing compared to some corner shop owners i've known...

hard as it is to believe, not everything about lidl is unadulterated goodness at next to nothing. the rule of thumb is they're good at basic staples (meat, veg, pasta etc.) and things that germans like (lager, cakes, rye bread). anything fancier and you're into unknown territory

so i've started this in the spirit of that old tesco value homepage. comments and reviews welcome, of course (i'll add you in if you want to be a regular reviewer). that and to persuade lidl to use 'little by little' in a tv advertising campaign - i can imagine it as goods swipe through the checkout in time. though they may not like the implication that you'd shop there only if "the wheels of your life have slowly fallen off"

so let's begin.

valle central chilean chardonnay/sauv blanc

price: £3.49
how consumed: with some pasta, i think it was

i've a quest to find a lidl wine that isn't horrible. i feel there must be one along some time, despite multiple disappointments. overall with lidl, you're well advised to stick to beer (see 'things germans like') and avoid any other alcohol like the plague (some of it is like the plague). but you always think in this case, just this one time, i'll be lucky

well this one's equivalent to winning your pound back on a scratchcard. you can drink it. but it isn't in any way interesting. you'll tire of it pretty quickly

acceptable. 5/10

moordale minted lamb kebabs

price: £2.35
how consumed: grilled. with couscous & a few veg. sauces to taste

come on little wooden skewers. not the 'proper chunks of lamb' shish variety, but more appealing than the 'elephant's leg' doner. it's pretty much made from minced lamb + mint and a few spices. cooked nicely (if fattily - it is lamb). taste & texture were rather good. crispy, tasty and satisfying. would work wonders on a barbecue, i expect

right on the money. 9/10

melangerie guatemala-kenia-columbia coffee

price: £2.79 (for 2 packets)
how consumed: drip filter machine. black, no sugar

my first foray into lidl's ground coffee range - i went in at the bottom end. on first opening, smells ok. seems like it could be promising. the taste, though, thin & bitter with a strange citrusy afternote. somewhat like floor sweepings. i'll be going for the more expensive stuff in future. or, more likely, getting my coffee from sainsbury's

not very nice. 3½/10

cien magic deo roll-on

price: £0.55
how consumed: erm...

"right. need to pick up some deodorant. might as well just get some in here. how bad can it be?". very, very bad indeed is the answer. quick sniff: that one seems innocuous enough. but putting it on for real, oh
my god. the kind of artificial, 'chemicaly' fragrance that would have made even the spacedust-eating unsophisticates of the 1970s bin it. pungent wafts of it every time i moved. and i had to keep wearing it most of the day, before i got a chance to wash it off, all the time keeping my arms right down by my sides

absolutely vile. ½/10