As mentioned previously, I’m now working in Leicester during the week, and that means hotel stays and room service food. And a hotel brownie!
The nature of my job means I get to spend a lot of time in reasonably nice hotels when I’m on this kind of out-of-London assignment, and that means I have a fair few #opinions about hotel room service (and also hotels in general, and restaurant takeaways, but those are less relevant to this blog post). Brownies are a reasonably common dessert option for room service, probably because you can make them in bulk and then quickly microwave one for a minute and chuck sauce and icing sugar at it to gussy it up. This isn’t cynicism, by the way: I’m fully aware that this is what happens in room service much of the time. Neither am I complaining, because I don’t really want to have to wait around for my dinner to be made from scratch. Brownies are a sturdy and versatile dessert and are well-suited to this sort of thing; the trade-off, naturally, is that you’re unlikely to find the world’s best brownie on a room service tray.
This was my first stay in the Holiday Inn Leicester and do you know what, it’s not half bad. I’m up on the 8th floor with a pretty nice view of the city, the room is comfortable and everyone has been very friendly. I’m only slightly unnerved by the fact that every single member of staff insists on writing “Enjoy your stay!” or similar on every possible opportunity, before signing it and adding a smiley face. Even the revolving door in reception has had people scribbling it all over the glass! If I was in America I think I’d assume they were trying to passive-aggressively get me to tip them. On the other hand, if I was in America, I’d probably know because they’d give up on passive-aggressiveness pretty quickly and just shout at me.
For full disclosure, I ordered this brownie along with my actual dinner, and set up and took the photo of the brownie immediately before eating. Then I ate the brownie first (gasp! dessert first!) so as to enjoy it as close to serving as possible and give it the best chance in the scoreboards. And here’s what I thought of it!
Taste: Pretty damn good, rich and chocolatey. I’m impressed that I can tell the difference between the brownie taste and the chocolate sauce taste and yet both are good. 8/10
Texture: There’s molten chocolate chips in this, some sort of nut (I can’t find it on the menu and can’t work out what type of nut it is!), vanilla icecream and chocolate sauce, all of which does a pretty good job of hiding the fact that this is…actually a relatively average, slightly cakey brownie. Bless it, it really tries. I mean, I ate it happily still. 6/10
Presentation: Doesn’t it look darling? This is the sort of thing you can prepare if you’re serving straight out of an actual kitchen. I was a bit conflicted over giving the full five marks, but then I remembered that they put the ice cream in a separate pot, rather than dumping it on the brownie which always ruins everything. So 5/5
Value: £6 (I’m ignoring the room service tray charge). Tough one, because I don’t really expect any hotel brownies to be much cheaper than this, but also… hotel food is overpriced, and it’s not unfair to point this out to people. (Obviously it was free for me. That’s not relevant.) 5/10
Fudge Factor: There’s nuts in it, and I have no idea what sort! They’re a bit peanutty and a bit hazelnutty and a bit too bland to be either? The menu makes no mention of nuts in the brownie. Is this a bold assault on the conventions of brownie baking? Or a dangerous brush with death for a nut allergy sufferer? I don’t have a nut allergy, so I feel happy deciding it’s the former. 1/5
Final Points: 25
Should I Buy And Eat This Brownie?
I feel like if you’re in a hotel restaurant (or ordering room service) for work, you sort of know already if you want to order dessert or not. If you do, I won’t stop you. This brownie is pretty good. It’s gotta be at least as good as any of the other dessert options, for sure.
I’ve never yet had a satisfactory answer to this. Why is it that all restaurant steaks in Britain, except generally the very high-end, get served with tomatoes and flat mushrooms?