Pieno-Lleno: A Fruitier Than Expected Brownie

Brownie Basics

Pieno-Lleno is a restaurant in Southend which I’m certain used to say it was a Mexican-Italian fusion place, but apparently now it’s pure Mexican tradicional, even though it still sells pizza and pasta and the like. Anyway, they had a brownie on their dessert menu, to quote: “Gluten free sticky, dense, chocolate brownie with white and dark chocolate drops”. Sounds great!

And then BAM raspberries.

Brownie Backstory

Look at that picture, and you may spot an additional ingredient which was not listed on the menu. Surprise, I guess?

Chocolate and raspberry are a common combination, and also unfortunately a combination that I’m not particularly fond of. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I dislike raspberries. For one thing, my feelings are really not that strong! On the other hand… ok, I don’t really like raspberries. I won’t turn my nose up at them if offered a punnet. I won’t throw away the two raspberry yoghurt in an eight-pack of mixed berry yoghurts. I’ve been known to enjoy raspberry-based desserts.

The problem is that, for me, a rough ranking of berries and berry-adjacent fruits by deliciousness, assuming you’re just eating the fruit and not some fruit product like jam, goes something like this:

  • cherries
  • grapes
  • strawberries
  • blueberries
  • blackberries
  • raspberries
  • almost anything else
  • cranberries

So it comes down to this: most of the time, I think that foods with raspberry would be improved by replacing the raspberry with something else. They’re a little too tart and bitter for my tastes, and I know that some people like that, but it’s not really for me. And on top of that – although there’s a world of possibilities and I’m not going to dismiss anything before I at least try to eat it – I’m a bit skeptical in general about fruit in a brownie (y’know, ignoring some disparaging remarks I may have once made while eating an Oreo brownie). There is, in fact, a coffee stand at the Southbank Food Market which does a raspberry brownie, and I’ve been putting it off for some time. I tell myself that it’s because there are still many other options, but really it’s at least partly because I can’t get excited about eating a raspberry brownie.

Well, this brownie’s here, and it has raspberries on it, so there’s not really much escaping it. I felt the need to explain where I was coming from, and so now hopefully you know that if you strongly disagree with my previously expressed raspberry opinions, you may want to use a larger pinch of salt than usual when you read my scores, particularly in the taste region. Otherwise, I hope you enjoy and trust this review as usual.

One more note on Pieno-Lleno: they do cheeseburgers wrapped in tortillas rather than in buns, and I think it’s such a great idea and wish it would take off in more places.

Brownie Points

Taste: The raspberries are actually somewhat dried out, which doesn’t really help their taste. The chocolate parts are better though! The overall taste is quite nice, even for someone like me who wasn’t grabbed by the raspberry part. 7/10

Texture: Soft, rich, overall pretty good, and particularly improved by the sauce. 8/10

Presentation: It looks fine, the berries do make it look interesting. Maybe a little too ‘drowned in sauce’. 3/5

Value: £6.10, and I’m starting to wonder if there’s a national conspiracy to peg brownies in restaurants at around the £6 mark. (Spoiler: there isn’t.) 6/10

Fudge Factor: It would be overly petty of me to mark the brownie down for surprise raspberries, so I won’t. On the other hand, I was promised white and dark chocolate drops, and they are not forthcoming and that is very disappointing. On the other other hand, burgers in tortillas. Maybe just a small minus point then. -1/5

The Berry Final Score: 23

Should I Buy And Eat This Brownie?

One more time for the cheap seats: you’ll probably enjoy this brownie quite a bit more than I did if you like raspberries quite a bit more than me. If that’s you, this’ll probably tip you into the ‘yes’ category.

I, for one, am going to buy and eat this brownie again at least once. Sort of. Well, you see, I’m sufficiently puzzled by the fact that the brownie that was delivered to me is so different both from the Deliveroo menu and the restaurant I’ve just now pulled up on the Pieno-Lleno website. As a result, I think I’m going to have to order from Pieno-Lleno again in the near future, and get the brownie, just to see. If it’s another raspberry brownie then I guess that the menu just is behind the times. If it’s not… well, then another blog post will be incoming!

Closing Thought

I’ve started posting these blog posts to Twitter in an attempt to build my #brand and engage in #social #media. And so far, it’s had the effect… of causing Twitter to start locking my account every other day. It seems like it must be related, but the locks aren’t happening when I post brownies, or even happening once for every time I post brownies. So far their customer support has been no good: ranging from “We think you are a machine, despite your human emails to us” to “Hey, your account isn’t locked right now, so no harm done I guess!” to “I know you asked us to fix the problem and not just unlock the account and call it a day, so… we’ve unlocked your account.” What the hell, Twitter? Sort your shit out!

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