Description: Eat says: “Creamy potato soup with chunks of potatoes and applewood smoked bacon. Garnished with a cheddar, chopped jalapenos and chives mix.” Mostly accurate.
Health: 336 calories, 16.2g of fat (and 7.5g of sat fats), 17g of protein, 7.9g of sugar and a full 2.1g of salt – again around 1/3 your daily intake. This is OK, but it’s not exactly winning prizes for Pret’s healthiest soup.
Taste: I never thought I would utter the phrase “too much bacon” but that’s sadly how I feel about this soup. What might have once been modestly crisp pieces of back bacon have taken on the texture of soggy toilet paper. The potatoes, rather than being blended through to create a thick, luxuriant soup, sit as sad, tiny spherical lumps (admittedly tasty, for potato), but just insufficient. It’s like drinking bacon stock with potato lumps, with a slight (welcome) chilli heat from the Jalapeno. The smell was overwhelming; the soup wasn’t off but caging ‘souped’ bacon in a pot delivers an overwhelming and somewhat unpleasant aroma. Wet meat smell.
Full-o-meter: The incredible salty flavour at least meant it was eaten quite slowly. But it doesn’t have the nutrional content to keep you going. More potatoes, or some source of fibre, might have helped.
Make it yourself?: There’s a reason we have ‘ham’ and pea soup when bacon, generically, is clearly a better meat. It just doesn’t work in soup. A ham, leek and potato variant – I’d try that at home!
Description: “Smoked bacon, green lentils, tomato, celery, onion, garlic, organic vegetable bouillon, parsley, basil, oregano and thyme.” Yep – essentially salty chunky tomato and lentil soup with a good amount of bacon in there for additional umami.
Health: 272 cals for the pot, but decent protein, low sat fat, OK fibre. Bad on salt, as you’d expect…
Taste: Moreish; good level of gentle spices, tasty bacon… maybe a little too salty. Pretty well headache inducing, actually.
Full-o-meter: Good. Good lentil/protein kick. Eaten with artisan roll, taking overall calorie count to about 440.
Verdict: 4/5. Oversaltiness lets it down, but would have it again nonetheless.
Description: From Eat: “Our version of an Italian classic – rich and creamy, with chicken, smoked bacon and a splash of white wine. Garnished with rice.” About right, although I’d question ‘rich’.
Health: Not great. 425 calories for 16oz, high on saturated fats and salt, low on fibre and protein.
Taste: Not that impressed. Given the nutritional content and description you’d expect something luxuriant and rich – but the thin soup with stingy bits of chicken and fatty pancetta don’t quite live up to the hype. Salty moreishness makes it more than edible, but the substance – isn’t really there.
Full-o-meter: Not great, as you’d imagine, given the description. Wonder if some grated cheddar or parmesan would have been a more sensible topping, and if they’d gone less heavy on water, milk and stock and more generously with meat and veg…
Verdict: 3/5. Tasty-ish, but not that substantial and really not that special by the standards I’ve become accustomed to. Not actively bad, though.
Many of you know I have a longstanding and abiding love of bacon. I don’t really believe there are (m)any things that aren’t improved by the addition of bacon. I even have a song about bacon, that I sing annually when hungover at Damo’s coast parties. It contains one word… you guessed it, it’s bacon. And so when Flashboy, sensitive to the strictures of the wedding diet I’m on, told me not to look at a link when he posted it on Twitter, I naturally ignored him.
100 ways to use a stick of bacon.
Yum. Thanks, Tom. That’s cheered me almost as much as the arrival of my Lex Luthor-esque wedding suit.