Do you have an aversion to the mass produced and prefer hand churned artisan butter? Or perhaps, do you enjoy the mechanical precision of uniform squares of chocolate? Or do you instead reserve your judgement, by turns dissing some and extolling others?
I am someone of the third type, trying to give (at least food) a fair chance.
So the name “The Mac Factory” tickled my curiosity as it did not hide mechanisation of the pasta extruding process. Instead, its name (and logo) celebrated it (along with Lady Liberty). I wondered if this would be a demonstration of man and machine working together to produce something great. To answer this, I had to utilise my talent. Being picky about food.
To comment first on the pasta, the combination of machinery and human touch created macaroni which was good. What’s best was that across all the dishes I tried, it was uniformly good. A mark of a steady operation.
Mambo Italiano, smoked pancetta, wild mushroom and garlic. Perhaps self-evidently, the things which surprised me the most about the Mac Factory was their macaroni. It was gently cooked al dente in that way that good pasta is. Firm yet yielding enough to soak up sauces. With a mushroom, garlic and pancetta topping, this was a good start to the meal – crunch, meaty mushroom and heady spices all in one.
La Med Babe, pesto mac with semi dried tomato, baby mozzarella balls. Next was a more vegetarian option. The brilliant white of the mozzarella caught not only me but my camera off guard too. So I apologise for the slightly blown out photo. Slightly tart savoury tomatoes provided a good contrast to the meaty creaminess of the cheese.
Lobster Boy, lobster with garlic and parsley butter. With generous chunks of lobster, garlic and butter, this was unsurprisingly the best of the lot. I have always thought of lobster as a luxury food, even if the surge of Burger and Lobster looks to upset this status quo. Deliciously flaky lobster with tried and tested butter and garlic created something good.
Super Mario, sautéed mushrooms, garlic and white truffle oil. I would caution that sometimes just throwing money at a problem does not make it go away. In the same way that perhaps needlessly dousing all dishes in truffle isn’t always recommended. It was ok but somewhat overdone as sometimes dishes can stand by themselves.
Posh Spice, spicy chorizo, harissa and caramelised onion. The meaty was the last dish of the day. Full and fulfilling, this was a good weighty end to the pastas.
Chocolate fudge. So moving on to dessert, that is sadly not made in-house (more on this later). A few years ago, there was a bit of a cronut craze sweeping through the city. The mutant offspring of a croissant and a doughnut was very much in vogue. Almost as cute as other cross breeds such as Pomsky (Pommarian and Husky), Horgi (Husky and Corgi) and of course my person favourite, Schnoodle (Schnauser and Poodle). So when I first heard of “cronut”, I thought it sounded like some type of new cutting edge wheat product…
When I first tried one, I remember being jolted out of my usual nonchalant mood. It was surprising and despite its weird looks, tasted rather good with flaky pastry, thick filling and decadent topping. Sadly this specimen was limp and sad, a far cry from my previous experience. I guessed that this was perhaps because it had sat in the window waiting to lure a customer for the whole day. If it had had a touch of heat, it could have been so much more.
Salted caramel with pistachio. The cold salted caramel oozing out when you took a bite seemed kind of weird. It also seemed a bit stale like its sibling, could have been so much more… When I queried where these were from, I was informed proudly that the cronuts were brought in from a bakery elsewhere in London, Rinkoff. Perhaps that explains its lukewarm presentation.
It is at times like this that I am glad that I can overcome my initial prejudices. When friends heard that I was going to try out Mac and Cheese, much derision followed. I’m glad that I stuck to my guns and forged ahead in service to those looking for a good feed. This was an example of how man and machine can work together to make something better than each of them could alone. So come on, give it a chance. Just leave the cronuts alone.
A quiet eating 7/10.
We were invited to review. Average cost for a full size mac and cheese was GBP7 excluding drinks and service.
Debenhams Henrietta Place, Oxford St,
London W1C 1JG