When it comes to food, Christmas parties can be a bit crap. While everybody obviously relishes the chance to drunkenly yell at their boss and do inadvisable things with a photocopier and their bottom, the standard selection of stale canapes and warm Prosecco isn’t usually worth writing home about.
However, every once in a while the opportunity arises to enjoy a festive celebration that’s less about office gossip and all about enjoying something delicious. While stuffing yourself isn’t necessarily the best way to leave a good impression with colleagues, it’s undeniably satisfying. This is one of the reasons why we decided to dispense with decorum and bury our faces in fried chicken at KFC’s “Bottomless Gravy Christmas Party”.
Unlike a typical fast-food trip, the Christmas Party was a proper event. Instead of grabbing a bucket and tearing off chunks of flesh and skin in a mad rush to finish before the end of a lunch break, guests were encouraged to sit down at carefully set tables. Colonel-themed crockery and crackers lay waiting. There were even knives, forks and napkins. It was as though KFC had been franchised by Downton's Carson.
Though the event was supposedly a celebration of the chain’s new “Festive Menu”, it was the added extras that really drew the eye. Most conspicuous was the massive keg of KFC’s signature sauce, embossed with the glorious slogan, “BOTTOMLESS GRAVY”. There was also a gospel choir who did their level best to bellow Destiny’s Child’s “8 Days of Christmas” over the happily chatting audience.
The frivolity continued with the food. On the menu was KFC’s new Festive Burger - a blend of signature fillet, hash brown, cheese and cranberry sauce. It had a zesty tang that helped cut through the heavy elements, making it easily one of the tastiest seasonal specials we’ve tried this year, though the experience may have been enhanced by the choir shrieking Christmas cheer in the background,
Also on offer were the slightly more surreal Festive Fries, which while certainly flavourful, had a smoky sweetness that could potentially put some people off. They were less like a chip and more akin to a potatoey mince pie. Still, given that we could drown them in an unlimited vat of hot gravy and garnish them with bites from a newly-arrived family chicken bucket, we weren’t exactly going to turn our nose up.
The only time the gravy didn’t come into its own was during dessert. Despite being given a vessel that looked more like Aladdin’s lamp than a practical gravy boat, it was impossible for even the most ardent fan to justify adding it to a Mint Choc Krush ’em. However, after drinking what felt like several litres of salty brown goodness over the course of dinner, the sweet relief of ice cream and was exactly what the doctor ordered.
Obviously, ordinary visits to KFC aren’t going to hold a candle to the Christmas party. Once you’ve had a team of singers yell Mariah Carey at you as you eat, the next time you tuck into a Zinger tower is probably going to feel a little less epic. But, as Jesus may have once said, Christmas should be a time for pushing the boat out. Whether or not that particular boat is overflowing with gravy is neither here nor there - ultimately it’s just a great excuse to do something a little different. With their Christmas menu and accompanying festivities, KFC are certainly doing their best to deliver on that ideal.