The Perfect Fishfinger Sandwich Hunt: Three Wise Monkeys


Some time ago I said some pretty good things about Three Wise Monkeys in Colchester. I fear I won’t be repeating many of them here.
It isn’t an easy decision to reverse a recommendation but I can’t help feeling that TWM has overlooked quality for quantity and in expanding the menu this far have stretched their commitment too thinly. To paraphrase a recent Michelin starred twitter conversation- sometimes the trick with a menu is to know where to stop.
Recent visits have shown that TWM serve some mean brisket and a decent sausage, but also a bland, if crunchy, Po boy sub. I’ve eaten excellent ribs here and also ones resembling antique shoe leather in sauce. The hotwings these days are a sour and abrasive experience and this is not me being chilliphobic- I love a good hot sauce, they have just stopped serving one. The TWM onion rings surpass any others I have ever eaten (sorry Pops) and they probably run the best modern beer menu in and around Colchester. A satisfactory customer experience is so much more than a decent pint with a mediocre meal and their fish finger sub (not a sub, BTW) is consistent with the Po Boy and boot strap ribs.

One should certainly abbreviate to FFS.

Three points go out for the prescribed sides of well executed chips in a bucket, house slaw and the TWM standard tiny pile of tiny pickle slices as served on a tin-plate-tray thing. We want more pickles, dammit! A kilo jar of Mrs Elswood wouldn’t have saved the sandwich though. White bread that was either old or had sat under a too hot heat lamp for some time- it was positively dessicated and tasted only of its own powdery texture. Disappointing.
Inside the bun a reasonable smear of punchy tartare sauce, so they can still make a sauce and get a point for that. Expected salad addition of lettuce. Then, the fish fingers.
Life note- always fear a woman who takes a meaningful pause then says ‘wow’.
The fishfingers,  and the person who cooked them, can fuck off. It is entirely possible that they did actually fuck off to check their emails, take a smoke break and run a cheeky half marathon while the fishfingers were in the fryer. I’ve never seen anything like it, and I’ve lived in Scotland. Shrunken, blackened and over cooked to the point of requiring two hands to get a knife through one. The general taste impression of fine, fatty gravel with a soft inner layer that had separated into sad, compressed flakes of white something that sticks to your teeth.
Ghastly. Just bloody ghastly, and I paid nine quid for it. Thank God for the beer.
I should add at this point that my co diners spoke highly of the portobello mushroom burger and southern fried chicken sub but that somehow makes this Fishfinger Sandwich fail worse.
It is not hard to make a Fishfinger Sandwich. It’s ridiculously bloody easy to cook a fish finger and keep fresh bread available. I wasted more calories than I had to spare on that meal and as I sit here now I can’t quite belive I didn’t send it back. Call it my inner Britishness and national desire to not cause a scene. I might have mentioned the mass over cookery had anyone actually asked us how our meals were but the first floor staff have clearly learned it’s is better to just enquire if the punters are finished, rather than if they enjoyed everything.

Three and a half out of ten for the sides and tartare and I think that’s generous. Get it together,  TWM. It’s not like we don’t know you can do it better.


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