Jollibee's tater tots were created by a chef with Michelin-star experience. They were tasty and filled us up, but the meal deal wasn't cheap.

Jollibee's tater tots were created by a chef with Michelin-star experience. They were tasty and filled us up, but the meal deal wasn't cheap.
  • Jollibee, a Filipino fast-food chain, has teamed up with chef Whyte Rushen.

  • Rushen has experience working at a Michelin-starred restaurant in London.

  • Here's what we thought of his Jollibee tater tots, which cost about $5 a tub.

Filipino fast-food chain Jollibee is known as the McDonald's of the Philippines, and has gained a cult following globally for its sweet pasta dishes and fried chicken.

Jollibee restaurant opening April 1 in Scarborough.
Osorio/Toronto Star via Getty Images

Source: Insider

The company has plans to grow significantly in the US and Canada over the next five to seven years, opening 500 new locations. It has 69 stores there.

Customers dine inside a Jollibee restaurant on April 11, 2018 in Milan, Italy. Jollibee Food Corporation, a Filipino chain of fast food restaurants and the largest Asian food services company, has chosen Milan, home of the biggest Filipino community in Europe, to open its first European branch.
Emanuele Cremaschi / Getty Images

Source: Retail Dive

We went to test a brand new – but temporary – side dish on its UK menu: its $5 tater tots. The dish is only available at the Jollibee's in Leicester Square until the end of March.

Outside of Jollibee in Leicester Square London
Kate Duffy/Insider

Jollibee teamed up with chef Whyte Rushen to make the tater tots. He previously worked at the Michelin-starred Brat restaurant in London. Rushen told Insider that he became "obsessed" with Jollibee the first time he tried it last year.

Whyte Rushen eating Jolibee tater tots.
Whyte Rushen/Jolibee

"I loved the food, I posted about it on my Instagram and then they hit me up saying they loved what I do and the rest was history," he told Insider.

Filipino multinational chain of fast food, Jollibee, in Mong Kok, Hong Kong.
Miguel Candela/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Rushen said he was in and out of Jollibee's kitchens over a few months, developing the recipe for the tater tots dish, training staff, and tasting the food. On launch day, he was in the Leicester Square restaurant, he said.

A chef tossing tater tots in a bowl.
Whyte Rushen/Jolibee

The company advertises a meal deal including the tater tots with a spicy chicken sandwich and a drink. Jollibee would not confirm to Insider whether this side dish could become a permanent fixture on its menus in the future.

Jollibee's Whyte Rushen meal deal advert.
Kate Duffy/Insider

We were intrigued to try the tater tots out, especially as they resembled massive puffy Cheetos in the marketing pictures.

Jolibee tater tots with red background.
Whyte Rushen/Jolibee

We thought the Jolly Rushen Tater Tots were quite pricey for a side dish — one portion and a pot of sauce cost us £4.49, that's about $5.50. The dish is served with a smoked chilli burger sauce, and topped with crispy fried onions and spring onions.

Jollibee tater tots on order screen
Kate Duffy/Insider

The meal deal cost £10.49, around $13, and didn't include a drink. We found it was more expensive than other fast-food restaurants such as McDonald's, where large meal deals cost around £6 or $7, for example.

Order screen with meal deal Jollibee in Leicester Square London
Kate Duffy/Insider

Although ordering the food at Jollibee was quick and easy, we had to wait in line for around 30 minutes.

Collection point in Jollibee in Leicester Square London
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We were hungry by the time the food was ready, but were initially impressed with the portion size.

Collecting meal deal Jollibee in Leicester Square London
Kate Duffy/Insider

The tater tots looked more appetizing in real life, but there weren't as many in the tub as we expected. They were crispy and piping hot, and we thought the crunchy spring onions added enough sharpness.

Tater tots in tub at Jolibee.
Kate Duffy/Insider

The tater tots were tossed in hot honey and caramel. Rushen said the sweet flavors from the honey were a homage to the Philippines, where sweet flavors are often used in cooking.

A fork picking up a Jolibee tater tot.
Kate Duffy/Insider

Dipping the tater tot into the smoked chili burger sauce added to the delightful explosion of flavor. There were sweet, spicy, and tangy undertones in every bite.

Tater tots in sauce
Kate Duffy/Insider

Rushen said he decided on tater tots for Jollibee's menu because he didn't know of many other restaurants that served them. He said he gave the tots a "Filipino flare," by using these sweet and spicy flavors.

Spicy burger light on wall of Jolibee in London.
Kate Duffy/Insider

The meal deal came with Jollibee's "Legit Spicy" spicy chicken sandwich, which definitely lived up to its name. The burger, which came with two slices of fried chicken, was very hot but the sauce worked well with the crispy chicken and lettuce. Importantly, the burger-to-sauce ratio was spot on.

Jolibee food.
Kate Duffy/Insider

Despite us finding Jollibee's meal deal rather expensive, the tater tots were full of flavor, and the sauce complimented the dish. The burger was an afterthought as the tater tots stole the show; we hadn't tasted anything like them before.

Jollibee tray of food
Kate Duffy/Insider

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