Name: 4 Continents
Location: Boltro Road, Haywards Heath
Closing Time: 1am (result)
Price of Small Doner Kebab: £3.25 (price hike shocker)
(price correct at time of consumption)
The mighty Ephesus has always been the only kebab shop worth frequenting,
the one in Sussex road falling way below the reasonable expectations
of bab connoisseurs such as ourselves. We naturally greeted the
news of a new contender to the throne with much interest and mouth
watering anticipation. Could this be the new place to get our sumptuous
Turkish delicacies to take away, or was it merely a pretender, clearly
out of its league?
We have awarded Heath points TM in 4 main categories, Location
& Practicality; Service; Value for Money & Kebab Taste Test.
Grading is on a sliding scale with 0 being the poorest and 10 indicating
an Ephesus equivalent. For this test we have used an Ephesus small
doner with either chili sauce or mayonnaise as the scientific 'control'.
Location & Practicality
Situated on the site previously occupied by The Rose of Bengal,
the 4 Continents is based in a prime location for people who sit
in cars outside the b2, frequent the Burrell Arms or have just come
back from an evening's entertainment in either Brighton or London.
Cleverly, the proprietor has chosen to stay open until 1am, thus
picking up trade from South Central's ridiculous weekend rail timetable.
Compared to the 11:30 pm (ish) closing time and grueling hike up
Perrymount Road to Ephesus the 4 Continents is certainly favourable
if you are considering a snack when traveling on foot in a westerly
direction after hours. Failing that, they do deliver to your door,
which is an added bonus.
Mark: 9 Heathpoints TM - As good as
Ephesus, providing you happen to be coming from the bottom end of
town although you can order in if you're feeling lazy.
We visited the 4 Continents at prime-time, 11:30 pm on a Friday
night and in these early days were unsurprised to be the only ones
there. We responded to the warm and friendly welcome with an order
of 2 small doners, one with chili sauce and one with mayonnaise
(brand unknown). With a full hour and a half left until closing,
and right in the middle of kebab eating prime-time, we were dismayed
when informed that there wasn't enough doner meat for 2 kebabs,
not even pot meat. Reluctantly we settled for 1 chicken and 1 doner
kebab. Apart from this oversight, the service was acceptable and
we were politely invited to choose from a wide range of toppings.
Mark 6 Heathpoints TM - Ephesus would
never run out of meat at their busiest and most prosperous point
of the evening.
Value for Money
In the value for money stakes the 4 Continents made a slow start
with Ephesus ahead by a length at the third furlong. In short though
their extensive menu included the Shetland pony of babs, the doner
roll, the price for our takeaways came to £3.15 for a small
doner and £3.20 for a chicken kebab. As we dug deep into our
pockets for the correct denomination of currency the proprietor
informed us that the prices on the menu were not correct and he
proceeded to add an additional 10 pence to each of our kebabs! This
left a slightly sour taste in our mouth, which was a sign of things
Mark: 4 Heathpoints TM - More expensive
than Ephesus and an erratic pricing strategy leaves Ephesus the
bookies favourite and the 4 Continents a 25-1 long shot.
Kebab Taste Test
None of the above is worth a bean when compared to this category,
the taste test itself. The first problem encountered was the heat
life span of the kebab. After a 5-minute drive to my colleague's
flat the doner kebab was stone cold. Contrast this to an Ephesus
kebab, which has been known to travel from Haywards Heath to Crawley
(for research purposes only) and still be acceptably hot. On the
basis that, dear reader, your reviewer could not be arsed to deconstruct
his kebab and microwave the meat, the whole lot went in leading
to warm salad and the corruption of that most delicate contrast
twixt meat and greenery.
Biting into the kebab the warmth of the chili sauce was evident.
Strong yet restrained the piquancy of the sauce was, however, marred
by the overt presence of tomato leading to a distinct, and ultimately
tiresome, chili ketchup motif. The warm salad was fairly crisp and
chopped, which made consuming easier and cleaner, along with a soft
pita. However, we concluded that such a soft pita would have a low
resistance to grease likely leading to collapse.
The meat was rather curious, its true taste clearly masked by other
elements such as the chili ketchup. Pure doner meat tasted somewhat
undercooked and the last few pieces proved inconsumable for this
tester and the kebab was abandoned.
Mark: 3 Heathpoints TM - Cold to start
with, dodgy chili sauce and suspected undercooked meat, this doner
kebab was far from pleasurable.
Faring well in terms of location and practicality the 4 Continents
lets itself down in every other category, most importantly in the
taste test itself. Late opening times and a delivery service are
welcome features but not enough to force Ephesus to abdicate from
the doner throne.
Overall Mark - 4 Heathpoints TM
If you have experienced a kebab from the 4 Continents or anywhere
else in Haywards Heath (there are only 2 others we know of) then
why not mail us with your comments.
Finally I'd like to wish the 4 Continents every success in their
new venture, hopefully they will learn from their mistakes and improve
so that one day, they may be a worthy adversary to the King of Kebabs,
Ephesus. On the strength of the one kebab we sampled we will remain
loyal to Ephesus though maybe one day we'll return to see if things