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I tried every item from Rootes Grocery Store’s hot food section and ranked them all

This can’t be too controversial… right?

Rootes Grocery Store. It’s a staple for every single Warwick student’s uni life; well known for having interesting prices and being a go to spot for anyone who wants a simple meal deal or a cheap snack (let’s hear it for the flapjacks).

On the days that I forget to pack a lunch (but also can’t afford to spend an arm and a leg on Pret sandwiches or at the gorgeously tempting food trucks), the Rootes Grocery store hot food section has become my safe haven. When it comes to their lunch options, I’ve truly tried them all, from the controversial potato dog to the humble sausage roll. After two plus years of munching Rootes lunches, it’s only right that I finally rank some of them. Starting from worst to best, in my own opinion:

Meatball Wrap – 1/10

I’m convinced I’m the only person who’s ever had one of these, and thank God for that. I bought it once when I couldn’t bring myself to spend even more on my go-to Pret meatball wrap, so I thought, why not give the Rootes version a try? Big mistake. From being paper thin and soggy to tasting more like ketchup rather than a rich tomato sauce, it just reminded me of Play-Doh a bit too much. I’m not even sure if they sell them anymore but if you ever see one of these, run.

Tomato, Mozzarella and Basil Bake – 3/10

I was honestly so excited to try this one. I was envisioning it to be an Italian dream – a golden crispy parcel, oozing with melted cheese and tomato sauce. The bake had so much potential. But unfortunately it did not live up to it – not even close. Everything was so dry and the filling was weirdly lumpy (it had a strange colour too – a marbling of basil green, light red and white). It also tasted of barely anything – a hard pass on this one.

Fiery Cheese Rosti Stick – 5/10

My opinion is going to be controversial because I know there are a lot of Rootes sausage roll fans. But it just isn’t that nice – it also makes my mouth dryer than the Sahara. Not to mention that its the flakiest thing ever (even flakier than that one guy in your group project) meaning it feels obnoxious to eat as you’re guaranteed to leave a trail of pastry crumbs behind you wherever you go. To be fair, it is one of the most affordable options given its size and, for £2, it does the job to stop your tummy rumbling in your 4pm seminar.

Steak Bake – 7.5/10

This is a decent and safe choice, and no one can argue with you for it. It’s hot, comforting and exactly what you expect. In terms of value for money, it definitely isn’t the best as it’s quite small – but if you’re craving a Gregg’s steak bake but are too lazy to walk to Cannon Park for it, this is a respectable alternative. Side note – the vegan one is equally as good!

Vegan Sausage Roll – 7.5/10

I can’t begin to explain how much better the vegan version is. In my opinion, the filling is actually a normal colour and I think it’s comparable with the Gregg’s original – in both flavour and texture. The only downside is that it’s a lot smaller than its non-veggie counterpart, so I’m still hungry after having one. It feels more like a snack, unless you’re willing to buy a couple or more (which I’m guessing no one is, unless you’re rich).

Twister Fries – 9/10

These are a crowd pleaser – I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like them. First of all, they’re a cool shape and it’s a truth universally acknowledged that everyone’s favourite type of fry is a curly one (I don’t make the rules). Secondly, they’re actually well seasoned. Added points for the fact that it’s easy to carry around campus and snack on whenever (trust me, they hit different as study fuel when you’re revising during exam season).

Potato Dog – 10/10

All hail the champion. The underdog of the Rootes hot food section. The potato dog. Hear me out, I know they sound weird. And on paper, it’s definitely a strange concept. The best way to describe it is that it’s a frankfurter covered by potato (that’s fluffy on the inside, delightfully crispy on the outside). All of my friends made fun of me incessantly for getting them in first year. But slowly but surely, I’ve converted them all into potato dog addicts. What can I say – they seem to satisfy all of my snack cravings, and they’re filling too. If you’re into Korean corn dogs, you’ll love these. Potato dogs are elite and I will love and stand by them forever.

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