Some nutrition companies have been pushing the boundaries of energy bar flavours lately. Pushing those boundaries hardest is Mule Bar with the Eastern Express, a curry flavoured energy bar.
I set aside my initial caution about the flavour and dug into the bar. The sweet and spicy flavour is not an assault on the tastebuds, but instead is actually very palatable. The savoury taste is a nice alternative to the often sick and sweetly taste of many energy bars.
The Eastern Express energy bar lists in its ingredients rice syrup, pistachios, almonds, cashews, pumpkin seeds and the spicy flavour is contributed by the garam masala, cayenne pepper and nigella seeds.
It's an intriguing choice of ingredients that works really rather well. It's more divisive on the taste buds than some of Mule Bar's other flavours. Some who tried it really liked it or instantly hated it. Some, myself included, found it a grower that initially tickled the taste buds but after a few bars proved to be quite satisfying.
Unlike some energy bars that are smooth and soft, the Eastern Express is a bit crunchier and you get occasional chunks of nuts that can make eating and digesting the bar a little more challenging. It definitely needs to be washed down with water afterwards.
It's most certainly not an energy bar for those moments when you need to quickly stuff some nutrition down you, but for slower and steadier rides, like cycle touring or Audax, when you stop and take time to eat, it proved just fine.
In terms of nutritional value, each 56g bar provides 265 calories, 22.5g of carbohydrates and 7.1g of protein, figures that ensure it compares favourably with other energy bars.
Also worthy of mention is that fact it's made in the UK and the wrapper is compostable, something Mule Bar has been doing for a number of years, to help minimise the environmental impact.
A five pack costs £7.99, a box of 12 is £19 and a box of 24 is £38.
Somewhat challenging taste; packed with energy, but not the easiest to digest at speed
road.cc test report
Make and model: Mule Bar Eastern Express Energy Bar
Size tested: Spicy Mix with Pistachio
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
When your taste buds need something new, savoury and interesting, make sure you have this savoury MuleBar energy bar in your sports nutrition arsenal.
MuleBar is totally natural and tasty ENERGY.
Making a truly tasty savoury energy bar has been a long held ambition of ours here at MuleBar. We are all savoury food aficionados.
This energy bar has been made with both a sweet and a savoury side; your brain's energy receptors register the sweetness whilst your tastebuds acknowledge the spices.
It is the perfect combination for people who are tired of over-sweet bars and who crave something new.
Let our Eastern Express MuleBar take you on your own adventure. An east-meets-west marriage of savoury and sweet, spice and intrigue.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Crammed with tasty pistachios, almonds, cashews & pumpkin seeds
* Contains a pinch of Garam Masala, salt, cayenne pepper & nigella seeds
* Compostable wrapper
* Vegetarian Society approved
* Vegan society registered
* 265kcal per 56g
* Available in quantities of 5, 12, 24 or 48
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Keeps you going on long rides.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Nice savoury taste is a change from the often very sweet energy bars, but not everyone will like it.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Quite chunky and can't be eaten fast or when in a hurry.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
Surprisingly tasty energy bar but won't be for everyone
About the tester
Age: 31 Height: 180 Weight: 67
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, mtb,
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.