The fast food chain McDonald's is going upmarket, with the trial launch of a chicken burger served in sourdough-style bread bun, with black pepper mayonnaise and a hint of truffle.
The Crispy McFillet, already nicknamed the McPosh, went on sale on Wednesday in 41 restaurants in the UK and nine in Ireland.
The UK branches participating in the sales research are all located in the British midlands, mostly in Birmingham and Coventry, while in Ireland it is available in Cork city and county.
The Crispy McFillet’s “sourdough-style” bun is the first hint of its fancy notions, I discover when I hand over €5.20 for one in the Midleton branch.
When the box is opened, it reveals itself initially as a pleasingly fancy-looking bubble-topped and bronzed bread bun, reminiscent of a good artisan bake.
But that’s where the similarities end and why the word “style” is so important. Unlike real sourdough, made with only flour, water and salt, this bun has a long, long list of ingredients, including yeast as well as, in smaller quantities, starter cultures. There are sesame seeds sprinkled on top, but they’re standard on many McD’s burgers, so we won’t include them in the “posh” scale.
Inside, there’s a fairly standard-looking portion of fried chicken, some iceberg lettuce and a smear of mayonnaise. At first bite, the bun strikes me as being little different in taste or texture from the chain’s normal buns; it is soft, sweet and other wise tasteless.
The chicken makes a good attempt at looking like a normal breaded and fried chicken breast, but the ingredients analysis is interesting. This one has 58 per cent “chicken meat”, whereas the Homestyle Crispy Chicken burger from the same chain has 54 per cent “chicken breast meat”, despite the newcomer presenting itself as a “fillet” burger.
So far, so bland. Until you take a bite, that is. This burger packs a punch – a hot, peppery one that hung around, hammering my taste buds way, way longer than I’d hoped for.
The black pepper mayonnaise has both ground black pepper and coarse black pepper in the ingredients. Whatever the difference in the grind, there is a generous amount, and in a way it’s kind of a good thing because otherwise, without even a gherkin or a sprinkle of raw red onion, this would be a dull, dry burger indeed.
Perhaps to ramp up the luxe credentials, there is also a minuscule amount, 0.02%, of “natural truffle flavouring”, in the mayonnaise, but I couldn’t discern it. If you’re counting calories, the Crispy McFillet has 514 of them, as against 688 in the Homestyle Crispy Chicken burger, and 493 in a Big Mac, for comparison.
The burger bills its self as being a “Crispy McFillet”, so how does it score on the crunch-ometer? Fairly highly as it happens. Apart from the peppery heat, the main distinguishing feature of the McPosh patty is its texture, which is indeed crispy, as promised.
That's it, it's otherwise a fairly plain burger with little in the way of trimmings or add-ons. Definitely not worth a detour, as Michelin might say.
McDonald's branches in Ireland where you can buy the Crispy McFillet:
Douglas Village, Douglas, Cork
Mallow Road, Commons Road, Cork
Blackpool Shopping Centre, Cork
Musgrave Park, Ballyphehane, Cork
Unit F1 Mahon Point Shopping Centre, Cork
Winthrop Street, Cork
Patrick Street, Cork
Ballincollig, Co Cork
Midleton, Co Cork