The fast-food chain McDonalds is moving upmarket, with the trial launch of a chicken burger served in a sourdough-style bun, with black pepper mayonnaise and a hint of truffle.
The Crispy McFillet, already dubbed the McPosh, went on sale Wednesday at 41 restaurants in the UK and nine in Ireland.
The UK branches participating in the sales research are all located in the UK Midlands, primarily in Birmingham and Coventry, while in Ireland they are available in the city and county of Cork.
The Crispy McFillet’s “sourdough” bun is the first hint of its fancy notions, I discover when I hand over €5.20 for one at the Midleton branch.
When the box is opened, it first reveals itself as a pleasingly whimsical bubbled and bronzed brioche, reminiscent of a good artisan bakery.
But that’s where the similarities end and why the word “style” is so important. Unlike real sourdough, which is made of only flour, water and salt, this bread roll contains a very long list of ingredients, including yeast as well as, in smaller quantities, lactic ferments. There are sesame seeds sprinkled on top, but these are standard on many McD’s burgers, so we won’t include them in the “fancy” scale.
Inside, there’s a fairly standard serving of fried chicken, iceberg lettuce, and a smear of mayonnaise. On first bite, the bun looks to me little different in taste or texture from the chain’s normal buns; it is soft, sweet and otherwise tasteless.
The chicken makes a good attempt to look like a normal breaded and fried chicken breast, but the ingredient analysis is interesting. This one is 58% ‘chicken meat’, while the same chain’s Homestyle Crispy Chicken burger is 54% ‘chicken breast meat’, although the newcomer bills itself as a ‘tenderloin’ burger.
So far, so bland. Until you take a bite, that is. This burger packs a punch – a hot, peppery one that lingered, pounding my taste buds for way longer than I’d hoped.
Black pepper mayonnaise has both ground black pepper and coarse black pepper in the ingredients. Whatever the difference in the grind, there’s a generous amount, and in a way that’s kind of a good thing because otherwise, without even a pickle or a pinch of raw red onion, it would be a lackluster burger and dry.
Perhaps to increase the luxury credentials, there is also a tiny amount, 0.02%, of “natural truffle flavor”, in the mayonnaise, but I couldn’t discern it. If you count the calories, the Crispy McFillet has 514, compared to 688 in the Homestyle Crispy Chicken burger and 493 in a Big Mac, for comparison.
The burger advertises itself as a “Crispy McFillet”, so how does it rank on the crunch-ometer? Quite strongly indeed. Apart from the peppery heat, the main feature of the McPosh patty is its texture, which is indeed crispy, as promised.
That’s it, it’s otherwise a fairly simple burger with few toppings or additions. Definitely not worth the detour, as Michelin would say.
McDonalds branches in Ireland where you can buy Crispy McFillet:
Douglas Village, Douglas, Liege
Mallow Road, Commons Road, Cork
Blackpool Shopping Centre, Liege
Musgrave Park, Ballyphehane, Liege
Unit F1 Mahon Point Shopping Centre, Cork
Rue Winthrop, Liege
Rue Patrick, Liege
Ballincollig, County Cork
Midleton, County Cork