19 February, 2012

Panini - Tahiti, French Polynesia - February 2012

Consumed on 12 Feb 2012
Price - 890CPF (combo) = $9.80USD
Rating - 5/5

Packaging from New Zealand
Inside the Panini
The Panini, being promoted with Emmental

Other available unique items

McDonald's Tahiti does not have a website, but I assumed it would have had a similar menu to France, being a French colony and all.  I visited the central Papeete branch rather early on a Saturday morning.  They had a dual breakfast/limited-lunch menu being offered, with most people either having pancakes, or a Big Mac combo.  I tried to order the panini as a big poster was promoting it at the door, but I was told that was only served after breakfast hours.  Strange that people could order a Big Mac and fries at 9am, but a Panini was out of the question until after 11am...

I returned a few hours later to find the restaurant very very busy.  Even though prices are more than you'd expect in the west for fast food, they were still cheap for Polynesian standards. The standard soft serve ice cream cone was 140CFP (1.50USD), a standard McFlurry (toppings were sold as an add-on for 20CFP) was 290 CFP (3.20USD), and most of the combos were between 750-1050CFP (8.70-11.50USD).

It offered mostly a standard lunch/dinner menu, aside a few select pastry items, 'The Boss', which is also served in New Zealand, it's like a double quarter pounder and the new 'M' burger, which seemed to be like the Angus burgers available in the US, a standard burger but with a bigger beef patty.  The panini was the only thing which really stood out as unique so I gave it a go.  I had to wait for a few minutes, as I believe the sandwich was made and pressed to order.  When I received it on the tray was first underwhelmed.  I payed almost 10USD for the combo, and the panini looked pretty bad, but it was actually good, very high quality ingredients. The bread being a nice French roll, and the emmental cheese inside being deli sliced, rather than processed.  They were a little skimpy with the tomato, but what they lacked in veggies, the made up for with the amount of cheese and ham.  The amount of cheese alone made the sandwich filling enough for a meal.  When I was leaving Faa Airport a few days later, I noticed that the McD's branch at the airport offered Paninis, but also Club Sandwiches, and Rouleau Gourmand.  Uniquely, the downtown branch promoted their panini to be made with emmential, but the airport branch said theirs used brie.

I was hoping for something a little more interesting, but I'll take what I can get in locations like this.  I've never had much luck with McDonald's on Pacific Islands anyhow (my Guam and Saipan outings have all resulted in lacklustre items as well)