06 October, 2014

Angus McMate - Darwin, Australia - September 2014

The burger:box perspective is skewed, since this was served in a McMuffin box. It wasn't anywhere near that big.

I guess burgers aren't made-to-order at midnight.  Look at that dry patty!

Consumed on 27 September 2014
Location - McDonald's Darwin Central, Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia
Burger Price - $7.95AUD = ~$6.91USD
Calories - ~650kcal

The McMate Box I never had. Photo from - mynameisandii.tumblr.com
I first read about the McMate in back August, before I knew I was going to head down to Darwin in September.  I actually mentioned on my Twitter feed, that I wouldn't want to try the McMate even if I was in Australia because it was just so boring!  The McMate had an interesting history, it was McDonald's Australias first attempt at a 'crowdsourced' burger.  Lifehacker AU has a detailed writeup about how it came about - 15,859 Australians voted for their favourite toppings, and this burger was the result.  Unless the 'contest' was rigged by McD's AU PR agency to only use the toppings they had on hand/were cheap (which I don't count out) Australians, you must love boring toppings!  The McMate consisted of the standard McDonald's lettuce, cheese and tomato, but was also topped with a slice of bacon, grilled onions, BBQ sauce and Garlic Mayo...that's it!  Sure there are a decent number of toppings on the burger, but to me, nothing stood out as all that interesting, and hardly worth the huge marketing push they had, especially when the voting for this started back in May 2014. That's a big leadup for something so lacklustre.

During my initial hunt for the Sweet Potato Wedges, I did see the McMate on the menu when I visited the Darwin Central branch, and I truly did have sticker shock!  $7.95AUD for just the burger and I believe $10+ for the combo. I'm not sure what justifies the high price, when only a couple month ago The BrazilThe Argentina and The Australia were all $2-3AUD cheaper than this burger.  The single slice of bacon couldn't cost that much...

Although it also really does show you how expensive Singapore has become when their McDonald's is nearly the same as Australia.  Singapore recently surpassed Japan as being the most expensive McDonald's in Asia.  The new Japanese Halloween Burgers in Japan are 650JPY for a combo, or 370JPY alone, which are ~$1-4 cheaper than the recent re-release of the Samurai Burgers here in Singapore ($8-12SGD).(here my original review of the Samurai Burger from Malaysia, where it is still 1/4 the price of Singapore)

It probably was because we ordered this at midnight, and we also because we had to wait so long for our Sweet Potato Wedges to be cooked, but the beef patty was nearly ice cold.  It also wasn't anywhere near as juicy as the other 1/3 pound Angus burgers I've had from McDonald's Australia.  It actually didn't taste much different from a burger that I've had flown into Singapore and tried.  The BBQ sauce was the same that they used on the breakfast wraps, and they didn't put much of a cursory squirt on it. The Garlic Mayo, I have sneaking suspicion was the same Garlic "aioli" that they served along with the Sweet Potato Wedges, this was probably the best topping of the lot, as the creaminess offset some of the heavy flavours from the rest of the burger.  

Now you might be looking at that slice of bacon and think that it looks different from the streaky bacon strips you normally find at McDonald's, but that's the standard slice of bacon (known locally as a Rash) at McDonald's in Australia/New Zealand. I've had it once before on the Bakehouse Brekkie Roll, and it still had the same leaner taste that it has over 'standard' bacon, but due to having both BBQ sauce and Garlic Mayo on top of the thick beef patty, the taste was lost to the rest of the burger. I'm not totally sure why they didn't put one sauce on each bun, as spreading out the sauces would have allowed for a better balance. 

Oh yes...grilled onions, I think I'll have nightmares from those onions.  Comparing this to the Grand Twilight Burger which both my wife and I loved the grilled onions, these added nothing to the burger, and thankfully there were hardly any slices on there to being with.  Whereas the beef, and to some extent the bacon was dry and cold, the grilled onions were some of the oiliest onions I've ever had.  It's almost if instead of actually grilling the onions like they were supposed to, they stuck them in the deep fryer along with the fries, there was more oil than onion!  The more likely scenario was that since we ordered this at midnight, they were cooking in a day's worth of burger grease...perfect for the drunks, but terrible for us.  

Rating - 2/5