26 November, 2014

Gracoro (グラコロ) Burger - Japan - November 2014

Purchased on 22 November 2014, at Tokyo Narita Airport, Narita, Japan
Consumed on 24 November 2014, in Singapore
Burger Price - ~380JPY = $3.22USD
Calories - ~406kcal

Last weekend a colleague of mine was transiting Tokyo Narita Airport and like previous times, I placed an order of new Japanese promo burgers to be flown in to Singapore.  The last time someone flew in a burger from Japan was on the launch day of the Garlic BLT Sandwich, but by the time I had arrived to work the next morning, the burger was already eaten by the maid 5 minutes before I arrived!  My colleagues have a wonderful time teasing me about this one, so I'm a bit more careful these days.  This time it had to survive the weekend, so I asked him to freeze it for me until I arrived on Monday.

The Gracoro first appeared in Japan in 1993, and although it hasn't been a yearly release, it has popped back on the menu every few years at the start of winter.  After a couple year hiatus, it last reappeared in 2012 and 2013.  Although I used to travel to Japan all the time when I lived in Korea, I never had the chance to try this burger, so I was glad to see it reappear 2 days before my colleague was going to fly through.  Gracoro, is a combination of Gratin, which appears in this burger as the creamy filling, and Croquette as the breadcrumb fried shell, which is actually surprisingly common in Japan.  I've also had a pretty poor attempt at a Potato Croquette here in Singapore in 2013, thankfully this was a much better attempt.

I'll start with the sauce as that was the most difficult flavour to place, and I'm still not totally sure what it was.  It was like a non-sesame Tonkatsu sauce, but I'm certain that it wasn't, as a new Tonkatsu burger 2 weeks prior to this burger, which had a big marketing push around it's new Tonkatsu sauce, and this wasn't it. It wasn't overly salty, and it did have a dry, smoky flavour.  I would have expected it to have been sweeter, but it was still surprisingly nice, even after being frozen.  Apart from the sauce, the only other topping on the burger was a bed of cabbage.  For those that are interested, cabbage holds up much better being flown in, and frozen than lettuce does. 

The real, meat, (pun intended) of this burger lies in its patty.  As mentioned, the patty is a breadcrumb covered, croquette style. The filling of the patty was a combination of shrimp and macaroni of all things. The shrimp weren't whole shrimp like the resent Ebi Burgers that have appeared around Asia, but rather the same mince used on the regular menu Shrimp Burger in Japan.  It's been a very long time since I've had a minced shrimp burger (at least since 2009 when they were still in Korea), but I felt that the shimp flavour was a bit weak compared to the whole shrimp in the Ebi Burger.  I tried to get a decent photo of the macaroni in the patty, but nothing really turned out that well (see the terrible photo below).  Unfortunately any taste of the noodles was hidden by the 'creamy white sauce' that filled the majority of the patty.  I'm not sure if it was because mine wasn't fresh, but the sauce wasn't actually that 'creamy'.  That said, it didn't have a bad taste whatsoever, it certainly was creamy, but it was a bit on the floury side.  I would have preferred it to have had more potato in there, but it might have overpowered the other ingredients. 

Like most Japanese McDonald's promos, this was a pretty tasty burger, that's why Japan is constantly one of my favourite places to have McDonald's.  The individual flavours of this burger on their own were decent enough, but all together they weren't excellent, something was missing.  But thankfully my colleague not only brought me the standard Gracoro burger, but he brought me the new Beef Demi-Glace variant..maybe that had what this was missing to give it a perfect score. Come back in a day or two for the review of that burger!

Rating - 4/5