Over the next few weeks, McDonald's is releasing an assortment of country-themed burgers and other menu items to coincide with the 2014 FIFA World Cup. The range kicks off with the "Brazil" beef burger and the "Australia" chicken burger. Do they perform a hat trick in your mouth, or has McDonald's scored a disastrous own goal? Read on for our verdict.
As part of a major FIFA World Cup sponsorship deal, McDonald's has launched a global menu featuring burgers, wraps and desserts "inspired" by the best participating nations. This includes Argentina, France, Spain, Brazil, Italy and er, Australia. You can check out the full promotional menu here.
The Brazil burger comprises a beef patty with beans, corn and capsicum topped with lettuce, carrot, mayonnaise and tomato salsa. (Curiously, it's called the Brazilian burger in other markets -- presumably, the change was made due to the Australian slang word "fur burger", which would have made this sound like a bald variant.)
The Australia burger consists of a crispy chicken patty, sweet chilli lime/creamy buffalo sauce and lettuce; none of which seems particularly Australian.
Both burgers also come with a specially designed "soccer ball" bun. For once, the resemblance isn't pure marketing guff -- my missus immediately picked up on the likeness despite having no knowledge of the Wold Cup tie-in.
Instead, I recruited the taste buds of my lovely wife to lessen the load a little. I plumped for the Brazilian, while she tackled the Aussie.
Here is her verdict:
I was really craving a Quarter Pounder last night but instead I got roped into trying the Australia Burger for this article. Thanks guys. My first question was "where's the beetroot"? Obviously they couldn't just rehash the McOz, which means we get chicken covered in chilli lime sauce and buffalo sauce instead. How exactly is that Aussie? On the first bite the sauce taste was strong and not pleasant but after a few more mouthfuls I started to enjoy it and the chicken was quite yummy (it's pretty much identical to those premium chicken burger patties). The look of the soccer ball bun is cool but I just didn't think it captured the taste of Australia. For a McDonald's burger it was slightly above average. I probably won't order it again.
As to the Brazil burger, it has a curious yet subtle taste that skirts a bit too close to bland. Despite this, I found the flavour to be pleasant. The bits of beans, corn and capsicum inside the patty didn't hugely improve the taste or texture; again the difference is subtle but not unpleasant.
One noteworthy thing about both the Brazil and Australia burgers is the lack of cheese -- which definitively contributes to the blandness. On the plus side, this does slightly lesson the nutritional damage: the Brazil burger and Australia burger boast 2410kJ and 2500kJ of energy, respectively.
They're still not the healthiest burger options on the menu, but you could certainly do worse. (The Mighty Angus burger packs in 2810kJ, for example.) That said, the soccer ball bun is significantly bigger than normal, so beware of carbs.
All in all, the Australia and Brazil burgers are pretty unimaginative efforts. If you're keen to try one, I'd go with the Brazil which at least offers a unique patty.