What is it? This might seem an odd inclusion but we were just so curious about the first ever McDonald’s Next in the world. Boasting a ‘real and fresh’ theme, it looked, on first sight, like a salad bar. Is McDonald’s venturing into the world of mindful eating? It’s expensive to eat nourishing food in this city and if good old Mickey D’s was throwing its economical offerings in the ring, we wanted to sample them. We appreciate what they have done with their McCafe menu, offering decent lattes for decent prices, so we were excited to see what Next would bring to the table.
The place: Serving the full regular and McCafe menus alongside their new CYT (create your taste) concept. They have some very cool self-ordering terminals that make the process quite fun and you get to take a homing device to your comfy booth or high table (both quite chic and un-fast-food-like) and then your CYT salad or burger gets brought to your table while you wait (for about a minute and a half-it’s still very fast).
The food: We set about crafting our CYT salad with a choice of three dressings in which we forgoed the balasamic and caesar for the appealing sounding roasted sesame, decided against adding the grilled chicken or crayfish egg mayo and instead went full veggie with grilled mushrooms, asparagus spears, cold cubes of sweet potato, sliced tomato, shaved parmesan and a quinoa cous cous mix. The crunchy long spears of asparagus were our favourite ingredient and only noteworthy part. The big wheels of tomato are a bit annoying in a salad and looked like they just came off the burger station, which for prep sake, is probably true. The curly fries were delivered in a hipster-style basket while my colleague’s curly fries, which were ordered from the regular menu, were served up in the usual paper cup and she had to collect them herself whereas mine were delivered straight to my smug expression.
Is it cheap? $111 for a salad meal with drink and curly fries, and we hadn’t even added meat. The menu says they start from $48, so perhaps if we had just stuck with the leaves we wouldn’t have been quite so disappointed.
Would we return? We’ve heard surprisingly good things about the build your own burger, so possibly, but not for salad. It didn’t taste good enough and wasn’t cheap enough to usurp other lunching options in Admiralty. Perhaps because we were (naively) looking forward to a healthy yet cheap meal, our expectations were too high. And it wasn’t without its plus points: it is good that McDonald’s is trying to expand into the healthy eating realm and give the people what their bodies’ want, but the value for money was the real factor that truly disappointed us. We would go as far as to say that rather than happy, it was a sad meal. If you have a friend that’s dying for a Big Mac but you’re trying to be good, you can buy yourself a costly, artificially artisinal-looking salad that’ll get some veggies in you instead of sitting in front of an empty tray; and that is a good thing, even if it’s not the great thing we were hoping for.
Shop 1-41, Admiralty Centre, Admiralty