Those that know me will attest to this statement; I would take the burger before Heidi. I know, I need help…
Regular followers with nothing better in their lives to do will remember posts of past referring to the new up-start in the fast-food race here in New Zealand – Carl’s Jnr – when their ads were deemed irresponsible and degrading. Well, as one who finds it hard to let go of something, I will refer to that a little later on in this piece…
…so it was with saliva-dripping anticipation that I finally found myself with some time up my sleeve to sample their wares before flying back home, and I did so in the true heart of Auckland’s obesity population, Walking into the restaurant two things stood out; the cleanliness of the place, and how quiet it was. Sure, it was 2 in the afternoon, rather late for lunch, however if McDonald’s and KFC have shown me anything, fast food is a 24hr a day fix so Carl’s must be disappointed that their target demographic of he morbidly obese is falling short of the mark.
The young lady who greeted me and ultimately took my order was a pretty wee thing, however she never, ever, at any point, not in a million years, way off the mark, in fact the mark was but a blip on the distant horizon, look anything remotely close to the girls featured in the advert. She did however look considerably better looking, and in better condition than the majority of those, me included, eating there at that point. But then, that wouldn’t have been hard even for Roseanne Barr.
It seemed only fair that I wrap my laughing gear around the feature burger of the day, the Jim Beam ® Bourbon Burger, a montage of healthy greens and dairy produce slam dunked between patties, bacon, buns and a thick black sauce. Yep, looked like just the tonic to fix what ailed me. In a slip from my usual attention to detail, I fail to remember what the actual burger was called; there was a ‘single’ (yeah, right) and two other upsizes to the burger itself. It goes without saying that I risked life and limb to report to you effectively that I ordered the big bastard, of course, and also took a punt and went with the combo, a knowing nod from the girl telling me that there was no need to ask what size combo. I barely waited a nano-second before she pointed out that I was not required to stand there like a rabbit in the headlights as a number was thrust into my paw and was asked to sit down to wait for my meal to be brought to me…well buggar me! Not that I mind standing there checking out the hotties and judging the fatties, it was a somewhat surreal feeling being served hand and foot by someone who probably earns less than the cost of the burger each day…still, a nice touch Carl, don’t lose it. While on the staff, the other noticeable difference to everywhere was that the average weight of the staff looked to be well under my own weight. Whether this is company policy, or a lack of foresight on management (“never trust a skinny chef”) is not for me to speculate, but knowing that some lard-arsed, sweaty kid (think that Indian guy on the last Masterchef) is prepping my meal is not my ideal lead in to a feed.
The food was served to me by the same, smiling girl who took my order, her face not indicating what they had ‘done’ to my burger backstage, and as the picture shows the meal did look substantial. Shit, even the drink alone was a meal in itself, the only other instance (short of going to The States) I have had a non-alcoholic drink that size was the infamous ‘alfmeiseter vs. Wendy’s Quad’.
When compared to previously devoured burgers, this is The Mona Lisa….
To the keen observer the fries look interesting and immediately got my attention. Just like my dad used to make (“all the goodness is in the skin, son”) I couldn’t help but be drawn to them and I cannot remember a time where I had eaten anything before properly ‘laying everything out’ to savour before eating. More in a sec…
Opening the box, which was big enough to bury a dwarf in, the burger, while not touching the sides definitely was sizeable, however, like every other bastard food chain the harsh reality was very far removed from the theory. That said and done, as burgers go, it sort of looked like the ads, had the feel and weight of a quality burger, and showed no hint of off-color lettuce of soggy bun.
But, and many a woman is testament to this, what you see and what you expect can be entirely different things, and it was with hinge-attached jaw that folded back to take the first chomp into that Carl’s burger, with mixed results.
The burger is nice….not startling, not memorable as such, not inspiring, not ‘bring me more’, but good. The meat pattie was dry and tasteless with only the sauce providing any real indication that this was a meat burger. The buns were great, as were the obligatory fillings, but if one thing stood out, it was the layer of onion crisps piled on top. Now, if for nothing else you should try this burger. These are heaven-sent (and I’m an atheist), crunchy to the bite there can be nothing more satisfying to the palate than crispness, and as one chewed more and more, the burger became tasty, even fun to eat. Yep, first impressions last, but finer dissection lasts forever.
Alongside the burger sat those fries, beckoning me to relive my youth as dad used to deep fry skinned chips for dinner with homekill chops and sausages of every variety. There is a new king in town! I have never, and mean never, had better tasting fries than Carl’s. KFC, when they get it right (in the old days, when their salting was more than just a complimentary wave of the shaker) ruled, but Carl’s can make a living alone and have a determined following based on these fine morsels of taste. Get out there and order some…
It boggles the mind that I am still prepared to line my stomach with something that looks like an uncleaned ‘gutted hedgehog’…still…
Carl’s will be a contender if the lazy and habitual are prepared to change. For the same money as McD’s and BK’s combos, and cheaper than KFC’s, Carl’s have the beginnings of making a real fist of the burger experience…however, one swallow does a blow job not make, or something to that effect, and in the interest of all that is fair and equal I will allow myself to be dragged, kicking and screaming back into a restaurant to try again…and again, and no doubt again and again.
Thanks Carl’s, it was a pleasure…until next time.