Big and beautiful -Introducing #TheSignatureCollection by McDonald's

As a big family we have long been fans of McDonald's for a treat or an in transit meal. For us it's one of the cheapest and most convenient places to get food and/or a drink when we are out and about.

You might have seen recent adverts reminding consumers that McDonald's uses British and Irish beef in their burgers and chicken breast in their nuggets-knowing this means I don't feel guilty about occasional trips to the Golden Arches. Haters gonna hate but we all love the food there.

My usual choice is a Big Mac (no cheese) or  the chicken and bacon wrap (no tomato) and we pretty much always choose a meal deal which appeals to my pocket.

However after tasting the latest offering from the global fast food giants I may have to swap my allegiance to one of the extra-special burgers from the new Signature Collection by McDonald's.

McDonald's #TheSignatureCollection The Classic burger

To digress, I have become something of a burger connoisseur since my older two lads moved to their own homes as the patty is their favourite dish of choice and they have taken me to sample "gourmet" burgers in a variety of independent restaurants near where they live.

Burger snobs might turn their noses up at a McDonald's burger  but I think the new Signature Collection goes a long way to build bridges between the production line patty and posh burgers with a price-tag to match.

This week McDonald's revealed the three new additions to their menu - The Classic, The BBQ and The Spicy, all made with 100% British and Irish beef in a thicker patty after extensive customer research about the perfect burger and a long development process by a team including chefs with experience from Michelin starred restaurants.

Without further ado I can reveal the new products are:

The Classic includes two rashers of Beechwood smoked bacon, a slice of natural cheddar cheese, wholegrain mustard maya, McDonald's ketchup, Batavia lettuce and fresh red onion in a brioche-style bun. Brioche style as the bun does not contain egg - one of the most common allergy triggers.

The BBQ oozes smoky and tangy BBQ sauce with crunch coming from chunky coleslaw, red onion and Batavia lettuce. There's also Beechwood smoked bacon in this bad boy, along with a slice of natural cheddar, again in the brioche-style bun.

The Spicy sees that thick patty nestling in Batavia lettuce with mayo and contains JalapeƱo slices, Pepper Jack cheese and a spicy relish, unique to McDonald's, all enclosed in the brioche-style bun.

#TheSignatureCollection new range from McDonald's UK

I loved The Classic which was robust and tasty with the flavour of seared beef coming through beautifully. My favourite was The BBQ but I am a fan of BBQ sauce on burgers - well on anything really!

The Spicy was probably the most moist of the burgers but I have zero tolerance for heat - my fellow tasters raved about it and pretty much unanimously voted it the best of the bunch. It's all down to personal taste.

I did my tasting without cheese, much to the dismay of one of the chefs attending the launch event who helped design the burgers. I felt the flavours were still complex and the burger worked well without the cheese. I've done the "no cheese" thing in other restaurants and found the resulting burger often lacks flavour, relying too heavily on the cheese, so well done McDonald's from this cheese hater!

Other plus points:

  • The packaging which is black and stylish with a cute paper envelope holding the burger inside the typical McDonald's clam-shaped cardboard box.
  • The price -around £4.69 for a sandwich and around £6.19 for a meal which is competitive by fast food joint standards, never mind "gourmet" burger restaurants.
  • The freshness. Each burger will be cooked to order. This should take about 6 minutes because of the thickness of the patty but will depend on how busy the restaurant is.

Downsides? Well the biggie for any true burger fan  is that the patty is cooked through - no pink meat allowed due to health and safety laws. This did mean the classic burger in particular was a tad drier than I would have liked but as the range settles in McDonald's hope to make it more customisable so you could add extra sauce. I am being fussy though and for a fast, low-priced option you really can't complain.

The other minus for now is that the range is only available in selected restaurants in the South and London, listed here: 

Ashton-under-Lyne, Barnet, Swiss Cottage, North Finchley, Hayes, Caxton Gibbet, Cambridge Circus – London, Colchester Stadium, Kettering, Northfield, Bedford, Royston, Ruislip, Barkingside London, Sleaford (Holdingham Roundabout), Bedford Interchange, Bow – Payne Road, Haringey, Luton George Street, Luton Leagrave, Luton Dunstable Road (December opening), Milton Keynes – Kingston, Milton Keynes, London Colney – The Bell, Welwyn Garden City, Wandsworth Drive-Thru, Balham, Woolwich – Church Street, Woolwich and Walthamstow. 

Luckily for me there are a few within reasonable range of home so if the craving strikes I can get my fix of Signature Collection burgers.

You'll notice I underlined "for now" as the plan is to roll the menu out across the country next summer when the Signature Collection becomes a permanent fixture in around 400 restaurants already refurbished as part of the ongoing "Experience of the Future" transformation programme.

In a bid to enhance customer's experience in the UK other possibilities in the pipeline include smartphone ordering and payment, interactive table tops and wireless device charging.

It all sounds very exciting so keep an eye out in your local McDonald's as they strive to keep pace in a very competitive market.

The Spciy burger from #TheSignatureCollection at McDonald's UK

Disclaimer: I was invited to a tasting session where I tried the Signature Range burgers free but have not been paid for this post. All views and opinions are honest and my own.