Thursday, 29 September 2011

KFC World Tour, Part 6: Australia

Departing from Christchurch in New Zealand, I made the 2,500 mile/3.5 hour journey west to Australia, the 6th largest country in the world. Over the month that followed, I travelled my way down the east coast and experienced the best of what Oz had to offer. Naturally, one of the experiences I was most excited about was sampling KFC down under. After tasting the delights of neighbouring New Zealand, I was keen to get stuck in!

During my journey in Australia, I visited several KFCs but unfortunately I was not able to document every single one (through lack of time, lack of camera and lack of long-term memory...too many schooners) but I made sure to visit KFC for one final blow-out meal before I left Sydney. As it happens, I was in Sydney over the festive period, and this meal made for one of the most delicious Christmas day lunches I've ever had. Many thanks to you, Colonel.

On a warm, sunny Christmas day (yes, it was quite strange!), I made my way down from my hostel to the KFC branch at 766 George Street. In stark contrast to the branch I reviewed in New Zealand, this Sydney branch sported modern, up-to-date decor and a split level kitchen/serving counter and seating area design. The key feature which stood out for me was an open plan entrance, leading out on to the street. With an open frontage, this KFC had a cosmopolitan street cafe/bistro feel - something I'd love to see in the UK but I fear our terrible weather would lay my dreams to rest.

On to the menu. At first glance, it was practically identical to that seen in New Zealand with Ultimate Burger meals, All Star box meals, and Tower Legends range (all very interesting).

I decided to treat myself (it was Christmas after all!) and ordered a selection of the finest items. My meal consisted of a Nacho Cheese Tower burger, fries, a side of mashed potato with gravy, some Kentucky Nuggets and a drink. One thing in particular to note here are the Kentucky Nuggets: according to the menu image, these little bite sized chunks of chicken look much like traditional chicken nuggets found at certain clown-based rival fast-food chains, but I was keen to see how they compared to their little and big siblings; Popcorn Chicken and the Mini Fillet.

First up, the burger. A subtle but effective change, the standard cheese slice had been replaced with a warm, oozing nacho cheese sauce, which when combined with the crunchy corn chip layer and salsa provided a satisfying spicy savoury flavour. However, the hash brown acted like a sponge and seemed to soak up the cheese sauce, resulting in a soggy mess. This could have been prevented by changing the stacking order, or simply eating the burger quicker! All in a all, a very welcome addition to the Tower line.

The Kentucky Nuggets appeared to have an Original Recipe coating, but on closer inspection and tasting, they were far more similar to the flavour of Popcorn Chicken. They also appeared to be constructed from chopped and formed chicken, much like Popcorn Chicken, rather than breast strips. Although the Kentucky Nuggets were good, I couldn't help but think I'd rather opt for Crispy Strips or Mini Fillets for the true Original Recipe experience.

Finally, a KFC staple: mash and gravy. I say staple, but for some reason the mash and gravy side has never arrived in the UK even though it is widely available in other territories. This makes me sad, because it was the highlight of my meal! The gravy was thick and creamy, the mashed potato smooth, light and fluffy and perfect for dipping. An excellent partner for a box meal, and if only it was available back home, mash and gravy would be my side of choice.

All good things must come to an end sadly, and my trip was no exception. The final leg of my journey saw me stopping off in Singapore for a few days before heading home. Stay tuned for my final post coming soon, where I will reveal the strange and wonderful findings of Singaporean KFC!

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