Now, in previous editions of The Snackdown, we’ve established that McDonald’s, the arch-purveyors of cholesterol poisoning the world over are masters of doing fried things.
I mean, the only reason I can think of for its fries being the gold(en brown) standard of fries, and the benchmark against which all others are measured is black magic. Specifically, the sort that requires the blood of a firstborn child cruelly plucked from their mother’s arms.
Research conducted by scientists through the decades have proven it’s impossible for McDonald’s to produce this level of perfection with its fried foodstuffs, and more importantly, this level of consistency without making some sort of dark pact.
First, our dark lord and master Ronald McDonald turned his baleful gaze toward chicken.
And it was good.
Incredibly good. Enough to rival fried chicken from Lawson konbinis in Japan, which is widely acknowledged by the same scientists mentioned above as the best fast food fried chicken on the planet.
No, I’m not talking about McNuggets/McChicken, which is made with reconstituted chicken, the poultry equivalent of a Pringle potato chip.
This is the Good Stuff, that is a huge hunk of chicken thigh, crispy on the outside and moist on the inside. So good that biting into it too hard will cause a spurt of chicken juice to scald your neck.
So, with that in mind, it was with high hopes that I approached Ronald’s new Fish & Fries. It sounded like perfection in the making, a soothing balm to fill the Long John Silver’s-shaped void in our collective fast food hearts.
You don’t need me to tell you how far from grace LJS has fallen, which these days is more batter than fish. Like how Darth Vader is more machine than man, twisted and evil.
But there was a nagging feeling in the corner of my deranged mind. That voice was screaming at me to never eat seafood from a fast food place. The last time the big M tried to harness the bounty of the oceans for its own fell purposes with the Ebi Burger, it didn’t turn out so well.
It was less than whelming, even (this is an overwhelmingly bad play on words).
But fish, like us, are more forgiving. We soon tend to forget transgressions and are ready to start anew, as we are wont to doing with McDonald’s.
McDonald’s Fish & Fries, on the surface of things, quite literally, looks the business. Fried to a sort of golden brown, the sort of colour your skin becomes after a Mediterranean summer holiday, and perfectly crisp, yet airy.
A word of caution, though. If you come back from your Mediterranean holiday (fat chance, now with travel suspended until the Second Coming) crispy, I strongly advise you to seek medical help.
What actually entails once you bite into it, however, is a bit more disappointing. Not because the fish is bad. This is fast food fish, after all, so while essentially having as much flavour as a piece of paper, at least it isn’t fishy.
It’s decently springy as well, which is a valuable bonus. Not amazing by any stretch of the imagination, but seen in context, this might as well be gourmet standard fish. As long as fast food seafood doesn’t actually carry the perfume of the sea (and by that I mean the smell of effluent our beaches invariably all smell like), it’s good enough for me.
And if it’s good enough for the Snacktivist, it should be good enough for you too.
The disappointing bit is in the batter itself. Remember how I said it was almost too good to be true on the outside? It’s like finding out that perfect Tinder/Hinge/Bumble/Whateverthecoolkidsareusingthesedays date actually is a serial killer sort of disappointment.
The Fish part of McDonald’s Fish & Fries is crunchy on the outside, but floury and powdery on the inside. Which means to say the mouthfeel is less than desirable.
How could you do this to us, McDonald’s? You were supposed to bring balance to fast food, not leave it in darkness.
Ultimately though, McDonald’s Fish & Fries is a tale of two halves, as its name implies. The latter part is incredible, as you’d expect, but as for the former bit, well… it’s also a tale of two halves.
In that the first bit is good, the rest of it, not so much. A lot like life, really. It usually starts off great, then Adulting happens, and then it’s not so great.