Hong Kong’s “healthy” Maccy D’s – housing a swanky salad bar and serving burgers crammed with asparagus and sweet potato chunks within its quirky confines – has been hot on the lips of the world’s media since its opening last month.
Overwhelmed with fomo, Coconuts headed over the Admiralty McDonald’s Next to see if quinoa can really live alongside chicken nuggets.
Relatively tasteful décor
Forget garish life-sized clowns and luminous yellow interior – the architects behind this “edgy” eatery have naturally settled for a simplistic design. Think concrete tables and all-black booths, swanky mood lighting and minimalist menus. If you can get over the fact that this is still McDonald’s in essence, it fits rather well with the modern casual dining scene that plagues Hong Kong.
Somewhat more wholesome dining options
The semi-health conscious need not only visit Maccy D’s on their hangover days now. The “exotic” options of the “Create Your Taste” burgers and salads include the likes of grilled veggies, cous cous (so healthy they named it twice), guacamole and grilled pineapple – all at an extra cost, naturally. Essentially, diners are now able to leave McDonald’s without feeling like they’ve dunked their hearts into a deep fat fryer.
To cater for the desperate needs of Hong Kong’s device-dependent public, the designers of McDonald’s Next were even so kind as to provide plug stations at the high tables. Visitors may now eat in peace, assured that they can definitely continue posting to Instagram throughout the entire two minutes of the burger scoffing process.
On top of the minimalist décor, McDonald’s Next has gone all out with quirky touches to their presentation. Fries arrive in mini deep-fat-fryer-style baskets, burgers are served on wooden boards, salads are loaded into cardboard boxes, and drinks now come in see-through cups – an overwhelming (if rather overdone) change to the dining experience.
No doubt with the slightly less social of us in mind, the outlet has found a way to cut out all human interaction in the ordering process. Visitors can now create their custom burger or salad at one of the convenience kiosks dotted around the huge restaurant, and pay there and then by Octopus or credit card. Top tip: if the queues are hefty near the entrance, pop to the back of the store where there’s another cheeky stand that most people are too lazy to have found.
You pay for what you(‘re supposed to) get
All these wonderful additions come at a pretty hefty price, sadly. Those of us who relish the fact that McDonald’s is a HKD20 cure for myriad munchies will be saddened to hear that customisation costs over triple that. Salads start at HKD48, but as soon as you add stuff you actually want to eat, the price rockets. Expect to spend more like HKD70-80 on your next fast food excursion, as McDonald’s Next rises to the high-priced ranks of most other healthy Hong Kong eateries.
As you pile your order with exotic options galore, your expectations of gourmet dining amount. Unfortunately, the result is pretty underwhelming, especially at the price. Perhaps the foolish foodie reporter at Coconuts should have gone for the CYT burger option, as her salad left much to be desired. All that can be concluded is that Maccy D’s is still pretty crappy for the calorie conscious.
“Fast” food no more
Customisation is not only costly, but time-consuming. The speedy touch-screen kiosk service misleads hungry diners, who must then spend what feels like days (perhaps 10 minutes at a push) watching the service screens to no avail. Hong Kong’s McDonalds stores have never been known for their efficiency, but McDonald’s Next is something else…
IN A NUTSHELL…
If you’ve got dolla to splash, and time to waste, McDonald’s Next is definitely a pleasant place for a guilt-free fast-food binge. However, if you secretly love McDonald’s for its dirty cheapness, call yourself a traditionalist and head to an old store.