This month, it’s 40 years since McDonald’s opened its Woolwich branch – the UK’s first Maccy D’s. You know what that means, right? Yep: means that menu’s getting a bit old. So we decided to take to London’s Big Mac merchants to test out the largely US-based practice of menu hacking – where you tinker with an eaterie’s de rigeur dishes to devise cheaper, (sometimes) more delicious versions. Here, using modified versions of US classics and the odd one we’ve made up ourselves, is London’s first hacked McDonald’s menu.
1. Bacon and Egg McMuffin + Double Cheeseburger = The 10.35 (above)
The idea: Turn up at 10.35am in order to catch the brief window where the breakfast and normal menus overlap (hence the name). Stuff the patties from a Double Cheeseburger inside a Bacon and Egg McMuffin, and hey presto: you’ve got a stomach-bustingly substantial breakfast.
How is it? A tasty, eggy, cheesy beef-fest. Essentially the fast-food equivalent of the Power Rangers forming Megazord.
2. Chicken Mayo + Double Cheeseburger = The McChicken Gangbang
The idea: Separate a Double Cheeseburger. Pop a Chicken Mayo between the two patties and you have a three-tier, two-beast meat mountain that weighs in at 764 calories (although that’s still 55 fewer than the Big Tasty).
How is it? Great. The Chicken Mayo gives it crunch and the combo of two different meats gives it a flavour that’s deeper than anything you’d normally find in McDonald’s. Except, possibly, for the grease traps.
3. Double Cheeseburger + Big Mac sauce + lettuce = The Poor Man’s Big Mac
The idea: Order a Double Cheeseburger, but ask them to swap the ketchup and mustard for lettuce and Big Mac sauce. Bar the middle tier of bun, the resulting burger is identical to the Big Mac, and £1.40 cheaper.
How is it? Can be tricky to order – we initially wondered if the gawping staff had thought we’d said: ‘Please imitate a punched haddock.’ Also wasn’t as satisfying as the original, but hey: you can order two for nearly the same price
4. Toffee Sundae + single espresso = The McAffogato
The idea: We invented this take on the classic Italian dessert two days ago and it’s delighted at least two people since. Just pour coffee over ice cream.
How is it? Simultaneously bitter and sweet and hot and icy: it’s actually pretty good. It is also, admittedly, nearly double the price of a standard dessert, but we’re positioning it as a premium product. And telling the world that we invented it. So don’t even think about trying to pass it off as your own.
5. Hamburger + Fish Fingers Happy Meal = The non-shit Filet O Fish
The idea: Order a Hamburger, but ask for tartare sauce instead of ketchup and mustard. Take the fish fingers from your Happy Meal and pop ‘em into your burger, then voila: a Filet O Fish that comes with its own burger, plus fries and a drink for way cheaper than the separate components. Also our own invention.
How is it? Couldn’t be worse than a Filet O Fish now, could it? The only possible downside is lack of ability to drop ‘N****s In Paris’ references. Unless, like us, you just do it anyway.
6. Filet O Fish + McChicken Sandwich + Hamburger = The Land, Sea and Air Burger
The idea: Create a kind of burger menagerie by taking the patties from a Filet O Fish and a McChicken sandwich, then inserting them into a Hamburger.
How is it? Gross. An unholy trinity of clagginess. Dry, unnecessarily expensive and just plain wrong. You’ve heard of ‘Surf and turf’? This is more ‘Surf and urgh’.
7. One third strawberry milkshake + one third chocolate milkshake + one third vanilla milkshake = The Neapolitan Milkshake
Price: £1.59-£1.99 depending on size
The idea: Create a liquidy version of the classic neapolitan ice-cream by asking staff to pour three different layers of milkshake into one cup.
How is it? Initially a bit confusing – your eyes say chocolate, but your mouth says ‘imitation strawberry’ – but it’s actually pretty close to neapolitan ice-cream. Sadly though, mixing the flavours doesn’t do anything to resolve the classic problem with McD’s milkshakes: having to suck so hard your brain implodes.
8. Medium Coke + Toffee Sundae = Coke Float
The idea: Drink about a third of your drink, then scoop in half the Sundae. It’s an ice-cream float. You know the drill.
How is it? Good. It’s your standard ice-cream float, really. We tried a version where we scraped off the toffee sauce from the sundae and one where we didn’t. Oddly, it made no difference whatsoever.
9. Hot Apple Pie + Smarties McFlurry = The Pie McFlurry
The idea: Apple pie should always come with ice-cream. Snap one in half, dunk it into a McFlurry: job done.
How is it? You’ve got pie, you’ve got bits of chocolate, you’ve got ice-cream: what’s not to like? Also a handy solution to the tongue-melting peril that comes from McDonald’s apple pies being hotter than the centre of the Earth.
10. Chicken Nuggets Happy Meal + Garden Side Salad = The DIY Chicken Salad
The idea: A creation of our own, which involves adding the Happy Meal nuggets to a side salad. Boom: a chicken salad that’s great for the weight conscious as it’s 84 calories less than their standard crispy chicken salad. Also includes a (presumably diet) drink for only 9p more than the cost of the normal salad alone. And fries, which you won’t be eating, given all the calories (ahem).
How is it? Way nicer than the rubbery chicken you get in the grilled chicken salad. Less fancy than the crispy chicken salad (which chops up the Chicken Legend patty). We can’t say for certain if fans of McDonald’s salad will love it, but mainly because we don’t understand how such a person’s brain works. Or if they exist.
Why not try London’s 13 most indulgent dishes instead?