Photo: Elizabeth Hait, AOL
With all the buzz around the new Burger King breakfast menu, we couldn't resist an invitation to attend a press taste test of the new menu items. Walking into Burger King Thursday morning, we saw blue tablecloths, actual silverware and waiters -- were we in the right place? It was clear that Burger King meant business about their new menu and that we were in for a treat.
Burger King has added nine new items to the breakfast menu. Some of those include blueberry biscuits, the Sausage, Egg and Cheese Croissan'wich, the BK Breakfast Bowl, a pancake platter and the BK Breakfast Ciabatta Club Sandwich. They're also brewing Seattle's Best coffee and have launched an advertising campaign that's very product focused and, according to North America Chief Marketing Officer Michael Kappitt, "The largest campaign in my time, which is eight years."
"I take my inspiration from a lot of different places," Corporate Chef Chef J. Sullivan told Slashfood when we asked what his inspiration was for coming up with these new items. "It's what's out there in our competitive set that we don't have. I eat out a lot -- I could go to your basic mom-and-pop place for breakfast or be in New York and hit up some of the top places and see what they're doing. I think what's most important when I'm building a product is to make sure it has relevance to our consumers. I always want to bring them something new and creative that tastes good."
So what's the chef's favorite item on the menu? "While I love the hash browns, I have to say my favorite item on the new menu is the BK Breakfast Bowl."
When we asked Michael Kappitt about their current breakfast menu, he said "As of right now, all of the items will still be available -- in fact, I really don't see anything going away in the near future."
We got to taste the coffee, as well as five out of the nine new items. Read on for our findings (with the caveat that this menu was prepared for the press and may or may not be representative of what you'll find at your local Burger King).
Four-Piece Mini Blueberry Biscuits
Nutritional Information: 390 calories, 15 grams fat, 830 mgs sodium
What's in it: Biscuits with blueberries served with a side of vanilla icing for dipping.
What we thought: These biscuits are overly sweet, even more when you dip them into the icing. However, the pastry itself was fresh, soft and flaky. There was no shortage of blueberries -- there were so many packed into each little bite, I would actually dare to say I experienced blueberry overload, which might also turn off the kiddies.
Sausage, Egg and Cheese Croissan'wich
Nutritional Information: 340 calories, 20 grams fat, 910 mgs sodium
What's in it: Sausage topped with egg and American cheese all on a croissant
What we thought: This was my favorite item on the menu. The croissant was soft and flaky, the sausage not too greasy and the eggs were fluffy and tasted fresh (a nice change from the rubbery mess we're used to at fast food establishments). However, after looking at the nutritional facts, it's easy to see why this sandwich tasted so good -- it's packed with fat and salt -- two of my favorite things.
BK Breakfast Bowl
Nutritional Information: 540 calories, 42 grams fat, 1,020 mgs sodium
What's in it: Roasted potatoes, grilled onions and peppers, scrambled eggs and sausage topped with a three-cheese blend and smoky cheese sauce.
What we thought: This seemed to be the crowd pleaser -- it was easily something I could see myself making on a Sunday morning. The eggs were fluffy and the dish had just the right amount of cheese. However, we could have used more peppers and hot sauce to kick it up a notch. While the menu said there was a "smoky cheese sauce" on top, we detected the sauce, just none of the smoke.
Nutritional Information: 670 calories, 34 grams fat, 1,010 mgs sodium
What's in it: Three pancakes served with butter, syrup and a sausage patty.
What we thought: While the inside of the pancakes were soft, the edges were hard. The corporate chef mentioned that we should detect hints of molasses and vanilla in the pancakes -- while I could not taste the molasses, the vanilla notes were strong -- possibly too strong. I personally do not like my pancakes that sweet, but they seemed to be a table pleaser. The breakfast sausage that accompanied the pancakes was seasoned perfectly with herbs and spices, but it was hard to get past the odd texture (almost rubbery). The platter became a success when you had one bite full of pancake plus sausage -- sugar was balanced with fat.
BK Breakfast Ciabatta Club Sandwich
Nutritional Information: 480 calories, 23 grams fat, 1,270 mgs sodium
What's in it: Eggs, fresh tomatoes, ham, bacon, American cheese and smoky tomato sauce on a toasted ciabatta bun made with whole grains.
What we thought: The biggest disappointed of the new menu, this sandwich just did not come together. The ham, which was sliced thin, had a chemical flavor to it, which overpowered the eggs and cheese. The bacon was sliced so thin that I never even tasted it. Due to the weight of the eggs and ham, the ciabatta bun couldn't stand up to all the ingredients. The bread was just too soft. The one positive thing about this sandwich was the tomato -- it was fresh and delicious.
Seattle's Best Coffee
Available in: Mocha, vanilla and regular
What we thought: Burger King hands down now serves the best coffee out of any fast food establishment. We tried both their regular and mocha versions, both hot and cold and we couldn't help but ask for seconds. No matter the season, this coffee will be giving Starbucks a run for its money (or maybe not, since Seattle's Best is a subsidiary of the coffee giant...).