Carl’s Jr has landed in Australia.
Surprisingly, the first Carl’s Jr store is not in Sydney but at where I live here in Central Coast. When the transformation started late last year at the former Red Rooster site in Bateau Bay, it was hard to miss the “coming soon” banners with big yellow star logo smiling right at you. It sure got all the coasties talking. When Carl’s Jr finally opened its door in February, the hype sure has worked its magic with hundreds of burger fans lined up to have their first taste of the burgers. Not to mention the first 50 customers get a year’s free burgers was pretty good catch too.
It has been 2 weeks since the opening and the crowd has definitely slowed down a little. So, to satisfy my curiosity, we decided to take a detour and find ourselves at Carl’s Jr for lunch.
We arrive at the restaurant around 11.30am and there is only a short queue at the counter. We are able to place our order swiftly and also given a table number as they will deliver the burgers to us when is ready. I believe the table service is to overcome the busy opening period and I am sure is not a common service at other Carl’s Jr chains.
As we sit and wait for our food, the queue starts to get longer with customers lining up to the front door; many come in and turn away after seeing such long queue.
First to arrive is our milkshakes. We order “burger and shake” combo which works out cheaper, then we also add a fries on the side to share. The milkshakes are milky and lack of flavours, each slurp comes with icy lumps of the ice cream that haven’t been whisked properly. And the more irony, one of their unique selling points of the ice cream is “hand scooped” – thank god they are not using feet.
The long wait for the food is inevitable and expected. To kill time, we sit at the table and naturally observing the decor and watching people munching down the burgers. I can’t help but finding the tall communal table at the centre of the dining room a distraction, my eyes are levelled at the height of everyone’s crotch! My appetite gone.
Our burgers finally arrive at the table thirty minutes later. Each burger is wrapped with grease proof paper and served in a plastic woven basket. I’ve ordered Super star with cheese burger which consists of two chargrilled beef patties topped with melted cheese, then loaded with tomatoes, onions, dill pickles, lettuce, mayo and their special sauce. My first impression as soon as I take the first bite is that the burger tasted very similar to the double whopper at Hungry Jack’s. A familiar taste from the chargrill but sadly the thin patties are little bit dry. The burger sure lived up to its cheeky “It’s gonna get messy” slogan; because mine falls apart half way through.
I take a bite of The Pom’s double western bacon cheeseburger which is definitely the better one between the two. The burger is smothered with tangy BBQ sauce which is extremely smokey, works exceptionally well with the crispy bacon strips and the beef patties. Even though the menu says it comes with onion rings, but we couldn’t detect any.
Last but not least, the chili cheese fries is an abomination. Underneath that layer of unmelted shredded mozzarella cheese is a bed of soft chips covered in a brown pool of mince sauce. It is a little difficult to swallow when the cheese is still in its original form out of a packet, and I was expecting a spicy red mince sauce with some heat kick; sadly the sauce isn’t hot but with a peculiar curry powder flavour. We only eat one third of it before feeling nausea.
Well, my curiosity was definitely satisfied, but the appetite wasn’t. I feel sorry for that guy who camped overnight for the grand opening.
Bateau Bay Square
Cnr Central Coast Hwy & Bay Village Road
Bateau Bay 2261