The Grill'd Coat of Arms Burger
Grill'd Burgers has released a limited edition burger in honour of Australia Day. Available until 31 January, the burger is called the Coat of Arms and features all-Australian ingredients, including a meat pattie made from the two animals represented on the Commonwealth Coat of Arms, the kangaroo and emu.
We're far from the only nation that eats its national animal symbols - around the world, national symbols eaten include cows, marlin, zebras, camels, polar bears, armadillos, antelope and llamas. How do you feel about eating your national symbols? I wouldn't feel comfortable if they were endangered animals.
The strongest criticism is aimed at Grill'd's use of the national emblem, suggesting that the marketing campaign "demeans the coat of arms and ridicules it". The problem isn't in eating roo or emu - many Australians already do; it's in Grill'd's brazen invitation to hungry Australians to "eat their national emblem" in the form of a burger named after and promoted via an altered version of that emblem. It's a patriotic but cheeky call to action and not surprisingly, not everyone approves - although many would admit such irreverence is typically Australian.
Grill'd's no stranger to controversy. I believe Grill'd's marketing strategies seek to generate buzz with provocative campaigns designed to get people talking, presumably driven by the belief that ultimately, their burgers will have the last triumphant word. Last year, a marketing campaign saw posters in Grill'd stores proclaiming "No blogging, no tweeting, no instagramming, no facebooking, no cravats". It was a risky campaign that amused as well as offended; some bloggers were outraged, and Grill'd responded by suggesting critics of the campaign "didn't get our sense of humour". But it succeeded in getting people talking about Grill'd, and the social media storm didn't last long.
So what does the Coat of Arms burger taste like?
It's pretty good.
The burger is made from home-grown produce and native ingredients. The caramelised onions have a very strong flavour on their own and it took me a few bites to get past their sweetness. There's a lot, possibly too much going on within that burger bun. The kangemu pattie, made from farmed meat, is very lean, with just 1% fat. It's drier than your average beef burger pattie, but the bush tomato relish, native thyme mayo, pickled beetroot and the soft, creamy Meredith Dairy goat cheese add moisture. The quandong is a tart native wild peach that's high in vitamin C, supplied by Outback Pride, a South Australian company that works with traditional Aboriginal communities to grow bush foods around Australia. Outback Pride supplies native foods to some of Australia's top restaurants including Marque and Quay, and Rockpool Bar & Grill in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth. The least exciting items are placed right at the bottom - lettuce and tomato, also locally grown.
It's hefty, fully loaded burger, held together with a bamboo skewer. It's a challenge to get the whole thing in your mouth for a decent bite and not squeeze everything out the other end in the process. It's sloppy and saucy and messy eaters would benefit from a poncho (Jac, I'm looking at you!). You need to get down low and lean in close or risk wearing it on your shirtfront or lap. Interestingly, the Coat of Arms burger was 9 months in the making - an impressive commitment to produce a burger that's only available for a couple of weeks.
For adventurous eaters who love to try new ingredients and flavours, it's a unique burger worth trying. If you've got a burger craving you need to satisfy, a classic, more familiar burger may be a better choice.
Grill'd Coat of Arms burger
- Available until 31 January 2013 only at one store per state/territory (NSW, VIC, QLD, ACT and WA).
- In Perth, you can only get it at Grill'd in Shafto Lane, Perth (401 Shafto Lane, corner of Murray St). See the list of Coat of Arms burger locations.
- There are only 50 Coat of Arms burgers per store per day.
- Price: AU$14.50.
Will you be trying a Coat of Arms burger? If you already have, what did you think of it?
And if you've eaten the coat of arms elsewhere, be it as a burger or another dish, feel free to share!
This coming weekend is the Australia Day long weekend, with a public holiday on Monday. There are two significant dates in January for me as an Australian. Australia Day, on 26 January, and 16 January - the anniversary of my family's arrival in Perth, Western Australia as new migrants. This year marks the 27th anniversary of the start of our new life.
When we arrived, we were three adults - my father, mother and grandmother; and four children - my two older sisters, my younger brother and me. I turned eleven that year.
27 years later, my family has grown smaller and bigger. My father and grandmother have passed away and there are now five children, all grown up. The fifth child, my younger sister, was 'made' in Malaysia but born in Australia. She and my other siblings are all married now, and my brother has three children of his own.
Especially at this time of year, I find myself thinking what my life would be like if we hadn't come to Australia. It's hard to imagine how different things might be. For me, Australia Day is a time to reflect on everything I'm grateful for, as well as enjoy and appreciate the great Australian long weekend.
TFP tasted the Coat of Arms burger as a guest of Grill'd Burgers. All opinions are my own.