You don't go to the airport for fine dining. It is true you can find a branch of Dank St. Depot at Sydney Airport and the Qantas Business Class Lounge isn't horrible but you should really lower your expectations just a tad for everything else. It is fast food after all. A number of the big franchises are represented in the food hall and includes... drum roll... Hungry Jacks.
Usually fast food from the big guys is adequate. There is a standard to which you expect and most of the time that standard is satisfied or sometimes even exceeded. And that is why I went to Hungry Jack's in the International Terminal at Sydney Airport. I ordered something simple - a cheeseburger. After waiting a few minutes I was handed a bag containing a cheeseburger wrapped in paper. As soon as I picked the cheeseburger out of the bag I knew it was cold. I had a WTF moment. The store was busy enough that there were no burgers queuing up on the counter. Apparently they were being made fresh to order. I saw my burger being handed through from the kitchen to the counter server who bagged it.
I opened the wrapping and poked the bun. Cold. I lifted the bun and felt the meat. Stone motherless cold. It even had that look that it had been cold for some time. You can tell when something has not been fresh made. As I said WTF?
I took it back to the girl who served me and I told her that the burger was cold. She took the burger back and handed it in to the kitchen. It looked like she said a few cranky words to the cook too. After a couple of minutes a bag was handed though from the kitchen to the girl that served me. She gave me the bag and apologised.
I walked away and opened the bag. The wrapping paper looked familiar. It looked in just about the same half arsed wrapped state I left it when I handed back my burger. It was the same burger I had handed back. This burger was hot though. Almost too hot to touch. All the kitchen had done was zapped the burger to within an inch of its life in a microwave. I'll be fucked if I will accept a re-heated burger.
I went back to the counter and spoke to the girl who had served me again "This burger is the same cold burger I gave you," I said. "I expected a fresh burger and not a microwaved crappy burger."
She looked at me blankly and said, "But it is hot. We heat it for you."
"Please give me a fresh burger," I said. She attempted to take back the burger I had but I said she could have that back when I got a fresh burger.
A few minutes later she returned with a new bag and I give her the old burger. I walked away again opening the bag. This burger seemed hotter than the last one. Unnaturally so. I opened the wrapping and the burger was steaming. The bun was soggy and had that freshly microwaved look and feel. Fuck this I thought.
I went back to the same girl at the counter and said, "This isn't a fresh burger either. It has been microwaved. It is crap. I wanted a fresh burger not microwaved crap."
She looked at me with a slightly surprised look and said "But this is this the way we do it. All the hamburgers are like this."
"In that case," I said, "I want my money back. I wanted a fresh burger and you are only going to give me microwaved crap so please give me my money back." All $2.70 of it. I know, I know, so much angst for so little money. It is a little embarrassing but there is a principle at stake here.
She had a quick word with one of her colleagues and then gave me my money. She still looked a little nonplussed though.
So there you have it. Apparently at the International Terminal at Sydney Airport Hungry Jack's serves microwaved, or, I should say they re-heat pre-prepared burgers. That is shit and I won't put up with it. Fuck 'em.
Oportos was the recipient of my money today. I had a Norm chicken fillet burger. And Mrs Fields for some delicious chocolate chip cookies. Hungry's can go [insert something appropriate here].
As an aside one of the better airport burgers I've ever had was a burger at Burger King at La Paz Airport in Bolivia. Then again it may have just been the altitude. La Paz Airport is at about 4100 metres. I might have been a little light headed and a turd sandwich may have tasted as good. ;-)