As I was growing up, the McDonald’s outlet at Marine Cove in East Coast Park – had held plenty of fond memories for me.
I remember it as an iconic meeting point with my friends whenever we gathered at East Coast Park for BBQs or bike rides. I recall celebrating many of my friends’ birthday parties there. I remember going there with my family on regular weekend outings. And I also remembered heading there to refuel with some cold, refreshing ice cream after my runs at East Coast Park.
Once, I even remember cycling together with a friend at East Coast park. We had been feeling hot and tired, so we decided to stop at McDonald’s and buy an ice cream cone on the way… but before we finished our ice cream, we hopped back onto our bikes… and continued cycling, while having our ice cream at the same time! I am still surprised at how we had managed to do this without dropping it all over our bikes.
So in 2012, when I heard that the Marine Cove McDonald’s had been scheduled to shut down for redevelopment purposes, I was quite sad. East Coast Park would never feel the same again without this iconic McDonald’s outlet.
McDonald’s is back in East Coast Park
But now, McDonald’s has returned to Marine Cove, East Coast Park. I admit that I had been elated to hear this news – and memories of the old McDonald’s there, had immediately come flooding back to me.
Opening its doors to the public tomorrow, on 2 July 2016, the new McDonald’s Marine Cove will be one of the largest McDonald’s stores in Singapore and will feature a unique look and feel, that will reflect its distinct beachside location. The restaurant will also offer a menu that reflects the evolving tastes and preferences in Singapore.
Marking a milestone in McDonald’s evolution in Singapore, the new outlet will feature a salad & a dessert bar, McDonald’s signature collection of premium burgers, soups and sandwiches, and family-friendly facilities such as wireless charging stations, a pram parking area and a shadow wall for kids to play with.
Said Robert Hunghanfoo, Managing Director of McDonald’s Singapore, “The opening of our restaurant at Marine Cove not only holds significant sentimental value for many Singaporean residents; it also presents us an opportunity to bring to market a unique offering of menu and ambience that reflects the evolving dining preferences of the Singapore population and we are focused on making delicious, feel-good moments easy for everyone.”
Invited to the new outlet
Last night, I had been invited to a food tasting session cum tour of the new Marine Cove McDonald’s outlet together with my dad – prior to its public opening. This began with a short speech by Robert, followed by a tour of the restaurant.
Stepping into the new McDonald’s outlet, I must admit that I had been quite impressed with the new look and feel of the restaurant. Two of its walls are entirely made of glass to allow in as much sunlight as possible during the daytime. And at nights, the lights would be dimmed down to create a more sophisticated mood and atmosphere.
Said Hunghanfoo, “This store may not be the same as the old Marine Cove outlet that closed in 2012, but we feel that we have captured the spirit of the McDonald’s brand strongly in the new outlet.”
He added, “We opted for this design for the Marine Cove outlet, because we had wanted to give our customers the feeling of airiness and open space. We also wanted a casual setting, so that people going to the beach will feel comfortable with coming in here.”
The McDonald’s Tour
Self ordering booth
For the tour, we were first taken through the facilities of the new McDonald’s outlet. Firstly we were shown how to use the self-ordering booth.
According to McDonald’s, customers had asked whether it had been possible to include an option to, for example, specially request for no tartar sauce in an order of filet ‘o’ fish. And this can already be done, by clicking onto the item on-screen and adding or subtracting ingredients of your choice.
We were then taken into the brand new kitchen and it was quite interesting to see for myself, how McDonald’s prepares fries and burgers. While I have always known that there is a system in place for doing so, actually seeing it for myself was quite eye-opening.
For example, I found out that the fries were prepared from frozen and placed into the fryer for precisely three minutes, before being poured onto the tray for serving.
Chiller & Freezer
After that, we had a look at the chiller and freezer areas. McDonald’s reiterates that they have a set temperature range to maintain here, in order to prevent any food from getting spoiled. The chiller is set to about 1 to 4 degrees C and the freezer is about minus 18 degrees C. Though it was bitterly cold and I could not sustain more than a few minutes inside the freezer, it was still quite interesting to see all the packaged food sitting in the chiller/freezer areas.
At McCafe, we also got to see how a McDonald’s barista prepares coffee. It was quite interesting – every barista at McDonald’s has to undergo several years of training before they are allowed to come and serve coffee to customers. We also had a close-up glimpse of McCafe’s salad bar area, where I got to see the wide range of ingredients available – these include your standard lettuce and and tomatoes to cheese, chicken and even crotons.
McDonald’s then took us through the dessert counter, where we sampled a few of their toppings, including the layered cake bits, crunchy cone and the peanut butter chocolate bars. This is one of the highlights of the Marine Cove outlet.
We also looked through a pair of Google Cardboard viewers for a virtual reality tour of the Marine Cove outlet. Though this was not my first time looking through such viewers, it had been nevertheless amazing to see.
The purpose of the Google Cardboard viewers are to allow customers to experience virtual reality in a simple and fun way, bringing them on a 360-degrees virtual tour so they can experience the unique offerings that are exclusive to the Marine Cove store. These viewers will also be available at 12 other McDonald’s outlets across Singapore too.
This is a rather cute innovation and will appeal to the kids and families. Here, shadows come to life. As customers walk past the Shadow Wall, their shadows will be transformed into McDonaldLand characters such as Grimace and Birdie. I was quite intrigued by the concept of it.
Wireless Charging Stations
As the name suggests, this provides a place for McDonald’s customers to charge their mobile devices say, after a long day at the beach.
This will allow young families to park their pram safely and with ease, and then get to enjoy the food and ambience at McDonald’s Marine Cove.
The Food Tasting
Following the tour, was the food tasting session – where we got the chance to try some of McDonald’s new and exclusive menu offerings.
These items are as follows.
There are three different salad choices available. Customers however, have the choice to further customise their salad, by choosing from a range of add-ons. These are priced at an additional $0.60 to $1.20 each depending on what you select – on top of your main salad, which are as follows.
- Asian Salad ($5.50) – Mixed salad greens tossed with cherry tomatoes, spiral pasta, corn kernels and red apple slices topped with roasted sesame dressing.
- Caesar Salad ($5.50) – Iceberg and romaine lettuce topped with chicken fajita strips, shaved parmesan, chicken, bacon bits, garlic croutons and Caesar dressing.
- Classic Green Salad ($3.90) – Iceberg and romaine lettuce, with corn and cherry tomatoes.
We tasted the Asian and the Caesar Salads.
For the Asian Salad, the ingredients mix in quite well together, but the roasted sesame dressing is a little on the salty side, even when mixed in together with the salad. The apple slices were a rather interesting addition and I would say that I enjoyed this sweet note to the salad.
The Caesar Salad items combined together quite nicely. Though the caesar dressing tasted quite strong, it was rather refreshing when it was mixed in with the salad and blends in quite well. My favourite part of this salad was probably the bacon though – it has a rather strong smoked flavour, which I really liked.
This is offered by the McCafe branch of McDonald’s. There are two types of soups.
- Mushroom Soup ($4.50)
- Broccoli Soup ($4.50)
I got to taste both soups. As I love mushroom, I would vote to have the the mushroom soup again. The portion that I had been served was creamy and satisfying, with plenty of mushroom bits inside the soup. I could also taste the mushroom flavour, though it could probably have been a tad stronger. I was impressed by the crotons which were really crunchy at the beginning, before slowly then dissolving into the soup.
However though, my dad had mentioned that he could not really detect much mushroom flavour in his soup portion.
For the broccoli soup, I could detect a slightly fishy taste in the first mouthful but strangely this soon disappeared with the second mouthful onwards. This soup was pretty creamy and the taste of the broccoli was not overpowering. I could see chopped up bits of broccoli though and the soup did have a slightly greenish hue to it to represent broccoli.
McDonald’s Marine Cove is offering a Signature Collection of premium burgers which are exclusive to this outlet only. These are:
- Classic Cheese ($8.95) – Angus beef patty sandwiched between delicate slices of creamy cheese. Complementing the party are juicy slices of tomatoes, sweet grilled onions and crispy smoked chicken bacon.
- Spicy Tortilla ($8.95) – Angus beef patty with melted cheese, and enhanced with creamy guacamole, crunchy tortilla chips, lettuce leaf and sweet & juicy slices of tomatoes and onions, and topped with a spicy fiery sauce.
- Spicy Chicken with Apple Slaw (6.95) – Chicken thigh meat topped with peppery rocket lettuce and creamy black pepper sauce. It is contrasted with sweetness from the apple slaw.
Said Hunghanfoo, “We had introduced the chicken burger, because we got feedback through our social media channels, that we have premium Angus beef but no top-grade chicken. Now we do have that – with apple sauce.”
We tasted the Classic Cheese and the Spicy Tortilla burgers.
I would say that I enjoyed the Classic Cheese burger. The Angus beef patty was satisfying – it was pretty well cooked, but it was not dry. The piece of cheese had been melted nicely onto the patty. And this was definitely a notch up from McDonald’s regular cheeseburgers. The bun was really soft too.
The sauce accompanying the burger, jalapeño sauce, was a bit on the spicy side – so those who like a little spicy kick in their food would like this.
The Spicy Tortilla burger however, was quite spicy. Even my dad, who usually enjoys his spicy food, had felt that the sauce was a bit too much for him in terms of the spice levels.
But other than that, this burger was quite lovely, with the guacamole adding a delicious creamy texture to the burger which I had found rather pleasant. It also went well with the semolina bun that was used.
Besides burgers, McDonald’s Marine Cove is also offering a range of sandwiches. These are as follows.
- Chicken Ham, White Cheddar Cheese, Egg and Wild Rocket ($5.90) – This is exclusive to the Marine Cove outlet.
- Cheesy Mushroom, Tomato and Onion on Ciabatta ($5.50) – This too, is exclusive to Marine Cove.
- Egg Mayo, Chicken ham and Spinach on light rye bread ($5.50)
- Chicken pesto, wild rocket and tomato on ciabatta bread ($6.70)
- Chicken ham, white cheddar and tomato sandwich ($5.90)
- Chicken mayo, white cheddar and spinach on light rye bread ($5.50)
This is one of the main highlights of the new Marine Cove outlet and diners get the chance to customise their favourite McDonald desserts. With 17 toppings to pick from, customers can put toppings such as Corn Flavoured Cereal, Rainbow Butter Bites and Chunky Potato Purple Sauce, onto their Classic McFlurry or Sundaes.
There are also a range of ready-made dessert options too. These are
- Belgian Liege Waffle with Avocado, Gula Melaka Syrup and Sundae ($6.50)
- Belgian Waffle with mixed berries and sundae ($6.50)
- Affogato ($4.00)
- Summer Delight ($5.50) – A chocolate dipped vanilla soft serve with corn flavoured cereal and mixed berries in a waffle bowl, this is exclusive to Marine Cove.
- Adventure in a Cone ($3.50) – A vanilla soft serve topped with coconut flakes and strawberry sauce. This is served on a chocolate waffle cone, and is exclusive to Marine Cove.
We tried the Belgium waffle with avocado and Gula Melaka syrup and the Summer Delight.
I really enjoyed the Summer Delight thanks to the extremely crunchy waffle bowl. The crispiness goes really well together with the melt-in-your-mouth Vanilla ice cream. I also thought that that the mixed berries added a sour note to the dish, making it not so sweet, and thus more palatable. The corn flavoured cereal, which is essentially Cornflakes, also added an extra layer of crunchiness to the yummy dessert.
For the Belgium waffle with avocado, Gula Melaka syrup and ice cream sundae, this was surprisingly pleasant too. The Gula Melaka syrup added some sweetness to the creamy ice cream and the creamy avocadoes also added an interesting note to it. The waffles were also fragrant and crunchy at the beginning, gradually getting soft as the ice cream melted on top of it.
As a whole, McDonald’s has done a rather impressive job with the Marine Cove outlet. As I run and cycle at East Coast Park often, I can see myself dropping by perhaps with friends, for dessert and drinks, or even to refuel with a burger after a hard exercise session.
It is a great addition to East Coast Park and a great place to create more new memories.
The McDonald’s Marine Cove outlet will be open from 6am – 12 midnight from Sunday to Thursday and on public holidays. On Fridays, Saturdays and the eve of public holidays, it will be open for 24 Hours.
The store will also be holding a public opening celebration tomorrow, on 2 July 2016. Find out more here.