As some of you may already know, I am a big fan of the burger. In fact, I could almost go as far to say it’s my favourite food. Or rather, I enjoy it for the whole experience. The Burger, The Fries, The Drink, The Extras. These, along with The Setting and The Staff, are the points I measure how great “The Burger Experience” is, and I’m on the hunt to find the best burger experience in London!
I’ll admit it, my obsession with burgers only started three months ago. It started when I walked past the newly opened 5 Guys near Covent Garden. I sort of recognised 5 Guys because several of my Americans friends had been constantly raving about it. So it was as I passed 5 guys one Saturday lunch time, that I noticed the huge line waiting outside. I’m used to seeing lines for restuarents in London, especially on Fridays and Saturdays, but I had never seen a fast food joint with a line! I mean, people stood queued up waaay outside! I figured maybe my friends were onto something and this 5 Guys place wasn’t so bad. However I was still very critical and so, I decided that I would judge 5 guys with the same points I judge restaurants (not something I had ever done for McDonalds or Burger King)
I decided to enrol the help of my friend Andy, knowing that he is a big fan of burgers, on my trip to 5 Guys. As it happened, my tube was down the day we decided to go and I was 30 minutes late going on diversions to get into the centre. I also managed to miss the queuing which Andy so nicely did. I met him inside. Here are the results!
The Setting: 4/5 – 5 Guys was very busy, but the deco of white and red made the space seem bigger. It also had a distinctly American feel about it, which is actually a nice experience. The ordering process was interesting, because you chose either a hamburger or a cheeseburger, and then pick whatever else you want on it. This is great for people who are picky about their food, and don’t want pickles or something crazy like that. I personally love pickles and liked the fact I could also have jalapeños. I said no to the bacon (much to Andy’s horror) because I wanted to judge the burger without the interference of (delicious) bacon. We ordered the fries with salt and two refill cups each. Also I ordered the “Small hamburger” whilst Andy ordered the normal sized one.
The Staff: 3/5 – Whilst the girl at the till was very friendly and nice, staff in front of the counter sucked. The people manning the door seemed to have a really easy job, letting people in when there was space and making them wait if there wasn’t and yet they didn’t do a very good job and basically looked bored. They also were meant to be handing out menu flyers. Then, inside, there was a lot of mess. I understand it was very busy and as soon as one table left it was quickly taken up by another party. However there were drink spills here, peanuts there. I have no idea what the guy standing in the middle was meant to be doing. He just stood there looking around.
The Burger: 5/5 – For a fast food joint, and this is key, the burger was delicious. I’m not going to compare a burger from 5 guys to a burger from Hawksmoor because the two establishments cater to completely different audiences. In this sense then 5 guys Burger is great for it’s intended target. The meat was well seasoned and the patty a decent size. The fact it was “custom” made really made it special. I got a small one, which wasn’t really small, rather it only had one patty whilst the normal has two. Next time I might get the normal one though.
The Fries: 4/5 – Skin on fries are pretty hard to find in the UK as a norma thing. In London it’s easy I guess, but the rest of the UK it’s pretty much impossible. If 5 Guys expand, as I know they will, then I’m glad it’s going to be a bigger thing. The salt seasoning was good as well, but I hear the spice seasoning is better. They weren’t as crispy as I like fries to be though.
The Drink: 5/5 – Possibly my favourite part about the place. The machines were super cool, and I’m sure America has tons of them, but in the UK it’s a first. So you get your choice of all the normal soft drinks, Coke, Fanta, Sprite ect, but then you get to pick the flavour like vanilla or peach. Of course there’s the option for “Diet” whatever and the thing that won me over was Fanta still which they used to serve in McDonalds but was replaced by Oasis. I got the Fanta still Peach and it was delicious.
The Extras: 3/5 – Condiments were normal, straws ect, nothing special but nothing lacking either.
Overall decision: 24/30– Super high rating! Probably the best burger you can get for a fast food joint! Good service at the till, great drinks and the custom toppings are brilliant. I will be going again, although I hope that they open more branches because the only thing putting me off going more often is the queue.