The burger battle between Five Guys and Shake Shack was the talk of the town in the London food scene in July and I finally managed to get myself down there.
Even after 3 weeks there were still queues out of the door. I can’t imagine this will die down anytime soon as Five Guys is located in between Leicester Square and Covent Garden tube stations i.e. London’s tourist trap.
After queueing for 20 minutes, we finally managed to get inside and I was a little unsure of the choice of decoration in between the queuing system; potato sacks. I’m assuming the idea of this was to try and be ‘quirky’ but I’m not really sure it works and it just makes the place look messy, overstocked and possibly a little optimistic.
Just to confuse things, the menu consists of two different burger sizes; the normal burger and the ‘little’ burger. Now the ‘little’ burger isn’t little, it’s essentially a normal burger with a single beef patty whereas the ‘normal’ burger has a double beef patty. I’m not sure if this is the norm in the US, but in the UK a single beef patty is enough (well usually). I didn’t want to pay an extra £2 for another patty so opted for the ‘little bacon cheeseburger’.
What’s interesting to note about Five Guys, is the amount of staff working incredibly hard to try and get burgers out as quick as they can. So much so, that it ruins the idea of what good food is about; love and attention to detail. It’s almost a mechanical process to get each burger shipped out to the respected number ASAP. As much as I appreciate the quick-ish service, I’d rather a slower service with a well put together burger. Maybe that’s just me…
The fries are proudly advertised as being cooked in peanut oil. Now I don’t have anything against peanut oil, but when it means my fries turn up limp and soft, then I have a problem. As far as the taste goes, they were well seasoned and had a soft centre but I really don’t want to be eating limp fries.
The menu states that all burgers are cooked ‘juicy’ and ‘well-done’. This is the first problem I have with Five Guys; a well done burger is just wrong and doesn’t make the beef ‘juicy,’ more like dry and chewy. Next is the presentation as many other bloggers have stated – it looks as though it’s been sat on. The bun itself is dreadful, cheap bread that doesn’t hold together well. Mine only just managed but I didn’t opt to ‘go all the way’ (every topping). I chose green peppers, jalapeño peppers, mushrooms, grilled onions with a BBQ sauce for my bacon cheeseburger. Now don’t get me wrong it didn’t taste bad it just wasn’t worth £7.
Essentially Five Guys is just an expensive fast-food joint and I really don’t understand the purpose for it. If I wanted a high quality burger I’m happy to pay more and I’d delightfully go to Patty & Bun or even Byron but if I wanted fast food would I go to Five Guys?
No. Just no.
I’d probably rather go to Burger King or even McDonald’s as the price is completely unjustified for the quality you get. If I want fast-food I don’t expect quality and if I go it’s because it’s cheap. Five Guys just doesn’t deliver anything worth going back for.
– Five Guys, Covent Garden