If you’re a London food lover, you’ll probably have heard the hype surrounding the two new burger joints in London. Both found within 2 minutes of one another and both opened around the same time; Shake Shack and Five Guys. Now, Five Guys is still on my list to try but Shake Shack is where we chose to eat last weekend.
Shake Shack is located in the centre of the tourist trap that is Covent Garden. As much as I love Covent Garden, during summer it’s a nightmare. Mixing this alongside the new opening of Shake Shack (5th July), I stayed away for a week or two for the crowds to die down. This didn’t happen and we ended up going on a Saturday and queueing for 30 minutes.
Now let me get one thing straight. The process at Shake Shack with its busy crowds is not something that works.
- First you queue for 30 or so minutes until you reach the till to pay.
- You then try and find somewhere to sit (with very little luck).
- Your buzzer goes off whilst in the process of finding somewhere to sit.
- You collect food on tray only to find your left wandering for another 15 minutes only this time you’re worried about someone knocking you and your food flying everywhere.
- After hovering around tables, you find somewhere to sit only to find your burger is now luke warm..
It’s shocking that a place with so much seating has an abysmal restaurant service. This is exactly the same process you’d find at McDonald’s but currently there is only one Shake Shack in the UK and it’s found in the middle of London’s tourist trap. Go figure.
Now there’s two ways that this problem could have been dealt with.
- Queue up to then be seated by a hostess.
- Get up to order at till and wait for your order which can either be collected or served.
(similar to Nando’s)
- Take a seat if there’s a spare table if not queue up
- Wait for waitress to take your order
- Sit and wait for food
(every other restaurant!)
Now why Shack Shack decided to serve people as quickly as possibly just doesn’t make sense to me. Afterall people eat slower than 5 members of staff continuously taking orders.
After eventually getting a seat, I finally could sit and enjoy my food that I’d been looking forward to. I ordered the SmokeShack burger which is a cheeseburger comprised of Wiltshire smoked bacon, chopped cherry pepper and ShackSauce.
My burger was far from being cooked ‘medium’ (as stated on the menu – all burgers are cooked medium) and was cooked medium well. The meat didn’t feel and taste like good quality beef and the bun was too soft and thin and very similar to the buns served at McDonald’s. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were the same! The toppings were good and mixed well with the burger and tasted fine but the quality overall was disappointing.
My friends ordered different burgers and again came back with mixed reviews. The Shackburger was the one that was most disappointing – cheeseburger with lettuce, tomato and Shacksauce. I think it’s fair to say that the toppings make the burger otherwise all your left with a McDonald’s burger bun with poor quality beef.
There are two options for sides on the menu, fries or cheese fries. I opted for the latter.
Now the fries were decent enough. I would have prefered to not have crinkle chips but that’s just a personal preference however the cheese the fries were topped with was similar in texture and taste to slices of cheap Dairylea-type cheese. Now don’t get me wrong they didn’t taste bad but really? Couldn’t we have something a little more inventive or better quality? Afterall it’s £1 more for the added cheese and £3.50 altogether for a portion of fries is a bit steep.
I also heard a lot about Shake Shack’s concrete’s which are frozen custard ice creams. I’m not entirely sure what the difference is between this and regular ice cream but they tasted very similar.
I opted for the Union Shack which is chocolate custard, chocolate hazelnut brownie, fudge sauce, chocolate chunks and sea salt. I only ordered one scoop but even this was too big to finish as it was a little heavy. The concrete as a whole, was fairly average and tasted like chocolate ice cream but the standout flavour from the concrete was the huge chunks of delicious chocolate which are chocolates from Paul A Young. I think I need to pay a visit.
Shake Shack as a whole was somewhere I’d been looking forward to months and although the food wasn’t terrible, it wasn’t great either. In terms of burgers it’s a huge step down from the London food scene and with burgers such as Patty & Bun around I can’t really find a reason to re-visit. I don’t hate the place, but I just don’t understand the hype. Are these really the best burgers from across the pond? Maybe the grass isn’t greener after all…
- Shake Shack, Covent Garden