Burgers. Granted you see a lot of talking about them around here but hey! This girl loves a good burger, and while we were in London we wanted to try two from over the pond. Now I know there’s more burger places in the capital that everyone needs to visit but the truth is that we had other places we wanted to eat and had to unfortunately streamline our list of places we wanted a burger. I know it’s a hard-life.
The two places we ate were FIVE GUYS and SHAKESHACK.
We visited here during the afternoon once our legs were tired from a morning wandering around the Shard and over to see the poppies at the tower of London, and all that walking of course grants a burger (right?). Since Shakeshack is in the middle of Covent Garden Piazza I can’t imagine it will ever be quiet. But the queue (that still luckily fit inside the building confinements) moved quickly. We ordered two single ShackBUURGERS (a cheese burger with Shack sauce), regular fries, a fresh lemonade and he ordered the shacks own brewed lager (I think it’s made by Brooklyn brewery but don’t quote me), we were given one of those little buzzy things that you get in a restaurant when you wait for a table and told to wander until it buzzed. Which was all of five minutes after, so far so good. This was a pleasant sight for tired eyes and hungry tummies.
The drinks and fries were pretty good, the crinkle on the fries made them crunch more, hold more sauce (he likes his mayo and this is an important factor) and all around taste really great. The beer was apparently a ‘good’ beer and was a welcomed drink in the summer sun (apparently being with me for three days straight warrants a beer, I know right…I’m not even that bad, he just looks for any excuse) and the lemonade was perfect, sweet but sour, thirst quenching but made your eye do that funny twitchy thing if you drank too much in one go. Just what an american flat lemonade should be. I’m drooling thinking about it now. Now onto the burgers (I’ve been ever so kind and zoomed in a bit so you can see them in a bit more glory…kind eh?)
Now don’t get me wrong, these burgers are good. Cooked to a good medium, with juice where its meant to be and gooey cheese hidden all inside a good bun (can’t forget the fresh salad) but it just didn’t feel special (oh and the sauce tastes just like thousand island/ big mac sauce- I can’t quote on this though considering I’ve never had a big mac…). After eating it you felt good. But once I’ve ate a burger I want to feel slightly dirty and greasy and that I’ve done something really naughty, but I didn’t have that. So if you want a clean burger experience order a single from ShakeShack. Good burger, just no mess, pity really.
This is pretty much the first place we visited in London after we got off the train at Euston. Let me set the scene: 12 noon, pouring rain, no umbrella and one coat between us (being the practical one it was me that had the coat on), we got off the tube at L.square and walked down the road (then nearly ran a bit) and jumped into a warm, dry and surprisingly empty Five Guys. To keep our opinions cohesive we had already decided we wanted to try the same type of burger from each place we went to. We ordered two little (single patty) cheeseburgers. Mine had ketchup, lettuce, tomato, fried onion and normal onion on it and he had jalapeños, fried onions, mayo and lettuce. So we sampled quite a bit of their extensive “all toppings are free” menu. We also ordered regular fries and a drink. The drinks here are coca-cola self serve machines that have a crazy huge range of flavours: in the end we decided on Peach Fanta and Orange Coke (both were AMAZING!). The kitchen is open and you wait for your number to be shouted before you clutch your brown bag and begin to drool at what’s inside waiting for you. We grabbed a seat and extra sauce and sat down to get our burger awnn!
There was an awful lot more fries in the bag so don’t be fooled by the small amount in the image. They were probably slightly too salty in the end for my personal preferences, but they had a good crunch and you cant really beat a skin on fry, but the stars of the show were definitely the burgers. Full of flavour, a soft but sturdy enough bun to hold everything together, a good amount of burger juice that you had to stop trickling down your hand and a great range of fresh toppings to match. Can’t forget the ooey gooey cheese now can we? Once finished it felt like we’d committed a small crime, you felt satisfied if not slightly dirty, you felt like you’d eaten a good burger, and as our first meal in London that’s what we wanted.
We did walk past another time at about 10:30pm and it was a lot busier in there with a queue outside, so it’s obviously considered to be a late night snack as well, and that sounds like a pretty good idea to me.
Just a warning if you’re allergic to peanuts you wont be able to go near this place. The unlimited buckets of fresh peanuts you can take to nibble on and the fact the fries are all cooked in peanut oil might just be a nightmare for an allergy.
So all in all who wins? In a heartbeat I’d visit Five Guys again, and they now have more stands and stores appearing all over the country which is easier for people that live no where near the capital. But I’d love a glass of Shack Made Lemonade. Like I said, if you want a clean experience go to S.S, if you want a decent burger experience go to Five Guys, best of both worlds.
It’s a hard life this burger testing eh?