Five Guys, said to be one of Barrack Obama’s favourite burger joints, was set up in Virginia in 1986 by the Murrel brothers. It managed to get a cult following and became a huge hit across America. It was so popular that in 2003 they decided to offer franchise opportunities and now they have over 1000 Five Guys nationwide – that’s an awful lot!
It only seemed appropriate that the first ever London outpost of Five Guys burger restaurant opened on 4th July – and like a burger obsessed lunatic I knew I had to get down there to give it a go. They opened their doors at 11am and I arrived to see a rather large queue which went surprisingly quickly thank god!
The concept is simple; you queue up and order at the counter, then wait for your number to be called and collect your brown paper bag filled with your food. There’s plenty of seating which is good; a ground floor and a basement dining room. It’s an attractively designed space too – everything’s red and white and it definitely has an American vibe going on.
With each burger you can choose from an array of free toppings – I opted for the cheeseburger (£8) and went for lettuce, pickles, tomato and grilled onions. It was big ol’ beast of a burger with two really flavoursome beef patties. It was everything I enjoy about a burger; good quality beef, gooey cheese, tangy pickles and fresh lettuce held together in a soft sesame seed bun. The only downside was the tomato, which had a green stalky centre. I would hope this was just unlucky and not the general quality of their tomatoes – I had to spit a mouthful of burger out which wasn’t the most attractive moment of my life!
Fries (£2.75 for a “little” portion) were served in a paper cup but more had been thrown into the paper bag for good measure – it actually equated to four cups full -wahey! They were skin-on chips cooked only in peanut oil and although they had been seasoned to perfection I just didn’t really like them. They tasted too…..healthy – they were grease free, not particularly crunchy and had an overwhelming flavour of potato, but like a boring new potato.
The fizzy drinks (£2.50) were refillable which was good and you served yourself using a rather attractive machine designed by Ferrari. You ordered your desired soft drink by using the touch screen which felt very modern and you could mix and match between all the different varieties (Coke cherry, lime, vanilla etc) which was quite a unique touch.
I’d definitely go back for a burger as it was so big and it was really filling but I just wouldn’t get the fries next time. I imagine the queues will always be long at peak times but if you can get in I’d say it’s definitely worth a visit. Welcome to London Five Guys – I’m sure we’ll be seeing an awful lot more of you.