Some of the long term followers out there might remember I’ve previously done reviews of Patty & Bun and Shake Shack before and now it is the turn of another burger bar, Five Guys.
Five Guys opened their Covent Garden restaurant about the same sort of time as Shake Shack and still seems to be immensely popular on a weekend, with loads of reviews on other websites commenting on the queues stretching down the street. When we went today though, the queue wasn’t too bad and certainly didn’t take as long as Patty & Bun.
Once inside, you start to notice differences in comparison to the rest of the burger bars I’ve been to. Initially in the queue, you can help yourself to peanuts (not a fan, didn’t do it for me) and queue up for your order.
The menu itself is rather basic. 4 types of burger (and then the same as little burgers and as hot dogs) and a hand full of sandwiches. The nice thing about the burgers/hotdogs/sandwiches here is that you can have as many of the toppings as you want, but in reality anything more than four is a bit overkill and makes the bun quite difficult to hold. There’s two types of fries (salty and spicy) which come in a few different sizes and then the drinks menu. Strangely for a burger bar, I can’t help but feel the biggest attraction is the Coca-Cola Freestyle machine. For those of you not in the know, the Coca-Cola Freestlye machine is a drinks machine with over 100 variations of drinks brand owned by Coke.
Once you’ve ordered, you then have to queue up (in a different line) for your meal to be prepared. Kind of like Argos, you stand in line and wait for the number on your receipt to be shouted out (not always in order) before you get handed a brown paper bag.
The burger itself, I must say, was very nice. I went for the bacon cheeseburger with onion and relish and feel I made a good, solid choice. The chips (salty as I misheard the girl on the cashier) were alright but nothing breathtaking, especially for the price. You pay for quantity, not quality. And I’m not sure I’m pleased about that.
Taking the whole experience in to account, I must say I was left underwhelmed. Whilst I don’t mind queuing for a good meal, the ordering service felt too much like McDonalds to warrant the price of the meal (albeit cheaper then P&B and SS) and the presentation was, bar the Freestyle machine, not to my liking. The plain brown paper bags seemed cheap. The foil wrapping for the burger makes the bun feel soggy. And the restaurant is covered in quotes and extracts from magazines and newspapers which talk about how good Five Guys is. That suggests a bit of complex to me. A confident restaurant would let the food do the talking. If it could, above the just-too-loud music that is playing non-stop.
So there, that’s my thoughts on Five Guys. By no means a bad burger, but the overall experience felt just a bit off and not as much about the actual burger as I would like.