Thursday 27 June 2013

[Burger News] Guide to Shake Shack in Covent Garden, London

Shake Shack launches in London's Covent Garden South Market on 5th July 2013...
Shake Shack Burger Selection (photo by William Brinson) here's everything you need to know about Shake Shack's London opening, with a few surprises along the way. 

Back in November 2012, Shake Shack released the following press release to much cheer and gnashing of teeth.

The burger scene in London had just stepped up a notch. But with myriad joints open across the capital, growing and expanding the comfort dining category over the past 3 years, it's amazing it took the Americans so long to take an interest.

I spoke to the team at Shake Shack and asked them a few questions about the Shack in Covent Garden:

Hamburger Me!: What appeals to Shake Shack about the UK market?

Shake Shack: The UK has a thriving food and cultural scene.  We’ve heard from Londoners over the years how much they enjoyed Shake Shack when visiting NYC.  So it’s been on our radar.  New Yorkers and Londoners both love a good burger. We also hope Londoners will enjoy our frozen custard ice cream. It’s dense, rich and creamy and will be made fresh each day at the Covent Garden Shack. Covent Garden is in London’s cultural triangle, bringing together locals and visitors alike. This Shack will also include large outdoor areas, which harks back to the feel and community-gathering vibe of our first location in an NYC park.

The Anatomy of Shake Shack's hamburger menu

What makes Shake Shack's burgers distinctive are some of the techniques used in the cooking and construction of their burgers. 

There are 5 main burgers at Shake Shack: ShackBurger, Smoke Shack burger, 'Shroom Burger, Shack Stack burger, and hamburger. 

Hamburger Me!: How are you ensuring consistency with your burgers across the Shake Shack empire?

Shake Shack: Shake Shack prides itself on sourcing fresh, premium ingredients, and we’ve sourced locally for numerous items and ingredients throughout our menu.  Our beef is 100% raised Aberdeen Angus beef that is grass fed on Scottish pastures.  We don’t use hormones or antibiotics ever. Our fresh meat is ground daily and always prepared to order on site.  London will feature our proprietary Shack blend that our guests have grown to love.

Here's the London menu in full:
Shake Shack Covent Garden Menu
Shake Shack Covent Garden Menu

Constructing the ShackBurger...
Shack Burger (photo by William Brinson)'s made up of 6 simple elements. 

  1. Toasted soft, squishy bun (Martin's potato roll-style)
  2. ShackSauce: The Shake Shack team describe this as a tangy mayonnaise (speculation has it that blitzed gherkins play a part)
  3. Lolla Bionda lettuce
  4. Sliced tomato
  5. Good old american-style cheese, melted naturally onto the patty (without cloche)
  6. 1/4lb beef patty smashed onto the grill to give a crispy, caramelized crust on one side of the burger. Shake Shack describe the beef as their Shack Blend (but according to Serious Eats speculation around the blend is touted to be 50:25:25 sirloin:chuck:brisket - giving the melt of the sirloin with the beefy flavour of the chuck with the brisket giving the whole thing structure).
It's a simple set of ingredients but combined they form the core Shake Shack flavour experience AND it's all being carefully sourced from UK farms and suppliers (except the potato rolls, they're being flown over from America).

The SmokeShack burger
SmokeShack burger (photo by William Brinson)
Shake Shack's bacon cheeseburger, with a twist. American-style cheese and British free-range Wiltshire cure smoked bacon, topped with chopped pepper and ShackSauce - along with the signature smashed patty.

Shack Stack burger

Take the standard Shackburger, and thrown in a 'Shroom burger (crispy deep-fried portobello mushroom and cheese patty) and you've got a glorious Shack Stack.

Hamburger Me!: Any specials for us Londoners?

Shake Shack: The London menu will feature all the Shake Shack classics with several locally sourced ingredients. The Covent Garden menu will also featured it’s own custard calendar.

Here’s some more info about a handful of folks that we’ve partnered with or are featuring specifically at the Covent Garden Shack.

Sillfield Farm, Cumbria, UK
Making our Cumberland Sausage

The folks at Sillfield Farm certainly know their meat. Our Cumberland Sausage is handmade by Sillfield using traditional methods that have earned it Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status, ensuring its heritage and authenticity. They’re a caring bunch too, always using free range animals.

St. JOHN Bakery, London
Featuring a chocolate hazelnut brownie and brown sugar biscuit in three of our frozen custard concretes.

An offshoot of acclaimed chef Fergus Henderson’s St. JOHN restaurant, the Bakery is renowned for its handmade Saturday morning bread. They sweeten it up for our concretes, blending in their chocolate hazelnut brownie and brown sugar biscuit.

paul.a.young, London
Featuring chocolate chunks in two of our frozen custard concretes

Our Covent Garden concretes mix it up with chocolate chunks from groundbreaking chocolatier Paul A. Young. His team makes everything by hand with fresh ingredients.

Shake Shack Concretes

Shake Shack London Concretes

Apart from the burgers, Shake Shack is famed for its Concretes, which they define as 'dense frozen custard blended at high speed, with mix-ins'. So thick shakes then. And London's concretes are particularly exciting, one is even being combined with Paul A Young chocolate!

Shake Shack London Shakes
Shake Shack Shakes (photo by William Brinson)

Shake Shack Beer

Yes, you can get a beer and wine in Shake Shack. It's a bit like McDonalds in France, but better. They'll have beers from Meantime Brewing Company: London Lager; and Chocolate Porter as well as bottled beers from Kernel Brewery (Table Beer and Export Stout) and Thornbridge Brewery (Jaipur IPA), as well as a cider from Thatchers (Old Rascal Cider).

Here's the full Shake Shack beer and wine list:

Shake Shack London Drinks Menu

They'll be serving a couple of local favourites, as well as their ShackMeister Ale from the States.
Grab a beer with your burger (photo by William Brinson)
Hamburger Me!: Is London just the beginning?

Shake Shack: We’re squarely focused on making the Covent Garden Shake Shack the best it can be.  Our London team will lead with hospitality and a desire to create a place that feels distinctly a part of the Covent Garden neighbourhood. We want to make a real connection with Londoners first before we make any other plans. It’s important that we grow when Londoners tell us they want another Shack.

So Shake Shack is opening on 5 July 2013 at 10am - make sure you keep an eye out for the full low down on Hamburger Me!

View Burger Me! London Burger Map in a larger map

Shake Shack Covent Garden Hoardings


  1. The Guy Next Door27 June, 2013

    I will be there on the 6th July for some burger and concrete

  2. Christine28 June, 2013

    I want to go there tonight! I had no idea that it was so close to where I live!

  3. Stephen Garside03 July, 2013

    Bring it on.

  4. £9 for a burger the size of a 5 year old's palm. I have to say it was tasty, but not great value for what it was...


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