Monday, 30 December 2013

[Review] Five Guys Burger, Angel / Covent Garden, London

Since the frenzied media (both social and otherwise) of the launch of American burger chain Five Guys in the UK in Summer 2013, the chain has been making inroads into the domestic market and has already opened two new restaurants in The Oracle, Reading, and on Upper Street, Islington.
Five Guys Bacon Cheeseburger
Five Guys Bacon Cheeseburger
Now things have settled a little, I popped into the Five Guys Angel branch to get the low down on a couple of their burgers, whilst picking up some steak and burger patties from London's rockstar butchers, Turner & George.

Price:

Bacon Cheeseburger - £8.75
'Little' Cheeseburger - £5.50

Presentation:

It don't look pretty. All the burgers at Five Guys come squish-wrapped in silver foil, and so unwrapping your burger is very much like unwrapping a meat present. They're served upside-down, so when you flip them over and open the foil the burger is the right way up. Also you get a puff of burgery goodness that's been locked up in the foil. It's a nice touch, but that's where the magic ends, as the burgers themselves look like they've been thrown together from the leftovers of a kids party. Their crumpled, flattened facade does no favours to either Five Guys burger.
Biggly and Littly - the cheeseburgers from Five Guys
Biggly and Littly - the cheeseburgers from Five Guys

Toppings:

Mixed. I topped my bacon cheeseburger with grilled onions and mushrooms, with ketchup and mustard thrown in for good measure. The cheese was the stand out topping here, gummy/sticky and leaving that great fake plastic cheese aftertaste in the mouth. Sadly the other toppings completely let the side down. The grilled onions were indistinguishable in the mix, and the mushrooms were frankly rank, tasting like they were straight out of a tin (I know, I know, what was I expecting, right?!). The bacon was also poor, although crispy, it had the acrid, lingering taste of fake smoke flavouring. The sauces were fine, but there was way too much - note for next time, order 'little' sauce...
Bacon Cheeseburger from Five Guys
Bacon Cheeseburger from Five Guys
For the little cheeseburger, I had just asked for sauces to be added, and again there was WAAAAY too much.
Little Cheeseburger from Five Guys
Little Cheeseburger from Five Guys

Meat:

It had no flavour. The griddled patties do actually come with a semi-decent crust, which was a surprise, but through the centre, the thin patties revert to an uninspiring, uniform, and flavourless, grey.

Bun:

Soft, squishy, and functional. I have no issues with this bun, aside from the aforementioned squashed appearance. It does deal with a tsunami of sauce magnificently.

Accessories:

None. I focused on the burgers for this review, and there's not a whole lot of room left right now...

Overall rating: 5/10

Five Guy - 5/10

The Five Guys burgers are pretty standard fast food affairs, for all the opening fanfare. Yes, you can load up your burger with up to 15 toppings, and yes you can order your burger online, customised to exactly the way you want it, but I can't help thinking, if I don't go 'all the way', then I'm subsidising people who order their burgers that way...

Ultimately the Five Guys Bacon Cheeseburger is £8.75 - without fries - and that means it's competing with MeatLiquor's Dead Hippie, MeatMarket's Black Palace, and Patty & Bun's Ari Gold on price point. And the little cheeseburger, at £5.50, is competing with the Dirty Burger Cheeseburger. Sorry, Five Guys, you offer NO competition to any of these.

It's very clear that opinion is polarised around the entrance of a big bucks (Charles Dunstone's billions, dontcha know) American burger joint opening up in London. But hey, haters gonna hate, fanboys gonna worship - but for me the burger's ingredients taste cheap, and it's being flogged for too much.

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7 comments:

  1. Hi BurgerMe,

    I also tried the Five Guys in Islington and share your opinions!

    I asked for everything on the cheeseburger thinking it would add to the experience. Was I wrong. Very messy, very bland, very overpriced..... I didn't get change from £15 after a drink, burger and large fries.



    A week later, I popped by Dirty Burger(reading your review) and tasted a marked difference:-)


    Keep up your great reviews and a Happy New Year to you

    ReplyDelete
  2. A very happy new year to you too tonytang. Thanks for your comments - Dirty Burger is a firm favourite!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi BurgerMe,


    I just signed up to thank you for the great reviews and entertainment in 2013 and wish you all the best for more of the same in 2014.

    ReplyDelete
  4. MagicalJarv02 January, 2014

    Keep up the amazing work. I look forward to seeing a challenger to my favourite burger (DirtyBurger) in 2014. Happy New Year!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Ben Clayton06 January, 2014

    Looks utterly vile and a massive rip off.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Great review and couldn't agree more. Noticed in the Islington location how most of their accolades posted on the wall were from the last decade. Burgers. It's serious business

    ReplyDelete

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