Over the years I have wondered past Five Guys of Covent Garden on numerous occasions and wondered what the queues and fuss was about. The behemoth chain now has 113 outlets in the UK and counting, they also claim that none of their food is ever frozen, they only use prime stamped beef and peanut oil for cooking. It all sounds good and I headed to the congested tourist hot spot to indulge in some calorie-laden regret.
What catches my eye immediately are the sacks of spuds, branded with Five Guy’s red and white cheques that match the tiles walls. There’s free monkey nuts too to crack open and gnaw on whilst you decide what to eat, it’s all a novelty for a novice like me.
The busy open kitchen runs like clockwork, seeing this in action made me very, very excited.
I went for the cheeseburger with bacon, onions and mustard £9.75. It came wrapped in aluminium foil and had heft. It was time to loosen the belt!
The sesame pelted bun had a nice gloss to it. It was squishy and soft to touch and matched the size of the patties – they seemed to be machined for each other. The patties have a lovely sear, are coarse in texture and exude a nice beefiness. It’s not the juiciest burger, like the one I had at Joe’s, but the onions, pickles, hot mustard and salty cheese with the right amount of viscosity provides the moisture. It’s a lovely burger.
I got a side of fries coated in cajun spices, fried skin on with a pot of ketchup. They are a pleasing crunch and fluff in the centres. They’re worth getting too.
Fast forward two years and 7 months, I’m back, but this time at their Oxford Street branch after an afternoon on Aqua Spirit’s roof top drinking Aperol spritz’s to loosen our collars and cuffs after the country’s 3 month lockdown. The seemingly conspicuous frontage is a lure for the alcoholically impaired. Us. Our eyes widen, the arteries harden, our booze-flushed stomachs settle as we hunker down and shovel slabs of moo covered in viscous American cheese sandwiched in the all important generic sesame peppered buns into our alcohol vapoured mouths.
A welcome mess of canjun fries £4.75 had enough salt with give a large mammal cardiac arrest.
A double cheeseburger £9.95 with lettuce, onion, mushrooms, tomato, mayo and relish.
When did I go? Nov 2017 + Jul 2020
The damage: £20 per head with a beer and fries
The good: I was pleasantly surprised with Five Guy’s version of their burger. The generic sesame bun was a refreshing change to all the banal brioche ones that seems to be the mania these days, but it’s more better for it. The coarsely ground patties, did’t give fireworks per a se, but were a nod the quality beef and overall gave our booze battered innards some calories well spent. There are hot dogs too if you fancy mystery meat in tubular form.
The bad: I can think of worse ways to spend £20.
Would I go again? Yeah
Address: 1-3 Long Acre, Covent Garden, London WC2E 9LH and 5-6 Argyll St, Soho, London W1F 7TE