Five Guys in Covent GardenCultureFood & DrinksRestaurant & bar reviews
An almighty “bunfight” is raging in Covent Garden – a burger bun fight, that is! The turf war for best burger joint has finally arrived from across the pond, and hungry Londoners have been keenly debating the contenders. Celebrated chain Five Guys is here to fly the flag for authentic American hamburgers, something they take literally in light of the US flags hanging above the door. Launched in 1986 by five brothers using funds intended for their higher education, the business has since expanded to over 1,000 locations across the US and Canada and even Barack Obama is a fan!
Five Guys is every inch the traditional diner, even down to the American workforce enthusiastically serving an influx of customers from a fast-moving queue lining the street. A ketchup-coloured counter dominates the red and white décor, with orders placed to the right as jovial staff on the left call out numbers ready for collection. In a quirky touch, customers can visit monkey nut stations throughout the venue for a snack while they wait.
The burgers and fries come in multiple sizes, and the hot dogs and sandwiches looked inviting, but we opted for a Little Bacon Cheeseburger with Little Cajun Fries – a perfect lunchtime portion. Clear juices oozed from a succulent, single beef patty to combine with a soft, sesame-seeded bun and melted American cheese, both expertly stacked with extra toppings of tangy, crunchy pickle and sweet, cooked onions. The bacon was inexplicably missing but after tasting a char and slight smokiness to the beef, we were glad to experience the intense flavour without distraction.
The fries were extremely generous for a “little” portion and we couldn’t eat them all. Cooked with skins on in an undetectable peanut oil, they weren’t especially crispy but were coated in a pleasant, fiery seasoning that made us thankful for the giant soda machines loaded with over 100 flavours. Raspberry Coke Zero and Schweppes’ Cloudy Fruit Punch Lemonade were light and refreshing against the heat of Cajun spices.
Unable to dismiss our curiosity in rival Shake Shack, located a few hundred yards away, we braved the queue to its stylish counter to sample an equivalent burger. However, after the rich experience of Five Guys, the blandness was evident and when it comes to London’s “bunfight,” Five Guys gets a vote and a high five for taste, fun and authenticity.
Photos: Monika Jørgesen
Five Guys: 55/60
For further information about Five Guys, 1-3 Long Acre, Covent Garden, WC2E 9LH, call 0800 0833 055 or visit here.