Verdict: Only slightly better than McD/BK at Gourmet Burger prices.
The hype surrounding Five Guys first UK franchise opening is incredible. Touted as being “Obama’s favourite burger” and launched with multiple awards and glowing reviews from stateside, I decided the day after opening to give them a try.
The restaurant itself has a garishly 80’s feel, clean tiles with black and white and red all over. The sound system is very harsh, tinny, unnecessarily loud and prevents conversation with it’s middle of the road, soft rock soundtrack. You have to queue to order the food and then queue again to collect the order.
The food is served in a brown paper bag, the burger wrapped in foil causing the grease from the food to spread everywhere. The burger is good quality meat, hand prepared and the bun is decent quality bread, but it seems excessively greasy and even with a selection of the ‘free toppings’ the burger was bland and almost flavourless. The fries are cooked with their jackets still on in peanut oil, trumpeted as a health benefit, being low in cholesterol. As part of this gimmick they also provide free peanuts to customers. This oil gives the fries an interesting flavour, but I found them to be slightly too salty and although there were a lot of them in the regular portion I still don’t believe they are worth the price.
The main standout feature is in the selection of drinks. The premium beers are from Brew Dog and the soda allows free refills from the machines. There are only two self service soda machines, resulting in queues, but the selection of flavours available on the touch screen are many, including Grape Sprite, Lime Coke and several others that I don’t believe are available elsewhere.
Overall the quality of the food was average and bland, around the level of standard fast food chains except being sold at the price of a gourmet burger restaurant, of which there are many better options in the area. Upon leaving my clothes smelled horribly of cooking burgers and frying peanut oil, something that generally doesn’t occur at any of their rivals.