1-3 Long Acre, London WC2E 9LH
I’ve been meaning to visit Five Guys for some time after recommendations from friends but there are always pretty big queues (sometimes REALLY big queues). Fortunately I got the chance to go for an early lunch so getting there just after 12 one Friday there were only about 6-8 people in line so this way my chance! Five Guys is apparently very popular in the States with over 1000 locations and Covent Garden was their first venture into the UK (there is now one in Reading and another due to open soon in Islington.
The venue would best be described as a diner meets McDonald’s with a nice relaxed atmosphere but wooden, not very comfortable seating reflecting the fast food nature of the place (get in and out to make room for the big queue that is most likely outside the window). This is certainly a lunch venue or somewhere to get a quick feed before heading out later rather than a venue in itself but then there are plenty of those in London so this fills a nice void actually. Talking of the queue, Five Guys has a nice touch of offering free monkey nuts to anyone in the queue from a sacks next to the line to the server.
Five Guys is probably half way between McDonald’s and Red Dog Saloon, a gourmet fast food if you will (though the prices are closer to RDS). Their menu is pretty simple and both my friend Hamish and myself both went for the Bacon Cheeseburger (£8.75). You also get a wide range of topping options for your burger (as many or as few as you want), all included in the price. The list of choices are; mayo, lettuce, pickles, tomatoes, grilled onions, grilled mushrooms, ketchup, mustard, relish, onions, jalapeño peppers, green peppers, HP sauce, BBQ sauce and finally hot sauce. Not a bad selection! The burgers themselves are of a good size and quality, a word of warning, be careful which toppings you have as the mushrooms did make the bottom of the bun a little soggy resulting in a rather messy burger though I’m fine with that!
Hamish had been told on the grapevine that the fries are pretty big so we ordered a large between us (£5) – more than enough for 2, in fact easily enough for 3 pretty hungry people. Five Guys being an American chain also brings bottomless refillable drinks (£2.50) to the UK and about time too. However the soft drinks machine is pretty special. The claim was that it has more than 100 different soft drinks which I found hard to believe (without some pretty horrible mixing of drinks anyway, coke and Powerade anyone?) however after having a play with the machine this is certainly true; 8 types of Fanta, 8 types of Coke and from memory about the same for Powerade amongst many others.
Overall I was quite impressed with Five Guys although I’m not too sure what to compare it to. The food isn’t quite as good as Red Dog Saloon despite not being that much cheaper and its certainly a lunch venue rather than somewhere you would go for a meal (its still effectively fast food in the end). The cost also prohibits it being somewhere you would go too often but in the end I’ll be back sometime soon and I think that tells the whole story…
Overall Score: 7.5
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