Friday 3 January 2014

Five Guys, Covent Garden

The meal I had at Five Guys last week had certainly been a long time coming. You can't know Soho without having seen or heard of this famous American burger place, apparently named Obama's favourite. However, trying to be good with what I eat mixed with the fact that, whenever I've passed, there have been queues literally around the block, it's never been quite the right time. But last Friday, something rather peculiar came over me when, at about 11pm, I walked down Long Acre to find no queue, and only a matter of minutes between me and one of the best tasting burgers around. It had to be done.

The two boys I was with, despite their surprise at my sudden outburst, didn't take much convincing to go in. We'd all just had dinner, but somehow a gap magically formed in our stomachs. Five Guys has absolutely the look and feel of a proper American joint. Red and white tiles, big posters with quotes and rave reviews, and employees everywhere with big smiles on their faces, ready and waiting to please your tastebuds. Overexcited, I asked the lady on the door for her recommendation. She ummed and erred, but confessed that, although I couldn't really go wrong, I should probably go for the bacon cheeseburger. 

But you don't just stop there. At Five Guys, you can have little burgers or regular burgers that come plain, with bacon, with cheese or with both. Once that decision's been made comes the toppings menu, all of which, unbelievably for a burger restaurant, are free (as are the monkey nuts, which you can help yourself to whilst you wait). Lettuce, tomatoes, green peppers, onions, grilled onions, pickles, jalapeƱos, mushrooms, relish, ketchup, mustard, BBQ sauce, mayo, relish, HP sauce and hot sauce, and you only need to limit yourself by what you can hold between your hands (without losing your dignity completely...). Waiting at the bar with our order tickets, we watched the line of around 40 burgers laid out, all with different combinations. For me, lettuce and grilled onions were enough to top my BCB. Everything was just perfect - especially the bacon which was crisp and smokey. If burgers aren't your thing (pfft), you could go for a hot dog or sandwich, and there are veggie options too, but whatever you order, you'll have to have fries. They're unbelievably delicious. I couldn't put my finger on it at first, but then I saw on the menu that they are, brace yourself, cooked in peanut oil. That wasn't the only exceptional thing about the fries; there was also a sign up in the restaurant that says where the potatoes had been sourced that day (ours that night were from Holland). To wash it all down, Five Guys has one of those Coca-Cola freestyle machines, with over 100 unlimited sodas.

The atmosphere in Five Guys was just so happy, to go with the happy tummies being filled in the every booth table. Families, couples, groups of friends on their way to or from a night out - people of all ages were laughing and having a good time, staff included. That truly is the sign of somewhere special. Get yourselves down there, if you haven't been already, and be prepared for a finger lickin' good time.

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