My body is a temple but every once in a while I’ll be the first to admit the halo slips. You know what I’m talking about – sometimes, (mainly when you’re hungover) nothing beats a filthy fast-food fix. Needs must when the devil drives, I think they say.
Which brings me onto the subject of burgers. From high street (Wimpy, Burger King, Byron) to hipster (Dirty Burger, MEATliquor) there are few such establishments I haven’t experienced at one point or another. So when brand new upstart Five Guys landed in Islington, I dragged my foodie boyfriend along to check it out.
Before you start thinking that this website has lost its mind, you need to know this: Five Guys is becoming known as the go-to fast food restaurant if you’re into quality, freshness and taste. However, premium does come at a price – you’ll not find any £1.99 deals here.
The brand knows what its USP is, and has worked hard on perfecting it. Forget cardboard apple pies and sugar-loaded milkshakes, the uncomplicated offering is all about sustainably sourced, prime hand-formed beef burgers, dogs and hand-cut fried potatoes from named farms – when we visited they were from Kroes Farm in Dronten, Holland.
The restaurant interior is typical burger joint, and you’ll soon get bored with reading all the big-ups and testimonials lining the walls. If you’re so inclined you can watch your order being prepared right in front of you; the fries are cooked in peanut oil by the way, which is the ‘healthier’ approach.
But you won’t visit for the ambience, and your cholesterol levels will be the last thing on your mind when you sink your teeth into the famous burgers. But first you must create your masterpiece – choose a normal (two patties) or little (one patty) burger, and whichever free toppings you want.
Admittedly, this was the first double cheeseburger I’d ever eaten and was on the large size for me but I gave it my best shot –the contents were straining to get out but impressively the whole thing stayed together, enabling me to enjoy every last mouthful of the fresh and flavoursome sandwich.
One tip: Five Guys burgers are super-juicy and you’ve just got to forget about your perfectly applied matte mouth and dive in – do not arrange a first date or business meeting here, as ketchup and/or mustard on the chin is not the most endearing of looks.
Onto the fries. The beau went for Five Guys Style (unseasoned) and I opted for Cajun Style. We decided to go for the regular (medium) size which initially seemed do-able, however they give you an extra scoop on top of that so we were literally drowning in the things. I don’t mind spicy food but I found the Cajun seasoning a bit too lively. The unseasoned ones were heavenly – fluffy on the inside and crisp on the outside.
Unlike other similar establishments, you can also drink beer with your meal which my better half was happy about. I went for a cloudy lemonade from the Ferrari-designed interactive drinks machine which serves up hundreds of soft drink options. The way this works is you pay £2.50 for a huge cup which you can then refill as often as you like. At the risk of encouraging unnecessary tooth cavities, I was more than happy with one cup.
Find your nearest Five Guys by visiting their website.