It’s been just under 4 years since the US Burger giant Five Guys arrived in the UK and up until yesterday afternoon, I’d never been to one of their ever growing number of burger joints.
With their latest restaurant opening in Southamptons’ West Quay shopping centre just a short drive away, I thought it was time to pay a visit.
The first thing that struck me was the decor. Classic American styling in the form of red and white chequered tiles on the walls, somehow being achieved without the classic American tackiness that usually goes alongside. Even the packaging is distinctly American; from the foil the burgers come in, to the brown paper bag.
Next up, the menu. At its core, the menu consists of only four basic burgers: Hamburger, Cheeseburger, Bacon Burger and Bacon Cheeseburger. Each of these are available with the option of a ‘little’ version for the kids. However, customisation is pretty much limitless. Okay, maybe not limitless, but if you believe the guys themselves, with the 16 different toppings on offer to add to your burger free of charge, there are apparently 250,000 different ways to have your Five Guys burger.
For my first experience, I went for the Bacon Cheeseburger with lettuce, onions and green peppers, a bottomless drink from their self-service freestyle drinks machine and a portion of fries to share with my partner.
In 2013 the London Evening Standard said burgers at Five Guys were “…wholly, succulently, conversation-stoppingly addictive”. I have to say, I agree. Two succulent patties, held together by cheese that was just about melted with rashers of super crispy bacon giving a wonderful crunch. My addition of the lettuce and pepper gave freshness whilst the onion added the required acidity. The fries, coming either regular salted or cajun style are cooked in Peanut Oil, which owing to it’s higher cooking temperature produces a darker coloured fry than you may receive in rival chains. A glorious crunch followed by a light fluffy inside sends these fries flying into my #1 spot for fast food fries.
My experience at Five Guys was better than initial expectations. Despite the £25 bill for two burgers, fries and a bottomless soft drink; the quick service, the ability to customise your burger, the wide variety of soft drinks at hand and the step up in quality from other fast food chains all wrapped up with a classic yet contemporary American feel, makes these guys, my fast food guys of choice.