the timberland company ‘Quick and quality’ burgers pack a punch
REMEMBER the days when going out for a burger meant hitting the same two takeaway giants? Now, it seems, almost every other pub does a quality burger (the other half, obviously, do pizza).
On top of that, we have seen a rash of high end burger joints opening up in town with Byron and Gourmet Burger Kitchen in the vanguard. So you might think we’d all be a bit, well. burgered out.
Not a bit of it, judging by the reaction to the opening of the city centre’s latest outlet which managed the impossible feat of acquiring cult status on its opening night.
Occupying a prime location in the old Jaeger store in Magadalen Street, Five Guys is big, buzzy and noisy. And it already has a formidable reputation for great burgers under its belt, which accounts for the instant fanbase.
I arrived on a Sunday evening three days after it opened and the place was packed the buzz of lively conversations drowned out by the pulse racing strains of Motorhead’s Ace of Spades. Yep, the music is great.
First thing’s first: it’s not a gourmet dining experience.
You queue up to place an order, which itself is a project given the number of toppings (15 items) and permutations. You can get as many extras as you like for free.
You are then issued with a numbered receipt, and wait for your order to be prepared from scratch and dispatched. This means it’s all ultra fresh and bespoke. Yet even on a busy afternoon, the wait was no longer than five minutes.
There’s a separate station for collecting milkshakes, which are also made to order from an even more bewildering combination of up to 11 flavourings.
I was advised to try the banana, salted caramel and bacon; it sounds dodgy, but is delicious, if, predictably, salty. At 4.75 they are certianly not cheap, but are excellent, and almost a meal in themselves.
The burgers also cost significantly more than you’d pay at Mcdonalds or Burger King (6.75 for a basic, 8 for cheese or bacon), but they are significantly superior the meat delicious, juicy and plump, the bun fresh and springy and the toppings fresh and generously portioned. This makes for a cleaner more wholesome bite.
The jury is still out on the hotdogs, which are a little strange, being sliced down the middle, flattened and a little too salty for my taste, but also accompanied by the same range of toppings.
They are served in heat retaining wraps whether you eat in or take away.
The chips (2.75 small and 4 regular) are the best around, cooked in peanut oil which gives them a lovely distinctive flavour and served in huge portions in paper cups and brown paper bags (be sure not to over order!).
As well as those epic milkshakes, they can be washed down with a bottled beer (great to see Brooklyn Lager: 4.50) or, if you need some sugar in your life, a bottomless cup of fizzy pop from the machine which also offers a dizzying array of drinks I had never before heard of (cherry Doctor Pepper anyone?).
All in all, it’s a welcome addition to the city centre. If you are in the mood for a quick, comforting, if not especially cheap (or healthy), bite, and you like your music very loud, Five Guys is definitely for you.