All posts filed under “Burger

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Five Guys + Shake Shack UK

Best burgers in Covent Garden?

Five Guys

Five Guys Burgers & Fries on Urbanspoon

Rating 2/5

Originating from DC, Five Guys is known for its history of offering freshly made burgers with hand-molded patties and hand-cut fries. That’s the start of its fame. The freshness, however, was the thing of the 80s. The brand has itself franchised and now in 2013 that it lands in London it is no more than just another fast food joint.

The Central London joint is vast and located just half way between Leicester Square and Covent Garden. The ambiance is pumped by music and benefits much from the jolly heavily American-accented wait staff. There are private booths in the basement. There are also two wicked computerized soda-blending machine that will make Willy Wonka proud. (I would queue for a Raspberry Coke Zero and many more)!!

As for the burgers, it depends on which point of view you come from. The menu at Five Guys is basic – Burger (£6.75), Cheeseburger (£8), Bacon Burger (£8) and Bacon Cheeseburger (£8.75) – and you can opt for the Little options (prices at £4.75, £5.50, £6 and £6.75 respectively). The price does not include fries (from £2.75 – £5). There are also sandwiches (£3.75 – £5). The taste, for me, is junk, but surely for a few others, nostalgically indulgent. My Little Cheeseburger did not kill me. The buns were flabby; the patty was not greasy but very bland; the cheese was heavily processed; the crunchy vegetable bits were redeeming. My Grilled Cheese Sandwich (£3.75), however, might kill me. Utterly processed.

(I did return to Five Guys for soda).



Shake Shack

Shake Shack on Urbanspoon

Rating 3.5/5

Shake Shack – one of the most-loved ventures by NYC restaurateur extraordinaire Danny Meyer – has also unpacked at the Piazza of Covent Garden. Unlike Five Guys, Shake Shack burgers do not suffer much from jet lag from their look and are possibly the most photogenic burgers to date in London.

The “Shack” experience is, however, less inviting and very disparate. You need to roam around between the outdoor, the indoor, and the outdoor again. (The dining space inside the Piazza will prove challenging when the weather gets colder). The staff, on two of my visits, was not as charming as at Five Guys.

The menu covers much of what’s available at its counterparts in New York but supplemented with UK ingredients. (Think Angus beef patties and Cumberland sausage hot dogs). There is a good selection of “Shake” (£4.50 – £6.50). The price range is kinder than Five Guys: £5 – £7.25 for burgers, £2.50 – £3.50 for fries, and £4 – £5 for hot dogs. Shake Shack also sells dog treats.

I liked my Shack Stack (£7.75), which is a combo of a cheeseburger with an additional deep-fried cheesy mushroom patty. But, it was the mushroom patty and the fresh veggies that tasted. The beef patty itself was too thin and too docile to make an impact. The chew-y, pillow-y buns were a joy to eat. SmokeShack (£6.50 for single patty), containing smoked bacon and chopped cherry pepper, was a disappointment. I thought it was too bunny and yummy. (If you get this, it might work better by doubling the patty). Shack-cago Dog (£4.75) was studded with onions, cucumber and pickles, and dressed with Rick’s Pick Shack relish and mustard. I thought the whole thing was too sweet. While the halved and grilled beef sausage had a lovely strength of beef and a delightful texture, it was overwhelmed by everything else. Fries were gorgeous on their own, but the cheesy sauce did not leave much impression of cheese. (Oddly mayo-like and buttery).

(I also went back to try ‘Shroom Burger, which I liked).

Quick note. To put these new arrival burgers in the context of London hamburgers, they are great contribution in reviving the burger mania. Taste-wise, however, I find Shake Shack just respectable and Five Guys just edible. The burgers that I think most highly of are Patty and Bun, Byron and the Wagyu Sliders from the bar at 45 Park Lane





1 Long Acre


24, Market Building
Covent Garden Piazza

Tel. 020 7240 0054

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London Round Up: The Burgers


I have a preference for clean-tasting, not so greasy burgers and used to be on the hunt for them. But, ever since the arrival of much trusted Burgerac and Burgerapp! I just eat according to their rating.

But for this post.. I ate for you, for my own indulgence point of view. Please enjoy and feel for my wobbling calories.


Patty and Bun on Urbanspoon


Roast alumnus Joe Grossman has made the name for Patty and Bun from various pop-ups and finally decided to go stationary next to Selfridges. The burger menu here is more extensive – 3 kinds of beef, 1 chicken, 1 lamb and 1 veggie – with the prices fluctuating between £7 and £8. (The Ari Gold Cheeseburger is the most talked about). Chips (with rosemary salt) aren’t included.

I opted for Jose Jose Chilli Burger (£8) – beef patty, chilli chorizo relish, pickled onion, smokey P&B sauce, and the usual. It was GOOD!! Apparently… it took a while for the burger to be transported between the kitchen and the dining room, and the lost minutes did result in my lettuce being so cooked and my otherwise gorgeously light brioche bun to be a little too wet. Still, I loved the smokey and paprika-scented taste that glazed the perfectly pink and loose patty. The chilli heat was detectable but not strong. Lamb Shank Redemption (£8) was also GOOD!! The inspiration was quite Turkish for me. The lamb patty boast strong taste and zingy infusion but was balanced off by refreshing cumin aioli and cooling feta. The braised red cabbage provided a crunchy contrast. Despite the messy look, both of the burgers had quite a gourmet charm about them. Not so much greasy aftertaste <3 <3 <3



Tommi's Burger Joint on Urbanspoon

RATING: 3.5/5

It is now universally acknowledged that despite its shack-like American decor Tommi’s Burger Joint does not have much to do with America. Rather, it is a small chain from Iceland (country, not supermarket -___-” ). The menu isn’t big but there are 2 different beef patties to choose from. The regular burger starts at £5.30; the cheeseburger at £5.80. For a better quality of the patty, there is Steak Burger at £7.95. You can add £1 extra for cheese and Bearnaise dipping sauce. The price above is exclusive of fries.

My Steak Burger with Cheese was quite neat and okay. The patty – a concoction of rump, rib-eye and fillet – was lean and robust; the garnish – lettuce, tomato, onion, ketchup and mustard – was downright basic and didn’t do much; the glazed bun was pillow-y. I found the accompanying Bearnaise sauce a little too processed in taste. I also tried Tommi’s regular burger, which was not bad but you could find much better burgers elsewhere in London.

(The ventilation isn’t great so if you don’t want to be as smoky as your burgers, don’t go during busy hours).


Slider Bar on Urbanspoon

RATING: 3.5/5

Slider Bar is a collaboration between the ex-truck, much raved Lucky Chip and the convincingly hip Player (cocktail bar). The good ‘n messy burgers, correspondingly, become trendily sized, and you can choose any two of the sliders at £10 (including fries). (When I visited, there were 4 beef variations, 1 veggie and 1 seasonal special). Also, exclusive at lunch hours is the option of a normal-size burger of any on the menu (£not sure how much). For dinner, aim for a cool scene with things to nibble but it’s not ideal as a sitting down kinda meal.

I went for El Chappo – aged beef patty, blue cheese, roasted jalapenos, smoked bacon and aioli in a sesame-studded bun. The chilli and the stinking blue combo was remarkably delicious; but I found the patty a little too cooked (to about medium well) and dry for my liking. The bun was quite forgettable. Cheeseburger – think a mini-MacDonald Cheeseburger!! – was more of a success story. The bun was nicely steamed for a cushion-y, pleasantly chewy softness; the pickle was crunchy and tangy; the cheese meltingly good; but the patty (again) was a little too cooked. Very good but there was quite a greasy aftertaste.



Honest Burgers (Soho) on Urbanspoon

RATING: 3.5/5

Honest Burger has branched out to Soho but the decor – a strictly organic wooden look – reminds me of its original outpost in Brixton Village. There are 5 variations on the menu: “Chicken” (£8.5), “Beef” (£7.5), “Cheese” (£8), “Honest” (£9), and “Fritter” (£6.5). All orders come with chips.

I went for the Honest, which was just nice. The quality dry-aged beef patty from Ginger Pig was macho and carefully seared for medium rare pinkness; the glazed bun was lovingly toasted; but, I was not keen on their signature sweet onion relish, which not only failed to create a good texture contrast in the burger but also oozed a rather odd fragrance of either herbs or spices. Also I found the chips with rosemary salt so strong in aroma that it offset my appetite for the burger.




54 James Street

Tel. 020 7487 3188



58 Marylebone Lane

Tel. 020 7935 5275



8 Broadwick Street

Tel. 020 7065 6841



4a Meard Street

Tel. 020 3609 9524


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Electric Diner (and Donuts): The Retro Glam of Notting Hill

The reclaimed retro

Electric Diner is an appendix to Electric Cinema – one of London’s most *vintage* cinema – and Electric House – a swanky private club by Soho House Group. This, by itself, is a breakfast-till-supper, no-reservation diner with lush red leather booths, exposed brick walls and an open-plan kitchen. Cool. Hip. Happening. Whatever you call it. But, as this is Notting Hill, it may be, potentially, full of housewives and prams. The menu, overseen by famed Brenden Sodikoff of Chicago’s Au Cheval, claims its root in Franco-American cuisine. The pricing – between £3 for a side dish and £17 for a main – is inviting. There is also a retro donut kiosk, conveniently labelled Electric Donuts, next door.

Very good but not electrifying

My frothy freshly squeezed orange juice made a promising start of the meal. Omelette (£7) was generously stuffed with spinach and caramelised onions. The egg did not have much taste and was too glossed with butter. I also found the blue cheese (in the filling) too domineering. Diner Hot Dog (£10) was a tasty 10 incher (I deduct). I liked the fluffy glazed brioche bun and the thumb-thick porky Frankfurter. The topping of caramelised onions with pepper and sliced pickled gherkins (with the mayo and mustard dressing) rested on being sweet. Good comfort, though it didn’t reach the level of London hot dog pornstars in the likes of Bubbledogs& or Big Apple Hot Dogs. Single Cheeseburger (£10) was a better dish. The double beef patties were robust and cooked to delicious pink-ness; the melting gruyere was a brilliant foil to the foliage of pickled gherkins; the toasted brioche bun was a little dry. The real star, however, was.. well… the dishes The Other Bib ordered. Open-faced Ham & Cheese Fondue “Sandwich” with Fried Egg (£9) was the cloud nine of DIY. This was gratin of gooey, stringy, raunchy, high-calorie ham & cheese with a very pert sunny-side-up. He scooped and scrapped the bits and sandwiched them between well-buttered toasties. I..well.. blinked for his mercy. (The *mercy* was handed over at last and the taste was beyond words). I also blinked for his Hash Browns (£4), which appeared much like broken potato rosti. Addictively crunchy. Last but not least, *my* Quinoa Salad (£7) with a melange of grapes, feta cheese and almonds was very, very nice. (That’s what I tried to convince him for the cheese sandwich swap). The grainy quinoa was complimented by the sweetness from the grapes and almond and the creamy salty-ness from the cheese. Personally, I would have preferred it with a touch of lime.

I also got a box of Electric Donuts to go. These donuts are made fresh every day in the morning. Taste-wise, all was nice. The Cinnamon Stack (£can’t remember the price) was traditional doughnuts with cinnamon sugar. Lovely. The Pineapple Donut gently glazed and topped with crushed almonds (£1.50) was only pineapple-y in aroma but contained no visible trace of the fruit itself. The Blueberry-Glazed (£1.50) was the most successful. Fruity. Tangy. Sweet. I might drop by for some more.


RATING: 3.5/5


191 Portebello Road
(Electric Cinema)
W11 2ED

Tel. 020 908 9696


Electric Diner on Urbanspoon

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MEATmarket: London’s Institution Burgers Arrive at Tourist-land

MEAT in a touristy market..

MEATmarket – the newborn sibling of London’s famed #Meateasy and MEATliquor – is where one can enjoy a very clatteringly touristy view from the Deck of Jubilee Hall Market (AKA the other market in Covent Garden Piazza that Londoners don’t go to) 7 days a week. There are two entrances – one next to Wagamama on Tavistock Street and the other from within the Jubilee Hall Market (albeit with no sign and accessible only when the market is opened). Bright and airy, this burger place is a pretty “speedy” caff that offers both eat-in and takeaway options. The slightly uncomfortably high chairs/stools ensure a quick turnover, and despite the super friendly staff, I always perch, eat and leave. (I assumed others did the same as during a few “peak” times that I went MEATmarket was nowhere as busy as MEATliquor).

The menu, following the same ethos of naughty burgers as MEATliquor, was brief and divided distinctly between burgers and hotdogs, approximately priced around £7.50. There was barely any booze, apart from the now infamous Jagermeister Shake (£5); soft drinks were served bottomless. I loved Poppaz (£4 for 4 pieces) – double-sized, thumb-shaped croquettes filled with cheese and chopped Jalapenos. Pretty much a mother-f**king of heat, cheese and pickle-y tang. A trip to MEATmarket would not be complete without them. Corn Puppies (£4 for 4 pieces) were juicy miniature sausages coated in chilli-infused cornmeal batter and deep fried. Ideal for those with sweet teeth but still enjoying a whorish hint of heat (moi!). The new bigger stuff did not impress me as much. I found the construction of MEATmarket’s exclusive Black Palace – two patties, caramelised onions, American cheese, ketchup and mustard – nicely done but too sweet for my liking. The inclusive pickles failed to cut through. The Ripper – a hot dog featuring a deep-fried, bacon-wrapped sausage, generously toppled with pickles, chopped raw onions and shredded deep fried onions – appeared uncircumcised and was too big to go comfortably into one’s mouth. The sausage itself was juicy but verged on being too garlic-y and salty (for me); the bun (on two occasions that I visited MM) was dry. That said, the signature MEATliquor staples of The Dead Hippie and The Philli Cheesesteak are still as reliable as usual. Given no queue (so far), MEATmarket could be a great alternative for those seeking the glory of MEATliquor.


RATING: 3.5/5


The Deck
Jubilee Hall Market
Tavistock Street

MEATmarket on Urbanspoon

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The Admiral Codrington: Burger Danger in Kensington

Made in Kensington

The modest-looking Admiral Codrington – nicknamed Ad Cod – is a gastrohub among London’s most revered burger lovers. The quiet front (the quietness was, surely, due to the low-key Easter period) led way to an opaquely cream-and-green dining room with flower-patterned banquettes. Not a fun-looking place and all seemed a little too preen, too proper and too Kensington for my liking.

Luckily, in the kitchen, chef Fred Smith cooked up meals of an extraordinary appeal and fetched fame beyond SW3 and its environs. And, from my experience, it would be a danger if I lived nearby..


Real danger..

The menu was comprised of many pub fares with facelifts. The price for starters varied between £7.50- £9.50; and for mains £13.50- £17.50. There were many cuts of steak from White Park and (London’s more revered) O’Shea’s of Knightsbridge to tempt my taste bud. The price range was between £17 – £30. (Maybe next time?) I was after the burger. The one and only on the menu. 8oz. Cheese. Bacon. Pickles. Chips. £15. I was after this one. NO!! This was not the ONLY one. I spotted the Double Cheese Stack as the special (Until 19th April! Quick!!). There were two of us. I settled for the regular cheese and TOB for the double cheese.


I could tell, from the cascading cheese rendering juice into the medium rare patties, the pillow-y sesame bun.. and I could also tell, from the way TOB’s jaw bone twitched a little after a bite.. and I concluded, from the intensity and focus on his brows, his mopping up the beefy juice with his bun, and the FACT that he was NOT SHARING (!!!), that this burger must be damned good. (I offered him a morsel of my burger. A failed tactic). My cheeseburger was quite brilliant, too. The brioche bun formed a light construction for the burger; the pink patty boast some girth and juicy robustness; the dripping was trapped by the shredded lettuce and pickles; the homemade tomato chutney had depth; the bacon bites added smoke-y saltiness; the cooked onions sweetness. It struck me as a not-so-dirty-but-not-too-neat burger – half way between MEATliquor and Goodman’s – but with a taste that triumphed them all. The best I’ve ever eaten, in other words. The chunky chips were fluffy and crispy.


I ate other things, too. Crab Penne, Wild Garlic and Chilli (£9.50) was successful. The fresh and sweet crab meat was tossed in a loose, buttery sauce made from tomatoes, garlic and chilli. I liked the twist: the use of a few different heirloom tomatoes, which resulted in a varying degree of texture. The penne was correctly al dente. The only criticism I had was that it could do with a little more acidity. A very, very gentle squeeze of lemon juice, perhaps. The side of Macaroni Cheese (£6) was sinful. Firm and biteful macaroni lay seductively in a bowl of chive-infused three cheese. I noted a twist of blue (but was too occupied by its sumptuous richness I forgot to enquire what cheese was used), giving a surprisingly pleasant, mature aroma. This was the dish that did not pale in comparison with the Ad Cod burger glory. I finished the meal with a very pleasing honeycomb ice-cream.

(You make stop reading and start planning a trip to Ad Cod now).




17 Mossop Street

Tel. 020 7581 0005

Admiral Codrington on Urbanspoon

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MEATliquor: The Burger Wagon Stations off Marylebone

Permanently parked!

I love their sense of humour: London’s much lauded Meatwagon (subsequently reincarnated as #MEATEASY) found no better permanent location than at a car park, just behind Debenham’s, off Oxford Street. The collaborative brains behind MEATliquor Yianni Papoutsis and Scott Collins somehow kept the exterior of their famed burger shrine suspiciously banal.  Inside it was a different perspective of a heavily graffiti-ed, Texas-Chainsaw-Massacre-like enclave. You know, webs of dangling ceiling lights, blood-stained PVC strip curtains, but this nightmarish vision was disrupted by the presence of a well-stacked bar and no rendition of knives to diners.

Hands on eating

Cutlery was kept to absolute minimum at MEATliquor. My first tray of adulterated meat arrived sans knives, sans forks and sans plates. Deep Fried Pickles (£3) boast a crispy batter and crunchy, juicy gherkin slivers. Baffalo Wings with Blue Cheese Dip (£5) had a good tang but not so domineering heat. This was quickly followed by a bigger procession of meat. Dead Hippie (£7.50) was this Big-Mac-like burger (doubled patties, cheese, pickle, lettuce and onions). I found joy in the soft (lightly steamed?) bun; the patties (very good but not best) had a greasy moisture that ignited guilt but at the same time made me cry for a root beer float (£4). Philly Cheesesteak (£8) was a little healthier (just). I liked the distinct flavour of sauteed peppers and onions that nicely enhanced the shaved steak. Chilli Dog (£8) and Chilli Cheese Fries (£5) were antitheses of detox. For the former, an intensely smoky beef sausage was well doused in stringy cheese and finished with a good handful of jalapenos. Likable but impossible to gulp down a whole one. For the latter, the hot dog was replaced by a tub of proper fries. After a few mouthfuls, I (and The Other Bib) felt calorifically devastated…..



This did not stop us from ordering a Key Lime Pie (£4), which was citrus-y, velvety and very moreish.


Gloriously and deliciously guilt-ridden food aside, I’d like to point out MEATliquor is not exactly my kind of food or restaurant.

re Food.. The food at MEATliquor is your expertly done “dirty” burgers and snacks. it is almost nostalgic food for those having grown up with burgers and a lot of cheese. I didn’t; I am in favour of a cleaner taste of burgers at Goodman’s or Hawksmoor.

re Restaurant.. MEATliquor runs not only a “No reservation” policy but also a “you have to queue even when your friends have a table inside” policy, both of which I think are reasonable. That said, due to its popularity, the restaurant is mostly packed and gathers long queues. This can, though not necessarily, result in inconsistency and very slow service.

But, for what it’s worth, I enjoyed my meal at ML during its quiet hours. And this is how much I ate…






(now where’s the diet pill?)


GO FOR: Grease. Cheese. Meat. And cocktail.

(read about new rating here)


74 Welbeck Street

Tel. 020 7224 4239
MEATliquor on Urbanspoon