Review: Five Guys

If you’ve been following me on social media you’ll know I have been eagerly awaiting the opening of Glasgow’s first Five Guys restaurant. My love affair with Five Guys started in 2010 when I was living in New York whilst working & it was hands down the best burger I’ve ever eaten in my life at that time. When they moved across the pond to London last year, it was only natural that we popped in when briefly visiting after our mini-moon.

Five Guys

Fast forward to December 2014 & I was eager to visit Five Guys despite the over-saturation of burger outlets in Glasgow. I mean 4 within a block of each other, is there really much need? Because of the time of year, we didn’t get a chance to pop in until the Christmas holidays. The first thing I did notice was the lack of queue, which was surprising given both times I’d been to the London branch, I’d had to queue before being served. I guess it’s more than likely in part to so many burger choices nearby.

Kitchen

If you haven’t been to Five Guys, the best way I can describe it is the best fast food burger you’ll ever have. They offer burgers & hot dogs (I’ve never tried the latter) & their selling point is that toppings are free. Yes, you heard right, FREE! This includes an array of sauces, onions (two ways), chillies & a few other salad choices. If you’re stuck for choice, you can opt for “All The Way” where you get all toppings in black on your burger.

Toppings

The restaurant itself is a typical fast food joint – tables dotted around, food served on a tray & clear your own table type affair. For soft drinks, Five Guys provide self-service Coca Cola company machines that provide 100s of different options for soft drinks such as coke, fanta & sprite in various flavours. Thanks to the array of choice, I had to queue for a soft drink for 10 minutes which I’d never done in any other branch.
When you order, you’re given a ticket & once your order is ready, you collect once your ticket is shouted.

Soft Drinks

I opted for a cheeseburger with hot sauce, mayo, mustard, jalapenos & grilled onions. Each burger comes wrapped in foil & has 2 patties as default. As soon as I sank my teeth into it, I was transported back to that first burger I’d had by Five Guys. It was as juicy & full of flavour as I had remembered, with more kudos that the jalapenos were fresh which gave it an added bite. I will admit, however, that it did taste very similar to the Cali Burger I’d had from Bread Meats Bread earlier in the year.

Burger

Fries

Another cherished memory I’d had of Five Guys was their cajun fries, which are fried in low fat peanut oil to give them a distinct flavour. Previously, the fries I’d had were served in a brown paper bag & had soaked through the bag, making them more tempting. On this occasion, I wasn’t overly impressed as the fries were a bit soggy & not as moreish as I’d had in previous branches (apologies for the rubbish pic above).

Burger

A final point to make about our experience was that, for 2 cheeseburgers, a regular fries (they come in 2 sizes – small, regular & large), a soft drink & a corona, it came to over £26. Some people have commented that you are paying restaurant prices for a fast food joint. I agree with this to some extent in that it does seems a bit more compared to other burger joints nearby but for me, the taste & quality of the burger reminds me why I’m happy to pay that bit more.

Sign

Plus Points – Tasty burger, no queue to get served, novelty soft drinks dispenser
Not so Plus Points – a tad expensive for fast food, queueing for soft drinks

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The Raven

The Raven opened its doors last week & we were lucky enough to go along for a preview before it opened. The Raven is the newest offering from Maclay Inn (of Dram!, Munros & The Hope fame), in the site of the infamous Bay Horse pub site on renfield street.

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The bar itself is quite airy, with a large bar to the left when you walk in. They have an extensive range of craft beers which is obvious from the moment you enter. There is an open kitchen to the back right & upstairs is another large area. One thing I did like about the bar was that they had stripped back one of the walls so it is plain brick as it was meant to be.

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When asked to go along, the blurb emphasised their focus on smoked, slow cooked food. To be honest, I feel this is totally overdone & Glasgow needs a new direction for food. However, I’m pleased to say that The Raven showed me that some places can still do American style food well. Before I go on, we did get craft beer tasters to accompany each dish but as I’m not a beer drinker, I’ve left this out as I couldn’t comment on the matching.

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First up was some nachos, plain & beef chilli. I’ll be honest, I didn’t really like them. The nachos were quite large & a weird consistency. There was also a lack of cheese & only a handful of jalapenos – not one I would order again. Next up was the smoked platter which consists of half a slow cooked chicken, pulled pork & a rack of ribs accompanied by corn on the cob & red cabbage slaw. The platter is huge & can easily feed 2-3 people. At £17 as well, it’s a bargain! The chicken was really tender & fell off the bone, as did the ribs. My favourite was pulled pork which I’ve admitted before isn’t my favourite. This pork was juicy & had a Smokey, bbq flavour that was quite moreish. To accompany the platter, every table has a range of sauces from hot sauce to bbq to honey & mustard. Hot sauce on the table is also a thumbs up from me!

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We then tasted some of the sliders. I had half of a cheeseburger which was a decent burger but not one to write home about. What did get my eye was the Mac n cheese slider. Yes, macaroni in a burger! It was a deep fried macaroni patty in a bun with the usual suspects. It was quite messy, falling apart as soon as I bit into it but the Mac n cheese was tasty but not too creamy. Definitely a heart attack in a slider!

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We also tried the fries & sweet potato fries, with the sweet potato ones winning my vote as they were crispy yet fluffy & very moreish. Wings were also on offer in bbq, super hot & plain (who orders plain wings?!). We were far too stuffed from the food we’d already tried so I only tried a super hot wing which aren’t on the menu & were just a test for the previews. I’d have to say I’m glad they aren’t because they need some working on the taste. Normally you’d associate hot wings with a buffalo toe sauce but these were more of a Moroccan harrissa type taste which was a bit strange.

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I can definitely see me popping back into The Raven since the smoked platter was so reasonable for how much food you get. And a glass of bubbles for under £4 is always tempting!

Bread Meats Bread – Revisit

In autumn last year, we visited Bread Meats Bread at one of their pre-launch evenings & came away with a so-so view. Since then, I’d heard good reviews from friends and more recently, my sister who visited recently for dinner.

From their Facebook posts, I’d seen a mention of their new specials, American style burgers celebrating burgers in 3 American regions for the next 3 weeks. This week is California & they are offering an In n Out burger style effort (somewhere I am dying to go) & it sounded pretty good. Last night, James vs Burger put up a post declaring it as the best burger he’s ever eaten in Glasgow so I knew it was worth checking out.

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We popped along this afternoon (literally left there 20 mins ago) & decided to try the burger. It’s a 3oz patty with cheese, salad & burger sauce & you can get it either regular or mustard fried. It comes in 3 sizes, 2×2, 3×3 & 4×4. I know the description doesn’t sound like anything special but believe me it is! We went for the 3×3 mustard fried & split it between us.

I have to say the burger was fantastic! The meat was juicy, burger sauce was moreish & bun was just right, not too bready (nothing worse than a burger where you get more bread than meat). We honestly sat in silence devouring our burger, neither putting it down once. That’s a first for us!! The Cali burgers is only available until tomorrow so you have to be quick!

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We also opted for the pepperoni burger which can be best described as a burger pizza. What more could you possibly want? It is bread meats bread red label burger made with spicy n’duja sausages accompanied with spicy sausage, pepperoni sauce & mozzarella on a garlice brioche. The burger was spicy but not overly that the flavours from the toppings was lost. The garlic brioche was a disappointment as you could barely taste the garlic. A bit more sauce wouldn’t have gone a miss but overall, another tasty burger.

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For sides we had sweet potato fries & onion rings with a dip of scotchbonnaise. I love sweet potatoes anyways but the fries were so moreish. I could’ve eaten a full bowl! The onion rings tasted a bit like a fusion of batter & breadcrumbs, which worked well. Unfortunately, the scotchbonnaise was lacking in any real heat & was more like a slightly Cajun mayo.

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Next week is a homage to the New Jersey slider & the following week is New York’s black label burger (Nigella Lawson’s favourite). The guys at bread meats bread have really upped their game since opening & it’s much improved since we last visited. Be prepared to wait though. We waited 15 mins but it was worth it!!