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

Advertisements

BRGR

Burgers, burgers, burgers – that’s all that seems to be happening with the Glasgow food scene at the moment. I have to admit, when I heard yet another burger joint was opening, my heart sank a bit. But as with any new establishment, I was intrigued to see what they can offer that’s different to others & was happy to be invited along to a blogger event they were holding.

BRGR should not be mixed up with the London chain, BRGR co. The name BRGR actually stands for Black Rabbit Great (Western) Road, keeping the spirit of the prior Black Rabbit premises alive through the name. BRGR is the brainchild of Chris who decided to replace Black Rabbit into a burger place following a flood which ruined much of the interior of Black Rabbit in June.

Although not a large venue, BRGR already has it’s own character that it evident when you walk in. This is in part thanks to the reclaimed furniture & decorations used to kit out the venue. The lights are reclaimed & refurbished, the chairs are old school chairs & my favourite part is the crates used to border the stairs. Not only are these old crates, but they are actually antiques which were handpicked by Chris himself & then broken up to create this amazing structure.

Decor

Now down to the food. I’ve actually been talking with a few people about this since I visited BRGR. When you go to a burger place, you often find it’s either the burger itself or the overall package that seals the deal for you. For me, BRGR won me over with the overall package. The menu is relatively small, with 8 burgers ( 3 beef, 2 chicken, 1 lamb & 1 veggie), a kid’s menu & a host of sides. Some thought has went into the burger names to give them a quirky, tongue in cheek name such as “A Special O’Cajun”, “The Shroom with a Pew” & my favourite, “The Barbie…Ken?”.

BRGR

I opted for “The Hot Coo”, which as the name suggests was their spicier offering with a spicy beef patty, salami, cheese, chipolte mayo, roast jalapenos & salad. The patty itself was slightly salty, which I quite liked & was clearly made from steak mince as it was a bit meatier than other burgers I had. The salami again was slightly salty but has such a nice, almost smokey flavour to it that it nicely accompanied the chipolte mayo. My favourite part of it was the use of fresh jalapenos. Most restaurants think nothing of opening a jar & flinging on a few pickled jalapenos & charging £1+ for it but BRGR have went the extra mile, using fresh ingredients.

Burgers

Now the sides, where do I start? There are loads to choose from- fries to wings to slaw & salad – & we were lucky to try all of them. The stand-out sides for me were:

  • Sweet Potato Fries – crispy yet fluffy & pre seasoned. Possibly the best I’ve ever tasted
  • Onion Rings – the batter was like, almost tempura like & it didn’t fall apart as soon as you bit into it
  • Corn on the Cob with Jalapeno Butter – you may automatically think it would be spicy because of the jalapeno butter but it actually provided a nice, sweet & smokey flavour that worked so well with the natural sweetness of the corn
  • Coleslaw – another place that has put a lot of thought & refinement into their coleslaw recipe. It is creamy with a hint of garlic which makes it stand out from the rest

Sides

As you can tell I was really impressed with BRGR & the amount of thought that has went into each element of every dish they have. But it doesn’t end there! No, they also have created a “Hawder”, which if you’re Scottish, is as it sounds, it’s a holder for your burger to stop it falling out & your hands getting so messy. A total ingenious invention & worked a treat!! Their milkshakes also deserve a mention – 4 scoops of Crolla ice cream with some milk, with flavours from traditional vanilla & chocolate to modern classics such as kinder & cookies & cream (Oreo) available, not to mention some boozy options with spirits such as Kahlua & Kraken Rum.

Milkshake

Given its location, I think BRGR has a promising future as there are no dedicated burger outlets in that area of the West End, given Ketchup is a good 15-20 mins walk away. Coupled with the fact that they do take away, it is sure to be a hit with local businesses for lunch time munchies! I’m already planning my next trip as I have to try the cajun chicken burger (I have a slight obsession)!

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.

image

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.

image

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.

image

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!

image

image

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!

image

image

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.

image

image

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!