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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Jam Jar Kitchens

I know that when I think of somewhere outside of Glasgow to get a good quality bite to eat, Cardross would not be the first place that pops into my head. For those not familiar with Cardross, it’s a village just outside of Helensburgh & home to Jam Jar Kitchens. As with a lot of eateries, I came across Jam Jar Kitchens via Twitter & kept an eye on their wares through both Twitter & Facebook. It is the brain child of Masterchef the Professionals contestant, David Hetherington, formerly of Riverhill Deli (the original & sister of the Glasgow one).

Jam Jar Kitchens

We decided to pop along for lunch last Saturday on our way back from visiting family in Helensburgh as the restaurant is only open until 5pm. At the start of every month, Jam Jar Kitchens runs an evening menu the first Friday & Saturday for a set price & BYOB, showcasing . Their facebook page is a constant tease, showcasing their unique cakes (Oreo Muffins!!), weekly specials & monthly evening menus so I was desperate to pay a visit! The restaurant itself is quite cosy, as you would expect in a village like Cardross. The restaurant is decorated with lots of quirky & unique touches like a herb box filled with fresh herbs at the back window, Scottish themed cushions on the seats & a selection of different handwashes in the toilet.

Decoration

Herb Boz

The menu is a reasonable size for a restaurant of this size, offering breakfast options, a range of sandwiches & some hot dishes as well as homemade cakes. That week I had been eyeing up their special – philly cheesesteak & pizza fries so opted for that. It arrived & the portion was pretty big for one person! The philly cheesesteak was phenomenal. Honestly, I was struggling to think of words to describe it afterwards. It was filled with strips of fresh steak, grated cheese & a tomato-chilli jam which gave it a nice zing. I was initially disappointed with the pizza fries as they didn’t have a lot of #”pizza” topping. However, as soon as I started munching, it was evident there was topping spread throughout the portion of fries but just enough so the chips were not soggy. I have an issue with saturation with things like chips so they were ideal for me. Again, there was a slight chilli flavour to the tomato sauce, I suspected the same as on the cheesesteak, which added a nice flavour element to the fries.

Philly Cheesesteak

Pizza Fries

A opted for a crayfish marie rose sandwich which arrived in a giant foccacia casing. I had a bite of it & the sauce was really tasty, again with a slight chilli hint adding a twist to it. It was filled to the brim & after finishing the sandwich, A had loads of surplus crayfish remaining! The one part of the meal that I have to take my hat off to Jam Jar Kitchens for is their coleslaw. I don’t know about anyone else but my most favourite coleslaw in the world is Marks & Spencers coleslaw & Jam Jar Kitchens offering, in my opinion, rivals it! I never thought it would be possible to find anywhere that did a better coleslaw than M&S!!

Crayfish Sandwich

Coleslaw

Although Cardross is a bit outside of Glasgow & the outskirts, it is relatively easy to get to by train on the Helensburgh line, with the restaurant a short walk from the train station. If you’re looking for a filling lunch or a different dinner experience away from the big city, I would hands down recommend Jam Jar Kitchens.

Serving Board

The Shandon Belles – Two Fat Ladies

The Two Fat Ladies is a prominent name in the Glasgow restaurant scene & I always remembering being fascinated with the fish decor in their original restaurant on Dumbarton Road. Last week we visited their bistro for dinner along with our parents.

The Shandon Belles is in a strange location, between the now hip area of Finnieston & the hustle & bustle of the City Centre without actually being in Charing Cross. It’s located right next to Anderston station, in the same building as The Buttery but round the corner & downstairs. Still with me after that? Great! The Shandon Belles is what I would class as Two Fat Ladies more affordable restaurant. They offer a seasonal menu, changing monthly, that offers 2 courses for £15 & 3 courses for £18. If you want wine included, you can add on a half bottle for another £6 – what a bargain! The decor of the restaurant reminded me of your gran’s house, quite homely with lots of knick knacks dotted around the place! (Maybe this is because my gran & granda also had a brass eagle like the one in the pic below)

Shandon Belles Decor

The menu is quite varied, with a good mix of vegetarian, meat & fish dishes despite only having a few dishes on offer for each course. I couldn’t resist the Spanish Frittata with Chorizo & garlic mayonnaise to start. Earlier in the week I had attempted to make a frittata that was severely lacking in eggs & when this one came out, it put mine to shame! It was full of veg & strong chorizo, surrounded by fluffy, well cooked eggs. I love my mayo & I love garlic & the garlic mayo accompanying this dish was one of the best I’ve ever tasted! It was so fresh had the right amount of garlic to not be overpowering but to get a good taste of it that it didn’t detract from the flavour of the frittata. I also pinched a bit of my mum’s starter – hummus with breadsticks. From the shape of the breadsticks, it was obvious that they were homemade which was a nice touch & the hummus had quite a smooth texture compared to others I’ve tried but was tasty & seasoned well.

Spanish Frittata  Hummus with Breadsticks

Deciding on a main was hard as they had a fillet of cod wrapped in parma ham, roast supreme of chicken with moroccan cous cous, salmon with pepperonata, steak & chips & sea bream on offer. How could I possibly choose just one dish from all of that?! In the end, I opted for the daily fish special of sea bream with creamed leeks & bacon. The fish arrived & there were 3 decent sized fillets of fish, perfectly seasoned with sea salt & crispy skin that broke apart once I cut into it. The creamed leeks didn’t really offer anything to the dish as the fish was so full of flavour. Each main is accompanied with a dish of potatoes & seasonal veg. When they arrived, as there was 6 of us, I was surprised we had only been given 2 dishes to share between us. However, halfway through my main, I realised why as I was struggling to finish.

Mixed VegSea Bream

The waitress gave us a good rest between our mains & deciding on desserts. As you know I’m not normally a dessert person but after a wait, I decided to go for the Scottish cheeseboard. It arrived with some Arran oatcakes, blue cheese, smoked garlic cheese & brie. All 3 portions of cheese were delicious & fresh, with the Brie being exceptionally good. The only downside of the board was the lack of butter which meant eating the other 2 cheeses was a bit dry.

Scottish Cheeseboard

If you’re looking for a good, affordable meal full of fresh Scottish ingredients & seasonal flavours, this is definitely the place to go! I’m hoping that we can pop along next month to try out September’s offerings!