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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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)!

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