This US chain was the hands-down winner of the American burger invasion from the early 2010s and has established itself as a familiar presence on high streets not only in London but around the UK.
It’s a simple formula, pitched halfway between the entry-level of McDonald’s and Burger King and the slightly more upmarket chains such as Byron and Honest Burgers. Queue up at the counter to place your order and then hang around for a few minutes while it’s cooked from scratch and delivered on a tray before finding your way to a table.
Burgers are what the place is most famous for, available as a plain patty, cheeseburger, bacon burger or bacon cheeseburger, and in two sizes. Where Five Guys is differs from its competitors is that you can have as many toppings as you like, from classic lettuce and mayo to racier items such as jalapeno peppers and hot sauce.
The temptation, of course, is to order everything, though we’d recommend you keep it simple. Our favourite topping is ketchup and raw onion, which allows you to appreciate the quality of the beef and also taste what you’re paying for: at £6.95 for the basic burger, Five Guys ain’t cheap, despite the wipe-clean red-and-white tiled surrounds that leave you in no doubt you’re eating in a fast-food restaurant without table service.
It’s not all about the burgers. There are hot dogs too (cheaper than the burgers), cheese and veggie sandwiches, plus French fries with the distinctive Five Guys flavour of having been cooked in peanut oil.
Another difference from some of its high-street competitors is that Five Guys is licensed to serve alcohol (Budweiser, Corona, Brooklyn Lager), though one of the excellent milkshakes is really the thing to drink here: not too thick, not too cold and in a range of flavours from vanilla and strawberry to salted caramel and Oreo cookie pieces, all with the option of being topped with whipped cream.