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12 July 2013

The Burger Bulletin: Shake Shack Covent Garden

Since July 4th, when I was forced to watch Shake Shack's London launch party through a lovely white picket fence (#middleclassproblems), I've had serious burger envy. Specifically, Shack Burger envy. My curiosity was also piqued by the series of reviews in the UK press of the new Shake Shack and its more commercialised cousin Five Guys, which also opened its first London branch last week, particularly the Grauniad, which, presumably in an attempt to be controversial, gave Shake Shack and Five Guys a combined total of 3/5, compared to, say, Patty & Bun's 4.5/5.

Shake Shack, Covent Garden

Queuing in the sunshine

After a long day in the office yesterday, the sun was still shining, so I commandeered The Bro and we went down  to Shake Shack's home in the Covent Garden Piazza. At 6.30 pm, there was a fairly big queue, but unlike Meat Liquor et al., Shake Shack is on the faster side of fast food, so we were eating within about 20 minutes of joining the queue. In the Madison Square Park branch, you can join a separate line if you just want a shake or fries and this is also the plan for Covent Garden, but at the moment, there is just one-queue-fits-all. You order at the counter and are then give a buzzer that vibrates when your order is ready. When The Bro went round to pick up our food from the side window, though, they decided it was too heavy for him to manage so they carried it back to our table. It doesn't seem like the best system, but they'll figure it out.

Ready to order 

We both ordered Shack Burgers (single for me, double for The Bro): a cheeseburger with lettuce, tomato and Shack Sauce. The tomato was fresh (and not an end bit) and unlike the Grauniad, I quite liked my soft almost sweet bun. The main attraction is the burger, though, and the burgers are good. We weren't asked how we would like them cooked and I forgot to ask, but I would say that they came as a juicy medium, which suited me fine. And I love the Shack Sauce too. In sum, the burger was a lot like the ones I've tried many times in Manhattan.

Another healthy dinner.

Shack Burger (single).

The crinkle-cut fries were fine, but nothing special. You could easily share the fries between two if you wanted to have a shake or concrete (very thick frozen custard) instead — or another burger. Today, though, I wanted to focus on the burger so I'll have to go back for pudding on another occasion. Overall, we paid £22 for two burgers, fries and two drinks, which isn't exactly cheap, but reasonable enough for Covent Garden.

People-watching.

Love the menu.

Shake Shack have actually commandeered two adjacent outlets within the market hall: one where they make the food and one with some seats. At the moment, you can also sit on the cobbled terrace of Covent Garden, sheltering from the sunlight beneath huge parasols, and watching Covent Garden go by. Yes, there are definitely far worse places to be on a sunny summer evening.

Shake Shack London. 24 Market Building, The Piazza, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 8RD (Tube: Covent Garden). Website. Twitter.

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