Saturday, 2 May 2015

Five Guys, Cardiff

I've never been much of a burger fan before, but the combination of starting this blog and the general explosion of great food places in Cardiff has definitely changed my mind. After discovering The Grazing Shed, the best burger I've ever had, there's no going back.

So I've been looking forward to the opening of Five Guys for some time, having heard a lot about them from various London blogs. An American export, this is true fast food. Placed in a prime position, it's in the Brewery Quarter, but only just, as it opens out onto Caroline Street. Or, for those in the know, Chip Alley.

A Saturday morning hangover and a sunny weekend promised, the Mr and I found ourselves with the perfect excuse to try out the new opening. In severe need of salty carbs and cheese, we drooled at the menu.

Luckily, I'd read up that the standard hamburger is actually a double hamburger, and that you have to order a 'little hamburger' for a single patty. I'm passing this important bit of information on to you, as I'd never have thought to order a 'little' anything, but it's actually just the average size. For me anyway!

In the end, I went for the little cheeseburger (£5.50) with little fries (£2.75). I found this to be pretty reasonable, about the same as a McDonald's (from what I remember). It was more than enough food for me, and you know I can eat. I've heard a few people say how expensive it was, but if you're ordering large fries and a standard burger, It'd soon add up.

All toppings from then on are inclusive, so this is where the 250,000 variations comes in. Apparently, there are over 250,000 possible ways to order a burger at Five Guys. This seriously appeals to the nerd in me! You decide on everything that piles into your burger, from standard burger toppings (lettuce, tomato, onions, gherkins) to relish, jalapenos, mushrooms and hot sauce.

I went for all the standard ones, plus a bit of mayo. I was suffering a little, after all.

I enjoyed the burger as a whole, especially all the toppings, which really helped make it a big juicy dribbly mess. The bun was the traditional squishy sesame seeded bun, which had become softer from being wrapped in foil. This cheered me up no end, as I absolutely detest the thick, dry white buns that stick to the roof of your mouth.

It's hard to say what the burger itself was like, as I'd got over excited at the huge toppings list. As a whole it came together well, but I found the patty was a bit dry and unexciting. For want of a better word, it was a bit like most other fast food burgers, 'grey'.

In the little paper cup, the chips were gorgeous. Crispy on the outside, with the skin left on, and fluffy and light on the inside, I couldn't get enough of these at first bite. The problem is that they are heavily pre-salted before given to you.

Now, I was hungover and in need of carbs and salt. I've also got naturally salty tastebuds, it's physically impossible for me to eat cucumber, chips or tomatoes without a liberal pinch or two. I always add more salt and vinegar to my chip shop bought chips when I get home.

And still, I couldn't finish these. Which was such a shame because I fell in love with them at first, but they were so salty that my mouth was starting to burn by the time I got to the bottom of the cup...

...and then I looked in the brown paper bag to see all these left in there. I don't think I've ever left chips before in my life.

Food aside, I haven't told you the best bit about Five Guys. The Coca Cola machine. I'm an unashamed Diet Coke addict, so this was the most exciting bit of technology ever. God Bless you America for this invention. With over 100 flavours possible, you could be here all day.

Under pressure from the queue behind me, I went for Diet Cherry Dr Pepper first time around, and then went back for a Fanta Grape. That was the hangover talking. It was the kind of sugar that I needed.

As far as the food goes, it's not in the same league as The Grazing Shed, and definitely doesn't use any local produce like they do. But it is what it is, a fast food dirty burger, and it does hit the spot. I want to go back purely to see if I'm man enough to have the biggest burger "all the way", i.e. with all the toppings, and to play with the Coke machine again.

Remains to be seen whether it'll beat good ol' Dorothy's cheese and chips when I'm faced with both on Chip Alley after a few shandies...

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