Shake shack – hum…

For a few year now, a myriad of new Burger places have been popping around in the UK. From pub/gourmet to a more fast-food experience, it seems that the main brands from the United States are n, that are not MacDonalds or Burger King, are now here.

I was informed that shake shack has opened in the Convent Garden Market, very near to the other main competitor.

Had to go there to see what the fuss was all about.

It operates in a very peculiar fashion.
You get into the queue from on side of the restaurant, a very nice chap is singing at the door and handing out menus, you get inside the restaurant, order and get out at the other side with a remote alarm which will vibrate when it’s ready.

The order was for a double bacon cheese burger which name I can’t recall, some cheddar fries and a drink called 50/50, which is tea and lemonade. Cost is roughly £15

Firstly, the burger.
Have you ever had one of those Burger King Angus?
It’s exactly the same, but the kicker on this case, is that it costs twice as much and doesn’t taste any different.
The meat is OK, nothing fancy, the bun is all right and cheese is fine. The fries are pretty much McCain crinkles.

And that’s about it. Really.
It’s an expensive version Burger King and that’s all there is to say about the meal.

The staff , however, is outstanding.
The waiter on front was very happy about doing his job, the staff in the restaurant is nice and polite, the service is fast”ish”, and they will even find you in the middle of the Market to bring an unfinished order.

I’ll have to come back someday to try the shakes.

Food – 3/5
Choice of drinks – 4.5/5
Service – 5/5
Location – 5/5

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O Honorato, Lisbon – A must go

Finishing off a rather small Lisbon tour would need a visit to another very recommended burger restaurant, called Honorato, Hambuguers Artesanais.
Also a somewhat new restaurant, but a totally different vibe. It’s a mix of restaurant with a upscale bar, where they serve loads of Gin cocktails and coincidently, hamburgers (yay!).

There are a few locations, but the one I tried was in Rua de Santa Marta which is a very central location in Lisbon.

It’s a busy place. Some 35 minutes until it was possible to get a table.

First thing to mention, is that the service is a bit slow. 15 minutes until the drinks came it’s too much.
Good selection of natural juices.

I had a lemon and ginger juice, which was very tasty.

The only selection for starters I was made aware of ( The menu is much too spartan-like, with only burgers and nothing else), was the Coxinhas de Frango.

What a good starter. The chicken meat was well processed and it had a powerful cheese taste.

A good deal of time later, the burger came. The selection was a “X-Tudo”, a bacon cheeseburger with a fried egg on top (seems like a recurrent theme withing new burgers places in Lisbon)

The burger patty is smaller than the buns that will mean that the first bite does not pick anything else than bread and lettuce. Second bite, though, much different.
The bacon comes first, and it is crispy and intensely smoked. The meat comes second and fills all the space in the mouth with a top quality, well-seasoned meat. Fried eggs should come standard with a bacon cheeseburgers. Always.

Fries wise, they seem to be home-made, but nothing special about them. Tasteless and devoid of character. The mayo helped a lot.

The burger was so good, I craved another one.
They serve

And in my opinion, this one is better than the regular.

Summing all up, Honorato has one of the best hamburgers I’ve ever tasted. Unfortunately the experience is somewhat less powerful considering the awfully dull fries and the long wait for service when seated.
Focusing only on the hamburger, it is a must-taste.

If you ever go to Lisbon, try them out. Be prepared for the service, though.

Food – 4.65/5
Choice of drinks – 4/5
Service – 3/5
Location – 5/5

Triple Cheesemas – Byron (Ho ho ho)

This December, Byron launched the most un-Christmas-y hamburger ever. There’s no reindeer meat or turkey between gingerbread buns.
Just two 6oz hamburgers with three different cheeses and a spicy sauce. Which is fine by me!

The burger itself is a tower oozing with cheese, that instead of being called “Triple Cheesemas” should have been called “triple bypass” or “I hate having low cholesterol”.
Still, fine by me!

There’s lettuce in there too, so it should make it a bit healthier.

Back from the last time, the grill seem to have improved, at least for this burger. I asked for medium-rare, and it came medium. Better than the well-done from last time.
With that, the flavour of the meat became more pronounced, as it had more juices from a less cooked patty.
The cheese choices were well thought. All the cheeses are noticeable and mingle well with the meat.
Byron’s sauce is also good. Slightly spicy, but not too much.
However, with loads of juices and sauces flowing around, having a go at this burger without a fork and a knife is downright impossible. The buns get too soaked and start to desintegrate.

All together, they make an enjoyable hamburger, albeit, not too healthy I assume.
Price too high at 12, but I’m sure some will pay for the novelty (like myself).

As for drinks,

Dale’s Pale Ale.
At first it seems smooth and sweet, but the flavour gets very hoppy and bitter.

Food – 4.25/5
Choice of drinks – 3.5/5
Service – 4.25/5
Location – 5/5

Five Guys Burgers and Fries’ cheeseburger – Covent Garden

Five guys was always an unicorn to me.
Only available on another continent. Always told it is a hamburger with no match. Always told to try it.

The first time I have heard from it was on youtube through the user Daym Drops on this video.

Well, fortunetely, it was an unicorn.
I was informed that Five guys have opened a few restaurants in the UK, including one in Central London, Covent Garden.
Isn’t that just lucky?

After some 30 minutes commuting, I got to their place, which has a rather bland look.

The interior is also basic. Red and white.

But once inside, there is a vibe in the air that tells that the burger is good.
Everywhere on the walls there are reviews from Journals, magazines, blogs saying that their burger is exceptional.

Right away, I can say, that the kitchen is exceptional.
The kitchen is in front of every one to see. It is an open style kitchen that always to see what the guys are doing.

Since the bacon cheese burger over there always receives high praise, I had to know what it is all about.

The meal chosen was:
Bacon Cheese burger (the large one) with grilled mushrooms. I’m pretty sure I could have chosen more toppings.
Cajun Fries (was recommended)
Bottomless Coke.

Receipt says: 14 pounds.

So, after a few minutes waiting on the line, this is what they give you.

I’m pretty sure the last time I saw a brown bag it was hiding booze. Or drugs. Or both. But matter not, let’s look inside.

Are you seriously going to serve me a burger that cost me just shy of 9 pounds on tin foil???

Setting that aside, and unrapping the foil

That is a good looking burger. It is oozing cheese and has a heavenly smell.

But the taste…
I had a reaction similar to this.

(Copyright by Pixar)

The first bite left me speechless.
It seemed that the way the burger is presented was some kind of clever plot to lower the expectations and then having hammer falling on the head.

The bun is moist. The meat is succulent and fills the all the space in the mouth. The cheese is there to round up the taste and the grilled mushrooms were done just right.

I take it all back with my tin-foil comments and brown bags. Keep them. Please, keep them!

This burger is, without a shadow of a doubt, crack cocaine on a sandwich format.
If I had a golden burger award picture, I would have posted it already.

But it doesn’t end here, oh no.
There is more and it is just as good.

The fries

A huge portion of it.

These are some sexy fries over here.
So sexy, they deserved a zoom

These are not only sexy, but they also have character.
Spicy. Well fried with skin-on. A bite will land a haymaker on the face. They are the best fries out there.
Full-stop.

I don’t usually go for seconds.
This meal didn’t need seconds… but this is crack-cocaine.

So, since Five guys also offer “mini” hamburgers, a mini cheeseburger was the choice.

First impression was “that isn’t a mini hamburger. That is a space-sta… almost the size of a big mac!”.
And it tastes the same as the bacon cheeseburger!

Same quality meat, left me speechless yet again.

To wrap things up.

This restaurant won’t win any prizes with appeal, looks, marketing and presentation but who cares?

The greased brown bag and the tin-foiled hamburger is part of the experience and despite this shady look it wins on all relevant departments: Taste, attention to detail and customer satisfaction
Five guys, as far as I’m aware, have their marketing done by word of mouth. The burger is *that good*. And they deserve every bit of praise.

If this isn’t a perfect burger, it is very close.

Food – 4.75/5
Choice of drinks – 2.5/5
Service – 4.25/5
Location – 5/5

Try this.You won’t regret it!

Mo Shroom – Byron @ Westfield Shepard’s Bush

Byron is a well known Burger Restaurant chain in the United Kingdom.
As a restaurant, they offer a up-market look reminiscent of 1950’s diners, but center themselves heavily on Hamburgers.

This particular restaurant was my first contact with more “gourmet” hamburgers in the UK (read, non-fast-food). The staff is always polite and professional.
This month, particularly, they are supporting Movember, and like in previous years, there is a burger done to support it.

Enter the Mo shroom.

At first a bit unimpressive.

It is basically a Emmenthal cheese, cheeseburger with sliced Portobello mushrooms.

Like all Byron’s burgers, the buns have no sesame or seeds and are grilled for few moments. My top bun had to much char on the bread, leaving the distinctive burnt taste on it.

The cross-section shows that for a medium-rare burger patty, as I requested, it had no pink whatsoever. Even though the meat is very high-quality, it was too cooked, leaving the meat dry.
A shame.

The burger itself was well-thought. The portobello mushroom makes a good combination with the meat and sauce, having a warmer presence when eating it.

Maybe the best Movember burger they made up to this day, in my opinion.

Fries-wise…
Nothing fancy about them. Well fried and well-salted. Too “yellow” for my taste.

As a restaurant, Byron offers a small choice of beers and other alcoholic beverages.
They used to have Tatcher’s ciders, but have changed it to Pipsqueak (why the hell would you do that!?)

So, from the choice I had, this was the one

Brew Dog Punk IPA

First things first.
The can.
If I ever passed by one of these on a supermarket, I would think this is some kind of Asian beverage/soda.
The can is dramatic and different. Very nice appeal.

As an IPA, it’s a regular one. Persistent Lemongrass taste. Zesty. Good initial carbonation, but the head doesn’t last a bit.
3.5/5

A meal will set you back, typically 15 pounds per person. That includes a burger, fries and drinks.
This particular burger was 10 pounds.

The scores are

Food – 4.25/5
Choice of drinks – 3.5/5
Service – 4.25/5
Location – 5/5

I would rate more on the meat, but the medium-rares I ask, are *never* medium-rare.
A shame, as the meat is really good, but there is no moisture left to give it the taste I like about beef.I will come back to this place, and someone said the one from Clapham Junction is better.
Who knows?

Revolution – Richmond

Richmond is a wonderful place.

Even though it’s part of the Greater London, it doesn’t seem that way. It still looks, despite some modern buildings and big brand stores, like an idyllic village.
The river and the closeness to the Nature makes it a nice to place to shop, walk, chill and eat out.

Just next to the Thames there are various restaurants, and one of them is the Revolution Richmond.


Photo from the http://www.rhcamra.org.uk website.

The Revolution restaurants build their image around Vodka and vodka based/inspired foods and drinks. Using mainly the brand Stolichnaya they have a big offering of vodka cocktails.
But, despite all of that, there is also a good selection of bottled and draft ciders, beers and other drinks.

As for the food I normally go there for the pizza or the burgers.

This is the Peppercorn burger

I should say it is a strange offering.
In essence it’s a cheddar-cheese cheeseburger with onion rings and peppercorn sauce on the side.

The burger itself is really good. A fresh salad with a slightly sweet bun and very good quality beef patty, giving it a good crunch.
Definitely a high quality meat there with the cook knowing what he was doing.

The cheddar used wasn’t the best selection, in my opinion.

And why is this a peppercorn burger?
Because of the peppercorn sauce, of course!
It had a ready-made sauce base with some more pepper for extra “zing” which didn’t really connect with the burger itself, but it was a nice sauce for the fries. ´

Speaking of fries, they were very well fried, crispy with almost no soft flesh in the middle.

Overall, a nice burger but with a taste disconnect. It is a cheeseburger and the sauce isn’t appropriate.
The peppercorn sauce was mainly to give it a “gourmet” taste but that isn’t it’s place in my opinion.

Orchard Pig Reveller

For straight up cider I am more of a Tatcher’s guy and this Somerset cider (like Tatcher’s) is very similar.
Fresh, fruity, sweet and lightly acid.

Nice taste with persistent light carbonation.

In short a fresh cider that combines well with this sort of food and can be drank to enjoy at any time, as the taste profile isn’t complex.

Food – 4.25/5
Choice of drinks – 5/5
Service – 4/5
Location – 5/5

The White House – Guildford

A friend of mine was recommended this pub by some colleagues.
Just some hundred meters away from the high street and convenient to get to.

Inside is tidy and well kept pub. Very cosy.

There is a good selection of pub foods and various drinks.
I ended up getting the Texan Monty which has Monterey jack and bacon.

And this is the burger:

First I noticed was the onion ring. That’s not an onion ring!
That’s a battered half onion!

Huge to say the least. But it was as tasty as the size of it. For an onion ring.

Now for the burger

As mentioned before, it’s a Bacon Cheese Burger. Monterey Jack and the crispy bacon always are always a good team. I still like cheddar more in a burger, but the choice of ingredients was good, except for the onion which was a bit acidic.
The patty was medium-rare. Very tender and tasty. Nice seasoning with a spicy zing in the end.
Good texture. Good enough to make you want for more.

The sesame bun was well chosen. Soft, with good texture.

Normally I steer away from a pub-burger when there is some sort of advertisement to a a well known ale maker. The quality of the burgers, generally speaking, leave a lot be desired.
Definitely not the case here.

Now speaking of Ale

Honey Dew!

How was I able to let this past by me for so long?
Has a nice honey flavour without bringing too much sweetness into it. Very smooth palate and easy to drink.
Just perfect when feasting on a burger like that.

MissLilly – I had the Pumpkin & Wild Mushroom Ravioli, and it was really nice.  At first seems a quite small portion, but it’s very filling. Creamy enough and tasty. It’s a good option too if you don’t fancy a burger.

Go there.
Very good place to go. And very well staffed.

Food – 4.5/5
Choice of drinks – 4/5
Service – 5/5
Location – 5/5

P.S. The Focaccia bread was horrible. Avoid.