Drunken Review: Five Guys, Covent Garden

In Drunken Reviews, I aim to offer a unique perspective on some of London's hottest new establishments - that of a belligerent inebriate. This week, I headed to Five Guys, an imported American burger chain which has received mixed reviews from some self-appointed Internet food critics. I trusted that alcohol would provide me with a level of clarity and insight which other reviewers were simply unable to muster.

The preparatory drinks

It's even better in person

Looks delicious! Photo stolen from The Guardian.

About five or six pints (probably) at The Harp, a brilliant little pub near Trafalgar Square which you shouldn't go to because there's enough people there already, and you'd only just get in my way. My colleagues spent the majority of our time there complaining that they wanted food, but I selfishly cajoled them into staying as long as possible. This was my inaugural drunken review and I was determined to do it correctly (i.e. drunk).

After a while of presumably stimulating conversation (at one point I was asked to stop shouting by a member of staff), I began to stagger purposefully towards the restaurant, beckoning my famished colleagues to hurry up behind me.

The queue

Five Guys obnoxiously forced us to queue up outside the restaurant in a roped-off line, like a cross between a tawdry nightclub and a farmyard feeding trough. This was completely unnecessary as there was plenty of space inside and I can only assume it is done for cheap publicity by way of human window-dressing. Irked by my forced participation in this marketing charade, I deliberately acted like a drunken twat in a guerrilla attempt to damage the Five Guys brand as much as possible.

This must have worked because we were eventually ushered in to the restaurant by a staff member who appeared very happy to be working there despite the fact that he clearly couldn't have been. I found this crass Americanism disgusting, but before I could become fully enraged I was distracted by an offer of free peanuts, which soothed my nerves.

The menu

The Five Guys' menu is appealingly simple, especially considering I was pretty pissed by this point and in no fit state to be deciphering esoterically named nonsense like you might find in other fast food establishments. Although straightforward, the text of the menu was blurry and appeared to be swaying from side to side, a basic mistake in typography and graphic design which Five Guys would be wise to remedy.

Gluttony had emerged as my primary emotion at this point, so I decided on the bacon double cheeseburger. I added small fries as I was struck by a wave of temperance, which quickly gave way to an onset of stinginess, leading to me to forego a drink entirely. The bill was over a tenner, which if you think about it for a fast food hamburger is fucking ridiculous.

The most upsetting part of the ordering process was the selection of toppings for the burger. There was an array of unexciting options - tomatoes, lettuce, onions - but it was a wide array. Upset by being put on the spot and forced to make more decisions about things, I slurringly instructed the till person to give me whatever she thought best. She refused and insisted that I decide for myself, a horrible state of affairs which led to me panicking, picking three toppings at random and hastily retreating to cower at the back of the pick-up queue.

The ambience

Burger finally in hand (albeit tackily ensconced in tin foil), I approached the only available table in the place. A disgruntled looking girl was sat at it and I sought her permission to sit at the opposite end. I neglected to mention that five or six other people would shortly be joining me; information which I felt may have had an undue influence on her decision. She complained when they arrived, so I spent some time eloquently explaining the concepts of sharing and compromise to her. I was obviously convincing because she left shortly after.

The restaurant interior was sparse and dazzlingly bright, which made my eyes and head hurt. By this point I was fairly desperate for a piss but I valiantly decided to tackle the food before attending to my own needs. A true critic is nothing if not self-sacrificing.

The food

I don't remember what the burger was like to be honest. It can't have been revolting because I ate it all. I do remember it took me a while to finish, which was probably due to a combination of its large size and the impairment of my motor skills. The fries were very salty which made me regret my earlier drink-shunning frugality. Fortunately I was able to steal someone else's drink while he was in the toilet.

Looking at the Five Guys' menu online I note that my meal contained over 1500 calories, so even though I wasn't disgusted with it at the time, I am now.

The toilets

The toilets at Five Guys were excellent, and probably my favourite part of the evening. Pristinely maintained and equipped with dual Dyson Airblades™, they felt like a palatial oasis in a desert of second-rate bathroom facilities. Overwhelmed by relief, the urine streamed from my body like a majestic waterfall cascading down the cliffs of Shangri-La. While I can't pass reliable comment on the burgers, I can assure you that if you ever need a piss near Leicester Square Tube, Five Guys will not disappoint.

Permalink || Posted 1/9/2013 by Pete


  1. the man - 4/9/2013 - 10:51am

    Will all your drunken reviews be "I was too drunk to remember the food but I loved emptying my bladder". I feel like I should get inebriated before I read your blogs, mate.

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