I’ll be honest, this probably isn’t what the internet really needed – another f*cking burger restaurant blog post, but I thought I’d share my two cents on the matter. There is still so much hype about ‘luxury fast food’, and contrary to the predictions from the 2013 preview article in Time Out, rather than dying down, the business is only getting bigger. Meat Liquor is still branching out, there are ‘Wishbones’ to snap in Brixton and the burger wars across central London are showing no sign of relenting. Typically, I would say that this isn’t really my scene. However, like many of us, I’ve been drawn in by all the noise and have ended up spending my hard earned money on glorified grease.
So far, only one establishment has really blown my mind. Honest Burger has completely changed my outlook on burgers. I genuinely steer clear of what has now become riff-raff from gastropubs and other restaurants, as they just don’t match up to it. From Honest they are so thick, juicy and perfectly rare. If that sounds slightly pornographic, that’s because it probably is a little bit. The chips don’t let it down either. Skin on, rosemary salt and starting at £7.50 for the combination, really isn’t too bad value for the pairing when you look at the pricing of their competitors.
In my opinion, there are clear winners and losers in this game. Sometimes it’s the eateries, and sometimes it’s the customers. Today I feel a little bit like a loser, as I feel the contents of my Shake Shack pass through the pores on my forehead. I’ve always been bemused by the length of the queues outside the likes of Shake Shack and Five Guys. I’ve always said to myself I wouldn’t be one of those people. Unfortunately though, my attempt to taste another Honest Burger was thwarted by kitchen refurbishment. Having built up a craving and desire to have an awesome burger we decided to see what all the fuss is about and become one of ‘them’.
I don’t think it was worth it. Rik’s description of the place is probably the most astute account: “it’s nice, but nothing special. Just a slightly better version of Burger King or McDonalds.” The main difference is a meal here will set you back three or four times more than those two.
After 15 minutes of queuing, five minutes of waiting after ordering and parting with £16.50, I received my double SmokeShack™, cheese fries and a concrete (which I thought would be a thick milkshake, but disappointingly I found out that it was just a small pot of ice cream: an overstated McFlurry). Once again, I was unimpressed by the portion size and my first look at what I’d broken the (burger) bank for. All I have to say is that their website tells me I ingested more that 2,000 calories and it was nice, but not amazing. I will not be waiting in line again in the future.
Somehow these places are still drawing in the crowds. My starting position remains unchanged. This fad, with the exception of Honest Burger, isn’t for me. So to conclude, I’ll leave you with a graphical summary of how I feel about this artery blocking genre.