This famous American burger chain opened its first branch in the UK in July 2013, 1 day before competitor ‘Shake Shack’ opened its first UK outlet just down the road. Serving sloppy American burgers, the two went head to head. Naturally, I had to try them both back to back.
I have no doubt in saying the burger and fries are better at five guys. This is not to say it’s the best burger you’ll ever eat. It’s still fast food, with an impressive production line (pictured), and patties are cooked from fresh not frozen. Toppings are free and numerous. If you get them all (as I did) your burger will fall apart and stuffing your hand onto your face will be the only way to polish it off.
The fries are loaded into a cup and intentionally served overflowing in the paper bag, you feel like you’re getting bonus fries. Go for Cajun fries if you like a little heat and flavour.
It’s messy, it’s fast, and if you aren’t full (which is unlikely) you can gorge on the free buckets of monkey nuts. Long live America.
£28 (2 people)
1-3 Long Acre, Covent Garden London WC2E 9LH
Five Guys: Website/Facebook/Twitter
This restaurant is not bright, there is no courtyard and it’s not a club. But as far as I’m aware, it is unique in that it has an all-you-can-eat à la carte dim sum offering – something of a rarity in London and certainly a bright idea (only available Mon-Fri 12-4.30pm). Dim Sum aficionados? You may have just found heaven.
The décor is elegant and classy – ceiling high vintage wine cabinets on display. The standard à la carte menus are presented on iPads, with items including Braised Shark’s Fin (£48), Braised Abalone on Rice (£36) and Iberico Pork Pot Stickers (£12)…it’s just that sort of place. But the all-you-can-eat dim sum menu at £18pp presents much better value and less pretentiousness, although it’s a meagre paper menu. Pfft.
The selection available to choose from is slightly smaller than the average dim-sum restaurant menu, but more than enough to not feel limited at all. The dishes are all-round on par with the best in Chinatown. Special mention must go to the mooli croissants, dough stick cheung fun and Shanghai dumplings. Steer clear of the stodgy chestnut patties.
£56 (2 people)
43-45 Baker Street, Marylebone, London, W1U 8EW
020 7486 6998
Bright Courtyard Club: Website / Facebook / Twitter
Fancy a cake and coffee whilst shopping? Aida has some beautiful clothes, expensive, but lovely to look at while you pretend you can afford it. After the pain has sunken in that you can’t actually afford the clothes, they have some tasty cakes to console you. I ordered a vanilla Chai Latte which was deliciously sweet and creamy, accompanied with a dark chocolate, pecan and caramel tart. The chocolate on the tart was much to hard, I could barely put my fork through, but once I did the taste was lovely. The dark, unsweetened chocolate compliments the very sweet caramel pecan base, which is crunchy but much softer than the chocolate. I wouldn’t recommend getting both the Chai Latte and the Tart however because they are both so heavy, felt as though I’d eaten a full meal!
£10 (2 people)
133 Shoreditch High Street E1 6JE
020 7739 2811
Website / Twitter / Facebook / Instagram
Independent coffee shop, named after a spice with aphrodisiac powers, is a real hidden gem in West London. Situated on Englands Lane close to Belsize park, this place is highly loved by locals thanks to a high quality food and friendly service. Cinnamon offers its visitors a great variety of healthy and delicious options for breakfast, weekend brunch or a quick coffee fix.
Family owned café serves Monmouth coffee and desserts prepared with organic ingredients (treat yourself for a gluten-free brownie or toasted banana loaf!). Besides traditional poached eggs on a sourdough toast and porridge, you can find very unique Persian-inspired dishes such as Persian frittata Kuku Sabzi or Grilled Aubergine with lamb and yogurt sauce. Freshly squeezed juices are made by demand, and with a little imagination you can also create an original juice mix by yourself.
Whether you are going for a business meeting, romantic breakfast, or a casual cup of flat white with a friend, Cinnamon with its minimalist design, wooden floors and tables, as well as cute ceramic dinnerware and vintage bottle-glasses, will satisfy your needs (Needless to say that this place is instagram-friendly).
£15 (2 people)
2a England’s Lane, Belsize Park NW3 4TG
020 7483 2622
Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram