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Burgers are kind of a big deal. In life in general, but in Bristol in particular. Everyone claims to know where does the city’s best, so the arrival of Five Guys, the much loved American chain, caused something of a flurry amongst Bristol’s burger aficionados.
Will and I (considering ourselves to be amongst said aficionados) decided to head down on Saturday to see if Five Guys really lived up to the hype…
First things first. Five Guys is sat in Cabot Circus. This is not a good thing. This means it’s a pain in the arse to get to, it’s expensive to park, you have to negotiate the shoppers…it’s all just a bloody faff. However, not to be put off by a crowd we joined the queue and got down to the important business – choosing what we wanted to eat!
The menu is initially a bit confusing until the penny drops and you realise that actually, it’s very, very simple. Burgers come in two sizes – little, or standard – the difference being one patty or two, and you can choose from a basic hamburger, cheeseburger or bacon/bacon cheeseburger. You can then choose as many toppings as you like for free , but don’t expect an Atomic Burger style range of toppings – the message here is keep it simple. We chose to keep it really simple and skipped the extra toppings together, Will going for a bacon cheeseburger and me opting for plain old cheese.
Whilst Will ordered the food I grabbed a table outside and in doing so I think I missed out on part of the Five Guys ‘experience’ as he came out looking totally and utterly shell shocked! Wide eyed, clutching our order in a brown paper bag he sat down mumbling “Everyone’s shouting at each other!!” and “There are over 100 drinks choices!” In short, don’t go to Five Guys expecting table service or a relaxing dining experience – you ain’t going to get it.
What you will get, however, is this. Just look at it. LOOK AT THE CHEESE!!!
Five Guys is the sort of burger your hungover self fantasises about. The kind of burger you see in the movies, all gooey cheese and juicy patties. It’s a proper, filthy, dirty burger and it’s TOTALLY unapologetic about it. Wrapped up in silver foil the approach here is no frills and it really bloody works. It is extremely expensive for what it is (2 burgers, fries and drinks came to £30!) but it’s the kind of burger that keeps creeping back into your consciousness at any given opportunity , just nagging you to go for another one. I’ve also got to give a special shout out to the fries here, as they’re without a shadow of a doubt the best fries I’ve ever had EVER! Skin on, well cut chips with a crazy tasty Cajun spice, they honestly just kept coming! Not only did we have a generous portion each but the brown paper bag our order had been served in had been more or less filled to the brim! On top of that you genuinely can choose from around 100 different choices of soft drink, although why anyone would want cherry flavoured Sprite is beyond me (I’m looking at you Will!)
So all in all I can’t see Five Guys is in a league of it’s own when it comes to Bristol’s best burger. It’s never going to compete with the likes of The Burger Joint, Burger Theory or the brand new addition to St Nick’s, Chomp, as it just isn’t offering the same thing. Five Guys is less gourmet burger, more guilty burger, and do you know what? I loved every dirty, filthy second of it!