I’ve been a bit lax on my search for Hampshire’s Best Burger recently.
It’s not that I’ve gone off meat or anything like that (thank goodness). It’s just that, with summer in full swing, I’m more likely to stick some burgers on the barbie than eat out.
I decided to jump back on the burger wagon on Saturday with a trip to a Five Guys in Whiteley.
Five Guys is a US chain. The first UK restaurant opened in 2013. Now there are more than 40 across the country. The Whiteley branch is a few doors down from Nando’s – the site of my last burger munching mission.
I had a fine burger when I visited the US earlier this year. Would this American offering put Hampshire burgers to shame?
About this burger
- Date visited: 2 July 2016
- Name on menu: “Cheeseburger” with “Five Guys Style Fries”
- Price: £10
How this burger scored
Patty – 9/10
Five Guys burgers come with two beef patties as standard (their “Little” burgers and cheeseburgers come with one patty).
These patties were delicious with just the right amount of seasoning and a touch of greasiness. My only gripe was that they were cooked a little more than I would have liked (well done, rather than medium).
Chips – 7/10
Tiff and I shared a portion of fries (£4). “Little” portions are available for £2.75 if you’re dining alone or don’t want to share.
Five Guys fries its spuds in cholesterol-free peanut oil. This means staff can cook them at higher temperatures. They’re handcut, with the skin on.
My fries tasted great. I could definitely taste the influence of the peanut oil. However, they were also soggy. Surprising since Five Guys apparently does all it can to rid its potatoes of crispiness-killing starches before cooking.
Bun – 4/10
Poor. Not only did my bun fall apart quickly, but it was soaked with condensation once I’d unwrapped my burger.
It tasted good though.
Toppings – 6/10
Five Guys offers 16 toppings, all for no extra charge. I went for lettuce, grilled onions, pickles and tomato to go with my cheese.
Being an American restaurant, the US-style cheese was disappointing in the taste department – I much prefer a mature cheddar to accompany a beef burger.
I had no complaints about the other toppings though.
Ambience – 6/10
A typical, bustling burger joint. Staff cook burgers in an open plan area so the sights and sounds of the kitchen add to the atmosphere.
Our table was a bit sticky, mind.
Drinks selection and quality – 7/10
As well as limitless soft drinks from machines that can conjure up hundreds of combinations alongside favourites like Fanta, Coke and Sprite, Five Guys offers a modest selection of bottled beers (including Brooklyn Lager and Corona).
There are also milkshakes (£4.75). You can choose from a list of 12 flavours, mixing and matching as you see fit.
We shared a refreshing strawberry and Oreo cookie milkshake. (Strawberry and cookie? Don’t ask.)
Condiments – 3/5
Ketchup and vinegar are available for the fries.
Unfortunately the mustard on the burgers is the sweet American type rather than a hot English mustard.
Presentation – 4/5
The food arrives in a bag with the fries in a paper cup and the burgers wrapped in foil.
It looks more appetising than it sounds and complements the general feel of the place.
Service – 2/5
At Five Guys, you order food at the till and then collect it at a counter once it’s ready. Unfortunately, my server didn’t tell me that. So I wasn’t sure what to do once I’d placed my order.
Another problem is that staff call out your order number when your food is ready. Fine if you’re in the main part of the restaurant. But not ideal if you’re sat out of earshot of the counter, as we were.
I ended up hanging around the counter waiting for my food, instead of relaxing at my table.
Value for money – 2/5
I thought a tenner was a bit steep for eating in what’s essentially a fast food restaurant. I’d have been happier paying a few quid less – for the same price as I paid today I could grab a decent meal in a pub with service, plates and cutlery.
Penalties – 0
No penalties forthcoming here.
I was expecting better from Five Guys, I must say.
Ultimately though, it was the bun, service and value for money that let this place down.
Info: Five Guys in Whiteley is at Whiteley Shopping Centre, Whiteley Way, PO15 7FD. Phone 01489 880 770.