One of the best burger restaurants in Covent Garden, London is surely Shake Shack, the premium US burger brand. Well, I went in with very high expectations based on my Instagram research and whilst I had a good experience – great atmosphere and service – the visit ultimately lacked the flavour I was after.
Did I get a ‘bad one’? Based right in the centre of the market, this Covent Garden burger has become THE Covent Garden burger, so how could that be the case? All of the ingredients are famously organic, freshly cooked and faultlessly presented. When I think of my favourite burger from Five Guys it’s delicious but messy. Here at Shake Shack it’s bland but beautiful.
Here’s a breakdown with my review of Shake Shack in London.
Venue and service
Right in the heart of Covent Garden the restaurant has ample seating both in the main market and across the external pedestrianised streets. To avoid too long a queues it’s recommended to go for an early lunch, which is exactly what I did after a morning at the Sky Garden.
A host will hand you a menu and you’ll probably wait around ten minutes in the small service area to make your order; the perfect amount of time to decide. On my visit, we were given a warm welcome and the staff went through the menu, explained the seating arrangements and that you need to collect your order once the buzzer goes off. This took around 15 minutes from ordering and a buzzer for a burger seemed like a fair trade.
Menu and food
You can find the menu online here. There’s a small selection of burgers, sides, milkshakes and desserts to tempt you. You can also build your own burger with the ingredients they have and vegetarians need not worry as the ‘Shroom Burger is ready and waiting.
Very excited to try their famous burger, I jumped up when the buzzer went off and was very pleased to be presented with a double bacon cheeseburger, fries with cheese sauce and a Coke Zero Sugar. It looked amazing and I quickly managed to take a few photos before digging in.
The burger bun was soft and lightly toasted and filled to the brim with salad, meat and cheese. The beef was on the well-done side of medium and the bacon was a little burnt. The best bit was probably the moisture and succulence from the patties and how, unlike a Five Guys, it can fit in your hands!
However, there was no real flavour to this burger and I’m sad to type that! It seemed that everything was there for this to be on point but something was lacking on the day. Bland but beautiful.
If I went back, I’d probably try the ‘Shroom Burger to see if it packs more of a tasty hit.
As for the crinkle cut fries, they were thick, crunchy, hot and only lightly salted which is a bonus. You don’t need the cheese sauce however; it’s a bit too much and just makes them soggy. Instead opt for grabbing some ketchup and going wild.
The Coke was a Coke and not the limitless Coke from Five Guys. Have I mentioned Five Guys? Are people one or the other when it comes to these brands?
Very Instagram worthy, Shake Shack in Covent Garden is a great place to eat in London when you’re looking for atmosphere, something quick and obviously a bit sinful. You simply can’t fault the quality of each ingredient and you can happily customise to your liking as well as picking from the set menu.
However, you may find like I did that the sum of the parts just isn’t as spectacular as you may have heard. Altogether it was a good burger but for the best part of £18 for a burger, fries and Coke, you can find something better. Compare this to Honest Burger for example where you’re supporting an independent restaurant and get sit-down service for your money. The portions are also huge and who can say no to those thick cut, rosemary chips.
Ultimately Shake Shack is worth a go but when you’ve got so much choice, it isn’t a true contender in the city.
What do you think? Would you recommend I give it another go or change my order in some way to experience Shake Shack properly? Leave me a comment below.
Head to Covent Garden, Leicester Square or Temple tube stations.