Having previously written posts listing the best burgers around last year (which can be found here and here), I felt a revision was due following the opening of some new establishments in the North East. We’re becoming spoilt for choice, with chains such as Byron establishing not one but two restaurants in the area in the last six months. Five Guys are following suit, and have just flipped the first patty in their Metrocentre burger joint. I naturally had to try them out in relation to the beefy local competition. Such a difficult task, this blogging lark!
Five Guys Review
I previously tried out Five Guys at their Covent Garden restaurant so was familiar with the drill. The US imported chain has been eagerly anticipated in the Toon, with another poised to open at the bottom of Northumberland Street soon. Like Byron, their menu isn’t extensive, but there are claims there’s over 250000 burger combinations available. With up to 15 toppings free on your patty, it is a customisable experience. The ‘All The Way’ burger is the traditional affair – ketchup, mustard, grilled onions and mushrooms, lettuce, pickle and tomato. If you can’t decide, this is what you should chose.
The restaurant itself looks like a no-frills American diner. Similar in tone to Ed’s Easy Diner just down the mall, it isn’t as polished as Byron in terms of appearance. The Coca-Cola machine, which serves over 100 different varieties (even decaf Diet Cherry Cola), and the sacks of peanuts will no doubt amuse the kids. There is a Veggie Sandwich for the herbivores out there, and a Grilled Cheese Sandwich (£3.75) that is drool-worthy. There’s nothing in the way of sandwiches that were suitable for vegan Mr. Canny, so he sat this one out.
Burgers are assembled in front of you on a line akin to the Nissan factory. Everything is made fresh to order so patience is necessary. I’m sure there won’t be as many staff there normally as there was when we visited on opening day.
The burgers at Five Guys come wrapped in silver foil, so unwrapping your burger is very much like unwrapping a meat present. For this reason they aren’t as pretty as Byron or Fat Hippo’s offerings, which come served ‘naked’ on trays. Five Guys, eat in or takeaway, are served in a brown bag. They come upside-down, so when you flip them over and open the foil the burger is the right way up. Their crumpled appearance is thankfully deceptive, and it all works well. The idea is there should be enough of each topping so every mouthful has all the flavours. The slightly acrid crust on the patty, the gummy cheese and grilled onions make this a good eat. I’d liken it to a ‘posh’ Burger King. I had the Little Bacon Cheeseburger, which at £6.75 is good value for the size of burger. The bacon was lovely and crispy and worked well with the medium cooked patty.
Naturally the Teen had to try their Oreo Cookie Five Guys Shake, which he loved. Bacon can even be added, if you’re so inclined. At £4.75 it is reasonably priced compared to its competition from Byron. His only complaint was the straw isn’t fat enough so the Oreo pieces kept getting wedged.
We ordered both a Little & Regular Fries, but don’t let the size of the serving cups fool you! There were heaps of fries in the bottom of our paper bag still to plough through.
The word I think best sums up Five Guys is excessive. Even the small burger is enormous by other restaurants’ standards. The drinks are almost bucket-sized and just one large fries would be enough to feed a family. If the Teen & I are bested, and we’re known to have quite healthy appetites, you know the portion sizes are definitely American. Go with an empty stomach! We love it ? We were first through the door and received our meal gratis, but opinions are always our own.
Local chain Fat Hippo will always hold a place in our hearts here at Canny Food. Supporting local is very important to us, and we’re looking forward to their new restaurant opening in Durham city centre on the 22nd of April. A full review can be found here, but suffice to say we’re fans of Hippo’s 100% Northumbrian beef patties.
Our only niggle is the inconsistency in regards to their vegan offering. While the bean burger is a-okay for Mr. Canny to eat, the brioche bun is not. They occasionally have buns that are suitable available, but there’s no rhyme or reason to when they have them in, which means we have to check in advance before visiting.
After the fanfare of both the Grey Street and recent MetroCentre restaurants opening in the North East, the rave reviews from customers for Byron’s pared down burger menu continue to roll in. The idea of a good quality patty served by them without the ‘bells and whistles’ appeals to me. No crazy triple onion ring, maple bacon, swimming with cheese, Freak Burgers here.
They also do a great range of milkshakes, and their veggie burger doesn’t feel like a compromise in terms of flavour. A full review of our visit to Byron can be found here. Hop and Cleaver
Known more for its ribs and brisket, I opted to try their burger on our last visit. The charred, smoky taste of the patty may not be to everyone’s tastes, but reminds me of a proper BBQ burger. Special mention goes to their sweet potato fries. More info about the burger can be found here. Man vs Food Grillhouse
A surprise contender for the Best Burger crown. The patties are fat and juicy meaning you won’t leave Man vs Food hungry. If you feel up to it try the Ultimate Burger Challenge – 4 6oz burgers, topped with cheese and turkey bacon with 4 sides. Not for the faint of heart. A full review of the South Shields restaurant can be found here.
Apologies to the vegan and vegetarian followers of the blog for the meat-fest! I have endeavoured to mention what’s on the menu as an alternative where appropriate.
Thanks for reading,
Note – some of the above images are credited to Instagram. My own photos of the burgers I’ve eaten at Fat Hippo, Hop & Cleaver, Man vs Food Grill and Byron can be found on my blog posts about those restaurants.