Yes we had Shake Shack, one of the great four American burger joints, while we were in London. Forget the English fish and chips or the pies and mash, once we walked past Shake Shack near Tottenham Court Road, our hearts were set on trying it out. After all, who knows when we’ll get a chance to go to America given that we’ll be virtually broke after this European trip?
The Shake Shack on New Oxford Street looks very new – and indeed, once I looked it up, Google informed me that it had only opened up two months earlier. Despite its novelty, the restaurant was surprisingly quiet when we went. Of course, we were there quite early for a pre-theatre meal which may explain it. I certainly hope that it’s not a sign of how successful Shake Shack will be in its international endeavours!
From what I can tell, the menu seems to be fairly consistent across different countries. There are some nods to its new location with the use of Scottish Aberdeen beef, some English sausages in its hotdogs, and a “New Oxford Street” concrete drink with proceeds to a local charity. For the most part however, the basic burger recipes remain unchanged from the American originals – the signature ShackSauce is still widely used.
Between the two of us, we ordered a basic single ShackBurger, a vegetarian ‘Shroom Burger, one serve of the fries, a Fifty/Fifty lemonade and iced tea blend, and Creamsicle float using Shake Shack’s signature ‘Frozen Custard’.
The fries were tasty but nothing on the fries we’d tried at Five Guys in Belfast. The Fifty/Fifty drink included the fizzy sweetness of lemonade and the strong flavour of pure iced tea which was a surprisingly excellent combination. Enjoying my Creamsicle float was like being a child all over again – mixing the ice-cream into the lemonade to create a fizzy volcano-esque mix that spilled over the top of the cup.
The burgers are where it’s at though. The ShackBurger essentially defines a good simple cheeseburger. Kids these days are all about the monster stacked burgers with fifteen different ingredients that defy gravity but there’s something to be said about a nicely grilled beef patty, some healthy green lettuce and a slice of tomato, and a soft toasted brioche bun. Simple. Tasty. Winning.
The vegetarian ‘Shroom Burger was surprisingly tasty with a thick and juicy breaded and deep-fried portobello mushroom that perfectly mimicked the juiciness of a beef patty. I guarantee that even non-vegetarians will find the ‘shroom burger to their liking.
Having now tasted both Shake Shack and Five Guys, I have to say that Shake Shack wins it in the burger stakes. Simple is best. Shake Shack does simple well, while Five Guys tries to impress with an overload of ingredients. Please come to Australia Shake Shack!
At the time of writing, there are three Shake Shacks in London. We went Shake Shack at 80 New Oxford Street, London.