With the road trip booked (I’m sorry I know you are sick of hearing about it but it really is my ‘trip of a lifetime’ so I’ll be harping on about it for the next few months) I was excited to meet my America loving friend for a chat about all things Stateside last night. With her living in Warrington it is much easier for us to meet at the Trafford Centre despite my dislike of the place in general. It is strange because I used to love it; free parking and lots of it, weather proof shopping, all you need under one roof, etc, I’m afraid since living in the City Centre it just leaves me cold. The soul-less shops, numerous people and constant chains are quite sad unless you are going for something in particular. Bring back the market style village where John Lewis used to be I say although the themed events can be worth a visit. I had great fun at the Selfridges Beauty Project and the shoe event earlier in the year!
Deciding to grab some tea it seemed wrong not to discuss American road trips anywhere other than the new Five Guys. Situated at the car park entrance to the food court we were greeted with large red canopies adorned with the Five Guys logo. I’d already been alerted to the price of these burgers so was expecting more of a restaurant/diner setting than the take away style that it actually is. That said, there is a lot of seating available and it was fairly quiet during our visit. The menu is straightforward and unlike other burger chains, you order toppings rather than have them omitted, if that makes sense. For example your McDonalds quarter pounder is served with onions and ketchup as standard so, if you don’t want ketchup and/or onions, you have to state this with your order and wait for a ‘special’ order to be made. At Five Guys your food is cooked to order so if you want all the toppings or none, you’ll wait the same amount of time. The beauty of this is that you know your burger is fresh and you can watch your order being prepared. We were fairly lucky that Five Guys was quiet when we visited but I can imagine this process causes big queues during busy periods. That said there is the option to order on their website and collect at your chosen time.
Onto our food and we both ordered the little cheese burger with regular fries to share. I opted for bacon, lettuce, gherkins and ketchup with Kim going for mushrooms and ketchup. Our order was ready quickly so off to the freestyle soda machine we went. Now, dear reader, this is where Five Guys gets interesting. You are presented with a touch screen machine featuring an array of soft drinks including still Fanta (remember when you could get this in Mc Donalds? Perfect hangover cure) and Powerade. I thought this would be it, I mean, what else can you do with diet coke? Let me tell you… orange, raspberry, cherry vanilla, that’s what you can do with diet coke! Being a well known diet coke addict I was in my element especially with free refills. Next time I am taking a book and sitting there all day!
The burgers look fairly squashed when unwrapped but the patties are juicy and much fatter than rivals McDonalds and Burger King. The lettuce was fresh and bacon incredibly crisp although it did seem incredibly processed/pre prepared. At £6.75 it is more expensive than its rival at Burger King (I believe a whopper with bacon and cheese costs £4.59) but I do think the choice of toppings and ‘cook to order’ style is worth it.
The chips were really tasty with their skin still on and a healthy (or not as the case may be) dose of salt. The portion of fries was massive too with a cup full as well as around another cup full in the bottom of the bag. Once again these are a pricier than Burger King with a regular fries costing £4 at Five Guys and a large portion just £1.69 at Burger King. They are much tastier though and the regular fries fed us both with no room left for dessert. There is even a sign that tells you where the potatoes have come from.
I was disappointed that there are no dessert options at Five Guys although I guess its Trafford Centre location means you can always grab something from elsewhere without any fuss.
The difference in price between the UK and the US is incredibly frustrating with a similar order costing significantly less at around $6 for a burger, $3 for fries and $2 for a drink. I guess American taxes, food costs and sourcing, etc would need to be considered but it does feel like we are being exploited a little when it comes to the pricing here. We wandered around Victoria’s Secret whilst at the Trafford Centre and Kim commented that the prices there are the same. The £25 night shirt I picked up would cost a maximum of $25 in the States which meant I put it back and will pick it up on my trip in October.
Overall I liked it. It isn’t up to the standard of Manchester burger giants Almost Famous and Solita but I don’t think it needs to be. This is at the Trafford Centre and is a fast food outlet. If you have time to sit and eat go to Gourmet Burger Kitchen. In fact, get back in your car and go to Almost Famous or Solita in the City Centre.
If I find myself needing a burger and fries in a hurry at the Trafford Centre I’ll be coming here, I suggest you do too.
This meal was paid for in full. This is an honest and unbiased review.