American fast-casual burger chains continue to encroach upon our fair shores. But as branches of Shake Shack and Five Guys saturate the capital, other chains have decided to become more inventive with their choice of locations: Fatburger went for the tourists in Camden, Smashburger opened their first space in Milton Keynes and the stellar Steak n Shake set up shop in Chester. Who goes to Chester?
For their first site, Floridian chain BurgerFi picked a shopping centre. In Wembley.
Thank fuck their second location was tourist hotel sinkhole Bloomsbury.
BurgerFi is somewhat a fusion of familiar ideas from the other American big hitters: The burgers come as doubles by default, like Five Guys, with a bun not too dissimilar from a Martins roll used by Shake Shack, semi-wrapped up like an In-n-Out. Like the latter, they even have a not-so-secret menu (although the guy at the counter had no idea, and said he'd have to email head office to find out what it was). It is all very comfortingly familiar.
The cheeseburger looks like a classically American: The huge slice of tomato and sits triumphantly on top of the two American cheese melted patties. Describing the beef origin as 'Natural Angus' seems a little weird, but the beef is decent, not crazy juicy but not dry, and still has flecks of pink.
The BurgerFi sauce is a classic creamy, sweet, piquant sauce in the vain of In-n-Out spread which was nice, but could have done with having more of. In all, it is a not too bad of an example of a classic American cheeseburger.
Despite bragging of a Wagyu and brisket blend, the patties in the CEO aren't that different from those in the standard burgers.
The Swiss cheese is gushing in amount but lacks any real nuttiness, more providing a chewy goo. And while you don't really notice the truffle aioli, the 'homemade' candied bacon is crunchy and blends sweet with piggy-savoury nicely and the tomato jam ramps up the sweetness a notch further. Again, not too bad.
The fries are well solid. Portion sizes are epic, and the parmesan and herb topping is abundant and strong, with drizzles of aioli adding a rich and creamy condiment to balance and blend the flavours. We tried really hard to finish them, they were so good. But just look at the size of the fucking thing. We couldn't.
We have the choice of places to get American burgers in the UK now, you can literally drive around our rainy little island and sample a decent amount of them. Something we could only eat on holiday is now a reality in the Capital. And for us that isn't a bad thing. #RoadTrip