Once every few months, I
want need to go to London… a little city trip to see a show, stock up on shopping (because I really do revel in shopping at M&S as well as Boots) and enjoy the sights, sounds & tastes of a proper pub.
This past weekend ticked all the boxes… we went to watch “The play that goes wrong” (to which I can confess to laughing so hard that the tears rolled down my cheeks… something of a “Fawlty Towers” kind of play); had the traditional bangers&mash at a pub & spent a good hour (or more) battling the crowds of Westfields so that I could get a few new items from aforementioned shops.
But the other highlight of the weekend was checking out Shake Shack in London (recommended to us by Michelle of Very Hungry Explorer) – an American success story that has gone from being a roadside-stand selling hotdogs in New York 2001 to becoming a brand name in cities ranging from Miami to Moscow….
Set in the delightful Covent Garden Market building (festively adorned) – it has been a popular spot since it opened in 2013.. and this particular festive Saturday was no different. But the difference is in the organisation… not sure if this is a British thing or a Shake Shack thing… but whatever it was – it works.
The set up has a queue for ordering (simple enough) – with staff monitoring the number of folks allowed into the ordering station at a single time, while handing out menu’s to those in the outside queue & explaining/answering menu item questions in order to facilitate a quicker ordering process. Although there were loads of folks there – we only stood in the queue for about 5-10min and used this time to acquaint ourselves with our potential choices.
After placing your order – you are given a “buzzer’ (no idea what to call it) – which is linked to your order – and will start to vibrate & flash lights when your order is ready (already seen in other fast-food type establishments).
When the buzzer starts doing it’s thing – it means going to the “collect order” counter (just next door to where you placed your order & therefore avoiding the task of having to fight the masses to actually get your food), handing over your buzzer & receiving your tray. (We saw about 15 people in the area with similar buzzers & assumed our wait would be long… but it wasn’t – another 5 or so minutes and we were finding our way to an available table.)
Finding a table wasn’t too difficult either – as with fast food – people tend to eat & leave in a fair amount of time (or at least – this was our experience.)
HIM ordered the Double SmokeShack™ – cheeseburger topped with British free range wiltshire cure smoked bacon, chopped cherry pepper & ShackSauce – with the double indicating the number of meat patties – (10£)
I ordered the Single ShackBurger® – Cheeseburger topped with lettuce, tomato & ShackSauce (5£)… so good!
And we opted for a portion of crinkle cut potato fries (2.75£) & portion topped with cheddar cheese sauce (aka Cheese fries) – 3.75£ all washed down with some Thatchers Old Rascal cider.
When our buzzer started to do the Hokey-pokey… and we received our tray – HIM was worried that he would still be hungry after a double burger & portion of fries…. but he did admit that the burgers tasted great (something that I can fully attest to). At the time – HIM said that he probably could have eaten another burger – but within half of hour of eating burger, fries & washing it down with cider – he agreed that it was a sufficient portion (clearly requiring time for his stomach to let his brain know that it was now full).
I actually inhaled the burger it was so good – the meat was cooked well (not overdone nor was it pink/raw), the bun was soft and didn’t fall apart… and the sauce & toppings were fresh, flavoursome & Nom-Nom-Nom.
I think I prefer the normal fries to the cheesy ones… as the cheddar cheese sauce was more functional on some veggies (like cauliflower or broccoli) than on perfectly cooked potatoes…. and after a few mouthfuls felt very rich…
Would we return? Absolutely… and I would recommend that you try it out for yourself…..
Shake Shack Covent Gardens
address: Covent Garden, 24 Market Building, The Piazza, London, England WC2E 8RD
telephone: +44 1923 555 129
Opening hours: Mon-Sat: 11h00-23h00; Sun: 11h00-22h30