As Diana is unable to fly home for the summer (and is quite homesick), we decided to bring New York to London. The most recent gastronomical addition to Covent Garden market, this New York burger staple seems to have captured the appetites of Londoners. As in New York, expect to face long, but generally fast moving, queues if you go at peak times.
A simple menu of burgers, hot dogs and frozen custards (fancy soft scoop ice cream for our British readers) for dessert offers everything you would want from a fast food joint. Feeling, as usual, very hungry, we both ordered the ‘Shack Stack’ – an Aberdeen Angus cheeseburger, topped with a breadcrumb encased portobello mushroom, filled with more cheese, finished off with modest amounts of ‘ShackSauce’ and salad.
If you’re hoping for the New York Shake Shack experience, unfortunately some of the pizzaz seems to have been lost on its way over the pond. The burgers are slightly pricey at £7.75, and not huge either, but tasty nevertheless. A juicy, well-cooked mince patty accompanied by the earthy taste of the mushroom, held together in a soft, slightly sweet white bun made for satisfying burger-eating. However, it’s quite greasy and, if you’re not a fan of lots of oozing cheese, we recommend asking for less as this is certainly one cheesy number. We ordered a portion of chips to go with our burgers because – to quote American born and bred Diana – ‘you can’t have a burger without fries’! The crispy, crinkle cut chips were certainly worth the £2.50 and the portion was plenty for two hungry girls to share (with some left over). We spent the better part of our meal wondering exactly how they make such zig-zaggy chips!
Turning to satisfy our sweet tooth, I opted for a cup of the frozen custard ice-cream in the flavour of the day. Friday = caramelized peach. The single serving was a sizable portion for £2.50 and held a perfect balance of fruitiness and creaminess. Diana went for the Sticky Toffee ‘concrete’ – vanilla custard ice-cream mixed with crunchy chocolate and salted caramel chunks. A single helping costs £4.00 and, again, the serving was generous – the perfect end to an indulgent American fast-food feast.
For the custard alone I think we’d come back everyday just to try each flavour. The burgers however, left us slightly disappointed and we might skip them in the future, the NY version is far superior (but we might be biased). However, the overall experience was fun, especially the atmosphere. Nothing better than eating a fresh burger outside in bustling, sunny London!
Shake Shack Covent Garden isn’t even a month old, so it can only get better with time. The staff are lovely and there are in fact so many of them that it is almost comical. Shake Shack has clearly taken over Covent Garden.
Have you been to Shake Shack Covent Garden? What did you think? Did you love it, hate it, or were you somewhere in between like us?
Shake Shack Covent Garden
24 Market Building
London, England WC2E 8RD
+44 (0)203 598 1360
Photographs by Diana Eastman