Yet another American burger chain will be hitting our shores soon. The Zouk club folks are making their foray into the F&B business and will serve up the Five Guys burgers at Plaza Singapura anytime soon, as announced earlier this year. Hence, I’ll do a pre-opening, pre-emptive review of Five Guys in New York (since I am here) to give you an idea of what to expect. The Murrel family that started this in 1986 and after telling their kids ,“If you can give a good haircut or if you can serve a good drink at a bar or if you can serve a good hamburger, you can always make money in America.” And “go to college or start a business”. The rest is history.
I first had their heart stopping 1060 calorie Bacon Cheeseburger (it says on the sign and costs U$9.49) in New York along 48th Street nine years ago, and many a few times in between. Each time, unconsciously, I wolf down their burgers because of the need to “burger-sin” properly. A Five Guys burger is not for the faint hearted so I was back for more. The Bacon Cheeseburger comes deceptively adorable and beckoning- a thick beef patty, juicy and very beefy, staring at you and framed by cheese, bacon, mayonnaise with lettuce, onions, tomatoes and pickles (just to make you feel less guilty). It’s that all in one sensation- rich, addictive and an unrelenting gastro-sin. I like. But Amsterdam does not want their burgers on their shores, as they are looking to reduce and limit fast food culture in their city. In Singapore, it seems, the more the merrier. Perhaps my favourite US burger chain, In and Out, will come here for good sometime soon.
Back to the heavenly sins of the Five Guys. The regular Hamburger at U$7.85 with 840 calories, while is so easy to wolf down, feels underwhelming if you have it after the Bacon Cheese version- like a hair-wash with no shampoo. Sure, the moist patty beckons with the grills onions, tomatoes pickles and lettuce, but it just pales in comparison. This Arlington, Virginia company says their do not use freezers but “only coolers” to store their patties and ingredients served up curiosity for me- will they ship their patties chilled from USA (god forbid!) or make fresh ones in Singapore and send them chilled or cooled to site (more like it). The test will be just how juicy the patties will be.
Just for variation, I tore into the Cheese Dog (U$5.55 with 590 calories) which had bite and texture and is one of those i-don’t-feel-like-burger-days but want to be in a burger shop. And on the topic of variation, I noted one very special offering- peanuts in its shell. They leave a bucket of it near the counters and it’s free, just scoop, crackle and crunch away. I hope this is offered in Singapore too, it’s much healthier than fries, which is another signature at Five Guys. Their signature Cajun Style fries (from U$3.49) claims to be the best in class. But I have had better and I would rather chomp on peanuts with the burgers.
And by the way, they use healthy peanut oils for all their products.