Shake Shack, Covent Garden

Shake Shack is a bit of a revolution in New York. It began life as a pop-up stall in a deserted park – without warning or expectation this hotdog, burger and shake company became a phenomenal craze. As in the case of other American successes (Victoria’s Secrets and Book of Mormon come to mind), the patience of the Brits has been rewarded and Covent Garden is now the proud home of Shake Shack, the London edition.

Shack Shake ambassador, Alexander Palma, took us instantly under his wing when we arrived early on a Monday evening at the already growing queue. Mentioning that time was tight, Alex took the liberty of organising for us the best Shake Shack can offer. The menu is short and slick, split into various categories: burgers, flat-top dogs, fries, frozen custard, drinks and woof (treats for those with four feet!). A half-pint of ShackMeister Ale, brewed exclusively by Brooklyn Brewery, refreshed us as we sat on the breezy piazza. Minutes later a tray of meaty delights was delivered. I’m embarrassed to admit how much we tried, but amazingly these addictive fast food recipes manage to remain relatively light. All the burgers are great (yes we did try them all): the ShackBurger costs a reasonable £5 and is the simplest on offer, the SmokeShack has additional Wiltshire cure smoked bacon and chopped cherry pepper (the sweet smoky flavour made this one our favourite), and for vegetarians a very tasty, crispy fried ShroomBurger is available. Shake Shack proudly use the best British produce despite this causing a variation in flavour from the New York original. Tidy eaters will be pleased to hear that these burgers aren’t overly sloppy, but compactly assembled and all with the signature ShackSauce. Flat-hot dogs are surprisingly delicious too, the best of which comprises a cumberland sausage, cheese sauce and crispy marinated shallots. Fries are particularly stylish and unique – pretty crinkle cut potatoes, crispy and crunchy and a pleasant change from the norm.

For dessert, Shake Shack offers ‘Concretes’ – dense frozen custard ice cream blended at speed with mix-ins. It is quite simply the best idea ever, as the taste proves. Creamy, lusciously soft homemade ice-cream is adorned with indulgently naughty additions. One piece of advice… go for sticky toffee: vanilla custard, chocolate toffee, Paul A. Young chocolate chunks, salted caramel sauce and malt powder are a winning combination.

I don’t want to know how many calories I consumed at Shake Shack, but who cares when it tastes this good?

More information here : www.shakeshack.com/location/london-covent-garden/

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