After the hysteria of Five Guys opening day (with two-hour long queues to get in), today is the day Shake Shack officially opens in London. Located in the historic Market Building in Covent Garden, Shake Shack is bringing burgers, hot dogs, cheesy fries, shakes and frozen custards to London. Expect big things!
I attended a preview event this week, organized by “Burger Monday” Young & Foodish, with Shake Shack founder Danny Meyer and CEO Randy Garutti.
The London Shack looks very pretty from the outside, as it retains the key features of the Market Building’s historic structure.
The Young & Foodish event was held in the outdoor seating area, underneath the vast glass atrium. I didn’t get to see inside the restaurant and I didn’t order as a regular customer, so I will definitely go back to have a more authentic experience.
I tried bits of different things: Shack Burger, Smoke Shack, fries, shakes and custards. I missed the Shake Stack and cheesy fries, the next day everyone I know was raving about them, so that’s another reason to go back.
The majority of ingredients used at Shake Shack are sourced in the UK and the burgers are made with freshly ground 100% Scottish Aberdeen Angus beef.
The Smoke Shack
with British free-range Wiltshire cure smoked bacon and chopped cherry peppers
The ShackMeister Sausage
with Cumberland pork sausage topped with cheese sauce and crispy Ale-marinated shallots
The craft beer menu include a special beer brewed just for Shake Shack by Brooklyn Brewery in New York City, as well as bottled beers from local breweries (including Meantime and Kernel, among others). The wine list features the Shack Red and Shack White house wines, bottled exclusively for Shake Shack by Frog’s Leap in Napa Valley, California. Fans of root beer will be happy to find the Abita beer, from Louisiana. For me there is only one beverage to have with the Shack burgers and that’s of course their amazingly good shake!
The shakes are made with frozen custard – dense, rich and creamy ice cream spun fresh daily, made with real sugar and no corn syrup.
After all the great food and drinks, it was time to try the famous “concretes” (frozen custard blended at high speed with mix-ins). Shake Shack has created a selection of frozen custard concretes just for Covent Garden, made with locally sourced baked goods and chocolate mix-ins from St. John Bakery and Paul.A.Young.
I only tasted the Sticky Toffee (vanilla custard, chocolate toffee, chocolate chunks, salted caramel sauce and malt powder), but I want to go back and try them all: Union Shack (with chocolate hazelnut brownie, fudge sauce and sea salt); Drury Lane Jam (strawberry jam, brown sugar biscuit and fresh banana); and New York’s original Concrete Jungle (vanilla custard, marshmallow sauce, fresh banana and peanut
Can you tell I already love Shake Shack? They got me at “frozen custard” really, but I really liked the burgers and hot dogs. And I love the zig-zag fries, I literally couldn’t stop eating them!
A special mention to the Shake Shack staff, who was incredibly friendly, always smiling. Sometimes when I attend events and ask the waiters if I could try a dish that hasn’t been served at my table yet, I am simply told “there’s none left, we have already served it”. At Shake Shack, the waiters smiled, said “yes of course” and two minutes later the food or drink I wanted was served to me.
I read on Kate’s blog that they were US waiters coming to London only for the opening; they will be later replaced by a UK team of waiters and I hope the new staff will keep the same friendly attitude. That’s often what makes the difference between a good and a bad eating-out experience.
This week, my experience at Shake Shack was great! From what I have seen and tasted, I am really happy to have them in London!
Thanks Danny Meyer and Randy Garutti for welcoming us to the first London Shake Shack and thanks Daniel Young for the invite.
Disclaimer: I was a guest at the preview event. All views are my own.