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Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Fast Fooding at Five Guys

Five Guys, when it arrived in the UK caused quite a frenzy. The American chain of burger fast food eateries had been long rumoured to be the best burger pick for a lot of people. Now we have a couple of Five Guys in the UK word is spreading fast, whispers of  'best burger' were floating about the ether, a bold claim I hear you cry. Anyway Rich and I were invited to Five Guys in Cabot Circus in opening week to see what all the fuss was about. We chose to go after work and I was starving by the time 6pm came around.

When we arrived Five Guys was crazy busy there was a queue out the door, it was moving fairly swiftly however so we weren't waiting long. There is a very simple menu, your burger can contain cheese, bacon or cheese and bacon. As for the salad parts, these are completely customisable and free, options include; chilis, mushrooms, tomatoes, mustard and mayonnaise. You might be a bit taken aback by how much a normal sized bacon and cheese burger costs for a fast food restaurant, how do you feel about paying £8.75, not including fries? I was a bit shocked to be honest, to our order of bacon and cheese burgers we added two small fries of both standard and cajun seasoned. 
Five Guys Bristol

One of the big sells of Five Guys, for most people, is the 100+ soft drinks and free refills. For £2.50 you can sample as many varieties as Schweppes, Coca-Cola and Fanta make, and most of these you won't realise existed, mainly because they are US only. I am not a huge consumer of fizzy drinks to be honest but this selection is rather impressive. 
Five Guys Bristol

As we were waiting for our order to be called from the highly organised preparation area we helped ourselves to cherry and vanilla coke and a diet raspberry coke, the raspberry one was especially nice, shame it's not readily available in the UK. After about a 5-10 minute wait with complimentary peanuts, if you help yourself from the huge stack at the front of the restaurant, we were in possession of our brown paper bag of burgers and fries. 

bacon and cheese burger
Five Guys Bristol
cajun fries

Five Guys Bristol
oozy cheese
Compact and meaty burgers greeted us when unwrapped from their foil confinements. I had chosen to add gherkins and chilis to mine as well as the obligatory lettuce and mayo. The cheese was American and very oozy and melty, the bacon had been cooked so it was crispy and dry, which was a nice touch.  The burger was tasty and juicy, very American diner style, which I guess is what they were going for. The best burger I've ever had? No but it was pretty good. The chilis were nice and spicy and the portion of gherkins was generous which was great because I love them. The buns were surprisingly resilient and I love sesame seeds on burger buns. The cajun fries were spicy but over salted I found so I didn't finish mine for fear of dehydration but also because I was full.  The standard fries fared a bit better but still too salty for me. 

Five Guys does create a tasty burger, but for £8.75 without fries and considering it is a fast food restaurant I would expect it to be astounding because of the restaurant experience you are losing. I am not really sure what I was expecting to be honest but my personal point of view was this is not my favourite burger in Bristol but I think people do have different view on what makes a burger great to them. Five Guys might be further up my list if the price was dropped a bit more. If you go to Five Guys I would love to hear what you thought of it. This meal was complimentary but that did not affect the outcome of my review. If you want to learn more about Five Guys visit their website.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Cheap Evenings Out For Hungry People

In this blog post I am going to try and list a selection of places where you can get a deal on your evening out. I don't know about you but I am always looking for a bargain, especially when it comes to going out. Much as I love cooking there is something extra enjoyable about a spontaneous decision to dine out.  So I have gathered a list of places where you can dine out for £10 and under.  Perfect for students looking for tasty food on a budget.

Small Bar, are beer and meat your thing? Is that a stupid question? You can order hotdogs, big meat sandwiches and sides galore, most of which are under £7 hugely filling snacking to go along side the multitude of beers they have in their drinking arsenal.  And if bread and meat are your thing then you can also fare very well at Bagel Boy. These guys, based on St Nicholas Street, offer a huge selection of bagels, I personally recommend any of the ones with salt beef in. These are all easily under £10 and it is open late into the night so you can catch up over a pint and several bagels.
salt beef bagel from Bagel Boy

Or The Clifton pub host a fixed price menu full of comforting food with 2 courses for £10 expect burger, ham egg and chips and macaroni cheese. Likewise The Social on Cheltenham Road, a firm favourite with Bristol, they take special care with vegetarian and vegan menu items so you can be assured you won't feel like a second class citizen when it comes to choosing food. On Mondays after 5pm The Social offers 25% off any item from the dinner menu and a drink. For Winter they are offering lots of comforting food items like roasted meats with seasonal greens designed to centrally heat you for the walk home in the cold.

Fancy some Japanese cuisine but don't want to break the bank? Just look to Yume and Bento Boss. Yume's ramen, katsu and teriyaki dishes all come well below the £10 mark, some cheap enough to squeeze in ordering a side as well. Likewise Bento Boss does a vast selection of ramen, fresh baos and bento boxes for £10 and under you will still be spoiled for choice.
tempura prawn ramen at Yume
sungal pelek village rojak from Bento Boss (chef's hometown specialty)
Feel like pigging out on a burger, there are a number of deals. Racks does 2-4-1 burgers on a Monday evening which work out as £5 each. Start the Bus also offers 2-4-1 burgers, but on Tuesday I recommend the chorizo and grilled halloumi burger but if you're feeling adventurous then they do offer one with pickled onion monster munch and emmental. However you don't have to restrict your visit to just Tuesday the hot dogs, burgers and fried chicken all come in under the £10 mark as it is.  The Aviator on Chandos Road offer a couple of burgers for £8.75 which includes some delicious seasoned chips.

Chomp will do you a burger and fries for £10 and it's one of the best in Bristol.  If you are looking for a quick feed after a couple of drinks then YoYo burger may surprise you, some seriously delicious burgers and a huge menu to choose from, even a wagyu burger.
Start the Bus burger and skin on fries
I am always on the look out for pizza deals, mainly because they are Rich's favourite choice for going out, so Planet Pizza's 2-4-1 on Mondays and Tuesdays between 5-7, is a firm favourite. Super thin bases and generous toppings, the mushroom, walnut, artichoke and blue cheese pizza is one of my favourites. All pizzas at Al Bacio are under £10 I personally recommend their calzone it is huge and the dough is really moreish. Or The Stable for pizza, side salad and a drink from 5pm every Tuesday. In addition Flour & Ash on Gloucester Road will do you two pizzas and two glasses of wine for £20 before 6.30 and they are my favourite pizzas in the whole of Bristol.

Flour & Ash -Chorizo and Pickled Chili
pizza from The Stable
Planet Pizza yumminess
Other bargain dining venues include Mathilda's Chili Bar in the Bear Pit with offers from £6.95 for 3 bean chili or £8.95 for Texan brisket chilli, all served with rice, jalapenos, guacamole and sour cream, perfect for any cold snaps. I also really like Thai Pepper a neat little BYO on Gloucester road with a pretty extensive menu all mains are under £10 and the corkage charge is just a couple of pounds.  

Or for an extra special treat The Ox does a deal Monday-Friday until 7pm, a 6oz rump, fries, sauce and a drink for £12.50.  I am keen to try this myself, it is meant to be the best place for steak in Bristol. So enjoy seeking out frugal dining out in Bristol, these are my personal recommendations, if you have any favourite tips pass them on and I'll add them in. Happy dining!