When I first arrived in London from Korea, I came with very low expectations regarding the quality of food I was going to get here – purely based on the media and the words of couple of friends who had lived in the United Kingdom. It has been five months since then and I can safely say that food in London is, in fact, edible and most of the time excellent in both taste and quality.
When people think of the UK the first types of food that come to mind may be English breakfast, fish and chips, or Indian food. No one expects the UK to have a developed American fast food scene – a cuisine the British manage to be quite accurate in replicating! From cheese burgers to sweet potato fries to Oreo Milkshakes, London has it all. Everywhere you turn you can find a gourmet burger joint open to fill your oily needs. After arriving in London, my unhealthy obsession with burgers exponentially increased leaving my stomach happy but my wallet empty. Here is a list of my five favourite burger places in London in no particular order. Just keep in mind that this list does include American chains, as London was the first place I had tried them. The locations listed are the closest to King’s College London, Strand Campus.
1. GBK (Gourmet Burger Kitchen)
Details: Gourmet Burger Kitchen, also known as GBK, was the first gourmet burger joint that I visited whilst in London. With over seventy locations around the United Kingdom, GBK serves the quintessential burger that would be loved by all ages. Burgers are all made with 100% British prime beef, which results in succulent, juicy patties. However, if you are not a meat lover like me, four vegan options are available substituting the beef patty with bean, squash and quinoa, or kale falafels.
Must try: The Avo Bacon Burger (£9.95). This burger includes a layer of mashed, lightly seasoned avocado as well as crispy American bacon and tangy house mayo. I personally like to add a fried egg for £1.65. A bit pricey, I admit, but totally worth the breakfast sandwich taste you will experience from the burger.
Location: 13-14 Maiden Lane, London, WC2E 7NE
2. Meat Liquor
Details: I know what you’re thinking - the name is very peculiar. Liquor means a rich broth from the prolonged cooking of meat and this is exactly what you experience when you bite in to one of Meat Liquor’s burgers. Starting out in 2008, as a food truck called Meatwagon, it has since grown in to a full-fledged chain with twelve locations around the UK. It offers a variety of American fast foods such as beef, chicken, and vegan burgers, as well as loaded fries and hot dogs. Meat Liquor is famous for its 'Triple Chili Challenge', where contestants need to finish up a green chilli cheese burger, a chilli dog, and chilli cheese fries in under ten minutes.
Must try: Dead Hippie Burger (£9.50). Meat Liquor's trade mark burger contains two french mustard fried beef patties with special dead hippie sauce and sweet, minced white onions. Perfectly messy for those days you want to blow your stress away!
Location: The Deck Jubilee Market Hall, Tavistock Street, Covent Garden London, WC2E 8BE
3. Shake Shack
Details: Shake Shack is the first American burger joint I have included in this list, but I just had to because its burgers are to die for! Located about 5-10 minutes' walk from Strand Campus, Shake Shake is a perfect lunch meal for your long day at university. Its soft potato rolls and crispy crinkle fries bring joy to anyone who takes a bite. A tip for students, on Unidays there is a BOGO promotion which means that if you buy one burger you get one free for your company.
Must try: The Shack Stack (£8.75). This legendary burger combines a cheese burger and its ‘shroom patty – a deep fried Portobello mushroom filled with melted cheese. I hope the perfect harmony of the two patties surprises you as it delightfully surprised me.
Location: Covent Garden, 24 Market Building, The Piazza, London, WC2E 8RD
4. Five Guys
Details: Five Guys is the next American fast food chain I have included in the list, as the first time I had it was in London. It may be a bit inconvenient for vegans or vegetarians as the only options available are The Veggie and grilled cheese sandwiches, however, it is a meat manic’s heaven. Five Guys allows you to choose the toppings that you want on your burger, allowing you to customise it according to your dietary needs. Its beef is from family-owned farms around Ireland and the UK, which results in high-quality meat.
Must try: Cheeseburger (£8.00). Sometimes simplicity is the best and at Five Guys this holds to be true. Fill up the regular cheeseburger with toppings that you want and enjoy!
Location: 1-3 Long Acre, London, WC2E 9LH
5. Honest Burgers
Details: Last but not least, is Honest Burgers. One of the most iconic small burger chains in the UK; they have locations in London, Reading, Bristol, and Cambridge. Their patties are made in their own company-based butchery. The best thing about it is that all honest burgers comes with rosemary salted chips so there is no need to pay extra for French fries! There is a wide range of choice ranging from chicken, beef, to vegetarian burgers.
Must try: Poutine Burger (£12.50). If there is one thing that Honest Burgers is known for it is the over the top specialty burgers. The Poutine burger is exactly that – but only being served until 24th of February! The toppings include bacon, smoked cheddar, cheese curds, shoestring fries, cider and bacon gravy, white onion, and pickles with rosemary salted chips.
Location: 39 The Cut, London, SE1 8LF
Edited by Evangeline Stanford, Digital Editor