Published: 14:04, 12 October 2018
| Updated: 14:29, 12 October 2018
With the likes of Byron, Big Boys Fine Burger Co. and GBK already doing a roaring trade in Canterbury, does the city really want or need another premium burger chain?
Five Guys clearly thinks so, after launching its third Kent branch in St Peter's Street this week.
Judging by how packed it was yesterday lunchtime, the answer appears to be yes.
There's a lot of buzz surrounding the place. The food, while notoriously pricey, is supposed to be top notch, with the American chain referring to its devoted diners not as customers, but "fans".
I went along to try it for myself.
Entering the restaurant is a bit of an assault on the senses. With bright, fluorescent lighting, hard seats, small tables and loud music blasting out of the speakers, they seemingly want you in and out as quickly as possible.
You order your food from the friendly counter staff and wait to the side, as you would in McDonald's.
I waited 10 minutes - quite a long time when forced to loiter in front of the self-service drinks machine, straining to hear your order number being shouted above the hubbub of the open-plan kitchen.
I was then presented with my order, contained within a grease-spotted brown paper bag.
I opened it up, and hidden under a mountain of fries (the portion sizes are very generous) was my foil-wrapped cheeseburger.
It comes with two patties - always served well done - and as many extra toppings as you'd like, at no additional charge.
The firm says there are over 250,000 possible combinations. I ordered mine with lettuce, tomato, pickles, ketchup, mustard and a huge pile of napkins - an absolute must when tackling these giant, oozy burgers.
The cheese was the orange plastic-like slices you get at barbecues, but that's no bad thing.
The skin-on fries were crispy on the outside and fluffy in the middle, although perhaps a little too salty for my taste.
There is also the option of cajun fries, which are apparently very addictive.
The burger itself was tender, juicy and full of flavour.
The company prides itself on serving fresh food, always cooked in peanut oil, and the quality is admittedly second to none.
But here's my beef. While the food is good, the dining experience is on a par with McDonald's - and at almost £16 for a burger, fries and a drink, the price is most definitely not.
Would I return? Most definitely. But maybe for a takeaway.
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