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Wimpy in Strood versus Five Guys in Bluewater

The 1980s favourite Wimpy has unveiled a new look and entered the modern age, its fast food menu now available on Uber Eats and Deliveroo. But how does it fare in a gourmet burger world?

Is there still a market for a bender in a bun when people are prepared to pay a premium for Five Guys? We sent Rebecca 'Two Dinners' Tuffin to find out.

Wimpy in Strood has undergone a makeover
Wimpy in Strood has undergone a makeover

The last time I had a Wimpy was at a service station when I was 10-years-old and the only vague recollection I have is slurping a watery, grey-brown sludge which the menu referred to as a chocolate milkshake - so the bar was set low.

But, from the outside, the Strood franchise looks clean and bright - a refreshing contrast to most branches you see dotted around with their dated décor and mustard yellow signs.

As I entered through the glass door, I was greeted by a very friendly member of staff with a warm smile, eager to help me choose the best options.

Prompted by my slightly older colleagues who have more Wimpy experience than myself, I ordered the famous bender in a bun.

I also went for a classic quarter pounder burger, small fries and a lime milkshake.

A quarter pounder, chips and a shake from Wimpy comes in at £10
A quarter pounder, chips and a shake from Wimpy comes in at £10

Waiting for my food to be prepared, I took in my surroundings.

American diner-style red leather benches stretch along one side of the room, with lamps hanging above each table, and large, pro-Wimpy canvases mounted on the walls. There is even a rack of newspapers.

A few minutes later my order appeared in a brown paper bag, and I hurried home to get it stuck in.

I had a few chips first - they were hot, crispy and fluffy on the inside. Pretty decent.

Then, onto the quarter pounder. The meat was tasty and cooked well, neatly packed away in the bun which was sturdy enough to hold everything together. (Bread which disintegrates as soon as you touch it is a culinary peeve of mine).

Inside Strood's new Wimpy
Inside Strood's new Wimpy

It was topped with fresh, shredded iceberg lettuce and a generous helping of burger sauce. Overall, it was a good burger with reasonable flavour.

The milkshake's texture was good - thick and creamy - but for me, sweet, artificial citrus and dairy do not mix. I feel lime-flavoured milkshake might be a taste I have not yet acquired.

But things took a dark turn when I unwrapped the bender in a bun.

It was the reaction of my family, who had by now ventured into the kitchen to inspect my dinner choices, which really put me off.

I removed the bun top to reveal a hotdog with several cuts along it, allowing it to be bent round the circumference of the bread. The reddish meat encircled a half tomato and mass of chopped onion.

The famous bender in a bun
The famous bender in a bun

It didn't look great but that wasn't the real problem - it was the smell.

We were all hit with an almighty, pungent stench of picked onion mixed with another unidentified, intense odour. My brother compared it to petrol.

My sister said: "I've never smelt anything like that."

The mother followed with a disgusted sound and added: "Do not eat that - it stinks.

"Do not eat it whatever you do."

Five Guys in Bluewater
Five Guys in Bluewater

I wonder whether she got into my head, as mums do, and made me think it smelt worse than it did. But, either way, I couldn't muster up the courage to take a bite of the slitted sausage and it went in the bin.

Although I'd much rather the underdog be the better burger, I have to say, my late-night gourmet Five Guys was rather delicious.

Nearly twice the price of Wimpy- coming in at a hefty £12.20 for just a burger and shake - it was a tasty comparison.

A standard hamburger comes with two patties for a mighty meaty experience and you're allowed as many topping as you like. I went for relish, pickles, jalapenos, lettuce and tomato.

However, it could have done with a bit more salt and the bun does go a bit soggy from all the meat juices.

A milkshake and burger from Five Guys is £12.20
A milkshake and burger from Five Guys is £12.20

My salted caramel and Oreo cookies milkshake with whipped cream was gloriously thick and indulgent. I fear how many calories were in that though.

All in all, despite the overly stylised red and white restaurant and extortionate price tags, I did enjoy my second dinner from Five Guys more.

Saying that, everything about Wimpy is fine - it's just the bender that put me off. The bender was bad.

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