Aren’t there enough places in Kingston to grab a burger?

Judging by the busy new Five Guys restaurant which opened in the former Tony Roma restaurant in the Rotunda yesterday, there is definitely room for one more.

Having arrived for an evening meal what stood out first of all was the chaos of it all – rock music, loud chattering people, the smell of some-sort of deliciousness and of course the red and white in your face American-style takeaway layout.

But would you pay £8.75 for a bacon cheese burger wrapped in paper and stuffed in a McDonald’s-esque brown bag? The answer it would seem, is yes.

By 6pm the restaurant was heaving but what really stood out was the personalised service – a lot of it from people with north American accents.

After all, this is a burger joint flown right out of the US for hungry Kingstonians – four of whom we were told were waiting outside the restaurant for an hour before the 11am opening to be the first diners.

We were greeted by UK manager Marcel who introduced us to the menu and told us about the have any-topping-you-could-think-of in your burger list.

After this came the first drinks machine in the UK that allows diners to choose a Sprite or a Coca Cola and flavour them with anything from peach, lime, vanilla or raspberry – with free refills this try every flavour malarkey could be a hit in itself.

Then the half-pounder burger came. It was soft, juicy and loaded with fresh salad. The only downfall was how difficult it was to eat being so large – but maybe that was down to going too topping-happy in the initial selection.

And obviously a knife and fork would simply have looked out of place in a restaurant hoping to be your up-market fast food shack.

VERDICT: Five Guys looks as if it has all the potential to compete with the likes of Byron and Gourmet Burger Kitchen – but that’s if you can deal with waiting in line to get your food and then enjoying a chat with a waiter as you try to wrestle the burger into your mouth.

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