Shake Shack, London

shake shack has finally made it across the pond! the once elusive only-in-US burger joint has made its highly anticipated appearance in the middle of london’s happening covent garden. it opened sometime over summer and having heard so much about their burgers for so long, it was one of the first few places i checked out upon my return to school (hello year 2!!!).

we had our burger fix on a rainy thursday afternoon and were pleased to find that there was no snaking queue in sight at all! we attributed our luck with the lack of fellow burger-hunters (some of my friends who have been have had to queue) to the wet weather plus the fact that we were there close to 2pm when the lunch crowd had thinned out. there were only about 5 people ahead of us in the queue, and given the number of people taking orders and working in the kitchen, it moved very swiftly:
20131003_134011

the system they have going at shake shack is that you queue to place your order, then proceed to the seating area where you queue again to be seated. you will only be allowed to take a seat if you have the buzzer they give you after ordering, so you can’t go with a bunch of friends and have someone reserve a table while the rest go and order. i think this makes for a pretty efficient system that helps them make the most of the tables they have. it didn’t take long for our buzzer to vibrate and our food to be ready for collection, yay!20131003_135322 shack burger: cheeseburger topped with lettuce, tomato and shacksauce – £5

more of the famed shack burger in all its half-eaten glory:20131003_135522i was actually a little disappointed by the burger! but maybe it was because i went with extremely high expectations given how much i had heard about it from people who had tried the burgers in US. it wasn’t bad at all; it was certainly above average, but just not a case of love at first bite for me hahaha. as a very typically american-style burger, it was compact and relatively small (big eaters should opt for the double option).

the burger bun was soft, warm and tasty, while the lettuce and tomato were fresh (as you can see from the pic; i hate it when veggie that has started browning is put in a burger!). as for the burger patty, it was juicy (but i wish it was even more juicy – the juice-dripping-down-my-hands kind of juicy) and everything together tasted very yummy although i would also have preferred the cheese to be a little more melty! given its price though, i really shouldn’t be complaining AT ALL – we all thought it was good stuff for the £5 we paid 🙂

one of my friends who is a vegetarian opted for the ‘shroom burger:
20131003_135758
‘shroom burger: crisp-fried portobello mushroom filled with melted cheese, topped with lettuce, tomato and shack sauce – £5.25

it looked REALLY good (just look at that cheese oozing out!!!) and my friend could not stop raving about the mushroom and cheese combi, so this is definitely what i am going to get the next time i visit shake shack! YUM.

i must also mention the fries – we ordered 3 portions of fries to share among the 5 of us, 2 plain and 1 with cheese!
20131003_135238we were originally rather skeptical about the fries because we saw when peering into the open kitchen while queuing that they were frozen and not freshly made! we later discovered that our worries were unfounded though, because they were goooood fries. we could tell that they were fried with fresh oil and they weren’t overly greasy at all; it almost made me feel guilt-free while eating them. remotely healthy-tasting but still very yummy fries… strange huh!

we also ordered dessert to share because we thought what they call “concretes” sounded too good to resist:
20131003_140838
union shack concrete: double – £6.50

this was like a dense frozen custard ice cream blended with a bunch of mix-ins. we got the union shack, which was made up of chocolate custard, st john bakery chocolate hazelnut brownies, fudge sauce, paul. a. young chocolate chunks and sea salt. i actually think it sounded better than it tasted, because it sounds amazingly amazing, doesn’t it? and it just tasted… not bad, pretty good! hahaha. i thought there was nothing fantastic about the ice cream itself – it was smooth and creamy, but nothing exceptionally extraordinary. the mix-ins were yummy though! especially the hazelnut brownie, despite the fact that it was very sweet. i’d probably have been more satisfied with gelupo gelato or something, though.

it was definitely a much-needed visit to a much-raved about place, and despite the fact that it fell below my expectations, i wouldn’t mind going back if i’m in the area and looking for a cheap (by london standards) and satisfying meal.

20131003_135014 20131003_140608

Shake Shack

24, Market Building, The Piazza Covent Garden
London WC2E 8RD

Lady M, Singapore

lady m and its amazing sweet treats have finally come to singapore!!! once we read in the papers that they were opening today, the sister and i marked it down in our calendars and headed to marina square as planned this afternoon!

the sister fell in love with their cakes when she tried them in new york last year, and very kindly carried a whole cake across the pond from new york to london so the cousins and i could get a taste of their super yummy handmade signature mille crepe. we were really impressed that the cake survived the flight just fine and still tasted as good as ever!

which explains the immense excitement that we can now get our hands on such goodness in our home sweet home:
20130908_140854
lady m at marina square 

besides their signature mille crepe cakes, lady m also serves a range of other cakes, tarts and pastries that are laid out at the counter for you to take your pick! they adopt a minimalist look/approach to the cake display which is very much like that of the outlets in new york, according to the sister.
20130908_140939

they also have a range of drinks on the menu, all of which my family thought were really reasonably priced, making this a great place to relax with a slice of cake and a coffee. they even have champagne if you’re in an exceptionally celebratory mood 😉20130908_141150

we ordered a slice of their signature mille crepe as well as a slice of their green tea mille crepe at the counter, and they were served to our table rather promptly. considering it was their first day in operation, their service was pretty good and efficient!

20130908_141426
mille crepe – $7

this is lady m’s signature cake which consists of 20 layers of crepe stacked on top of each other, with layers of cream in between. the crepes are handmade and the layers are very thin, which i feel is what sets lady m’s version of the crepe cake apart from others who have tried to make the same thing. the cream is light and layered in just the right amount such that they do not overwhelm the taste and texture of the crepe layers. the top layer is caramelised which gives it a melt-in-your-mouth effect – super yummm. the sister and i agreed that the cream tasted a little different from the new york version though! it seemed to have a cheesecake-type taste while the one we had from the big apple had a more ‘neutral’ taste if you get what i mean – over in the US, it was more like just very light fresh pastry cream.

20130908_141422
green tea mille crepe – $7

the green tea version of the mille crepe cake – i actually enjoyed this more than the original mille crepe! loved the generous serving of green tea powder that topped the slice and the infusion of green tea into every bit of the cake  – the taste of matcha was strong yet not overpowering, and the cake was light yet very satisfying. highly recommended to all green tea lovers out there!

one problem with the cakes today was that they became very soft and melty within a few minutes of being served to our table. check that out:20130908_141844
it being their first day in operation, i suppose unforeseen problems like these are bound to arise. we gave some feedback to the (very friendly and approachable) owner about this, and he told us that they would work on getting the cakes to remain firm for a longer time by leaving them refrigerated overnight and keeping the temperature in the cake display lower.

its good to know that they are working on this and hopefully this helps to “acclimatise” the cakes because the sister and i are definitely going to be back for more! the cakes still tasted great and this more than made up for the fact that they lost their shape very quickly. we also like the fact that the cakes and drinks aren’t priced exhorbitantly at all, and the service was good.

thumbs up for a first day and here’s hoping that they stick around for a long time to come!

20130908_14140220130908_143319

Lady M

Marina Square Shopping Mall, 6 Raffles Boulevard #02-103
Singapore 039594