It was cold the day I went to Shake Shack in Covent Garden. Which is a shame, because I was breezily told that during the summer, the outside area was packed to the gills with people happily guzzling on burgers, drinks and pudding in between trips to the Transport Museum and the Apple Store.
Instead, my eating partner and I managed to find a spot indoors, not an easy task for most because it's not the biggest inside space, though we were assured that the heaters which already warm one side of the restaurant are on their way from the manufacturer for the other. Still looked pretty chilly to me.
Inside though, we were able to get to grips with the food and beer without the aid of gloves. Borne out of a popular hot dog stand in New York, Shake Shack has now become a franchise, with branches in Pennsylvania, Florida, Russia and the Middle East.
We weren't lucky enough to jet off to Dubai, but sampling the London menu meant we did get to try the Shackmeister Ale, which is brewed exclusively for them by the Brooklyn Brewery. We were pleased to get the opportunity.
The burgers too were impressive. I was recovering from a bout of stomach flu, so was staying away from anything too spicy, but my friend had the Smokeshack which smelled lovely and the sauce gave it a solid, yet mild tang. I went for the straightforward Cheeseburger. The bun was soft and rich without being soggy, the patty thinnish but with plenty of taste. I wolfed it down in about forty seconds.
We thought it would be churlish not to try a hot dog as well, so shared the Shack-cago Dog, a frankfurter with all the trimmings. It would probably be the item I'd order first off next time. Split and cooked crisp, it had a good bite, whilst the veggies gave it freshness. The celery salt was a clever addition.
The chips too were excellent - crinkle-cut fries that were like posh McCain's, one portion of which we opted to add cheesy sauce. Anyone who's gone for nachos at the cinema will know the glutinous cheese paste which accompanies it. I was worried it would be the same here, but in fact the sauce was light without being watery.
As well as being a burger joint, Shake Shack is well known for its frozen custard, varieties of which are changed daily. I asked whether frozen custard was just a neat name for ice-cream, in the way that the word gelato has taken over Soho (I know, I know, they're all different, but I'm not an ice cream aficionado).
Our waiter suggested it was, kind of, but that frozen custard was creamier. He was right - and the Big Blend, with its mix of vanilla and chocolate with brown sugar biscuit and brownie mixed in was spectacular. My guest went for the Sticky Toffee and said the homemade salted caramel sauce was amongst the best he'd tasted.
Prices were good and the serving staff were young and fun. You have to be ready to queue - and rely on people eating and leaving relatively quickly - but as far as fast food joints go, this is a corker.