So today I got to try an ‘In-N-Out’ burger for the first time.
At around half 9 this morning Flo called me to tell me to come as quickly as I could to Swiss Cottage for the four hour In-N- Out burger pop-up. Having had Flo come back from the States recently all I’d heard from him for the past few weeks was his ravings about the food. He’d mentioned In-N-Out burgers a lot, saying how it was the best burger he’d ever had. Knowing the multitude of places Flo had eaten across the world I was astounded to find out that a chain restaurant had toppled his palette. So when I found out the place had a pop-up just round the corner I naturally prioritised it over anything else.
I arrived at around half ten and was shocked. The queue was at least 300 people deep. No exaggeration, no lie. It was ridiculous. I realised that I’d turned up, and may I say rather naively, at 10:30pm on a Thursday to then be confronted by hundreds of people. I once turned up to an Adidas store to be turned away because there weren’t enough wristbands. But this queue was different. There were more people queuing than I’d ever seen before. And for a burger? A BLUDCLART BURGER. Not some shoes, or clothing, but a burger. The fact that so many had turned out and queued for a burger got me thinking that maybe I was wrong to doubt Flo. Maybe In-N-Out is the best burger ever..
By the time we were allowed in I had been be queuing for two and a half hours. It was one of the most enjoyable queues I’d been contained in. Lots of laughter, good vibes and general food based discussion. Not a single angry ‘burger-head’ in site. We entered and were immediately greeted by a team of fresh-faced, enthusiastic staff members, all very keen to keep the experience as authentic as possible. When I approached the till I was greeted with a sticker pack and pin (Nfs), which is always nice. The first thing I said to the assistant was “whats the biggest thing I can order?” (having heard myths in the queue of 4×4 burgers, and even 10×10 had made me really hungry.) To my dismay I was told that the biggest I could order was a double. However I didn’t let that hinder my efforts so far and persevered on.
We sat down at our table, massive smiles on our faces, waiting for the food to arrive. Around 10 mins in it made its way to our table. Not gonna lie I was upset at first. The chips were replaced by crisps, and the meal was quite small (i’m an XL/XXL). But the burger banged. There’s not much else to it. Five Guys does not bang, but this does. I took a bite and I got goosebumps. It was the perfect mixture of beefy, cheesey, and briochey goodness. It was bliss. So worth the two and a half hour wait. The only qualm I had with the food was the portion. I really wish I could have gotten a bigger size. And fries. And a Neapolitan milkshake (Flo had filled my head with myths and stories of the milkshake to end all milkshakes). But understandably they didn’t want to bring sub-par, frozen food to their establishment. I didn’t realise that all the food was of fresh produce and not prepared from frozen; hence the difficulties to reproduce the same quality over here.
All in all, I was very happy with the burger. It was tasty and had the best balance of flavours and textures that one has yet experienced from any burger in London. That being said, I am new to this, and I’ve still got many a burger to try.
Photography by Flo Kohl
Words by Tayler Prince-Fraser