Sometimes, all you want is a good burger. A big, fat, juicy, sauce-all-over-your-face stack. And us Londoners are absolutely spoilt for choice, with guilty-pleasure fast food joints, trendy hipster hangouts, and now? Fat Hippo in Shoreditch. I'd noticed this burger brand popping up all over the UK, waiting eagerly for them to open a site in the capital – so when they did, I obviously had to check it out immediately.
Found just a short walk from Shoreditch station, this large, spacious restaurant had a buzzy vibe about it. Nearly every table was taken up by dates, groups of mates and family outings, with a queue gradually building by the door. Boasting bare-brick walls and modern overheard lights alongside thick, wooden tables and leather seats, it brought a cool NYC loft vibe to our evening. After making ourselves comfortable in our cosy corner, we kicked off the evening with a couple of Fat Hippo Proper IPAs (£4.80). These 330ml cans did us nicely – they were light and very drinkable, with a subtle fruity flavour to them.
For starters, the wachos (£10.90) caught my attention. Waffle fries – but as nachos? I was sold. A very generous bowl of waffle fries came doused in liquid cheese, soured cream, Hippo hot sauce and squeezy guacamole, topped with tangy, spicy jalapenos and smashed beef. Without being over the top about what is essentially a glorified bowl of nachos, these were absolutely delicious; the fries were still crispy despite the lashings of sauce and all the flavours paired together like a match made in heaven... I was sad when the last bite was gone.
But, I was immediately cheered up when my Swiss Tony (£13.90) arrived. The burger was made up of two smashed beef patties nestled together in a demi brioche bun with Swiss cheese, smoked bacon, mushrooms, Cajun onion rings and truffle mayo. The gooey cheese provided me with the ultimate cheese pull as I took each bite, plus there was a much-welcomed crunch from the crispy onion bits and a delicate mushroom and truffle flavour running through. To accompany, I ordered a portion of hand-cut fries (£3.90). While you could tell the chips were well-made (lovely and rustic) they were unfortunately a little cold and lacked seasoning.
My partner, being the glutinous pig that he is, went for the Fat Hippo (£13.90), but with extra chicken (£3.50). Another double patty extravaganza, this was a combo of American cheese, smoked bacon, chorizo, onion rings and Fat Hippo sauce. He had to take a couple of breathers along the way, with a few swigs of the IPA to help wash it down, but was very surprised to find that the burger managed to hold together throughout the entirety of this feat (and for a usually very messy eater, he got away without a single drop of sauce on his shirt). He remarked on the great quality of the beef and the gentle but unmissable smokiness of the chorizo. If you can believe it, he also made his way through a bowl of dirty tater tots (£5.50), which came piping hot, dripping in Fat Hippo sauce and sprinkled with bacon bits.
The DesignMyNight Digest
When I visited, it was early January and I was still reeling from the debaucherous activities of December, so all I really wanted to do was sit back and relax with some indulgent comfort food. And that’s exactly what I did. The burgers and sides provided us with the ultimate food porn – the flavour combos were spot on, the buns held together well and the portions were absolutely massive. I'll certainly be back to have another crack at those wachos.
💰 The damage: Around £60, plus service charge.
📍 The location: 5-9 Great Eastern St, London EC2A 3EJ.
👌 Perfect for: Casual date nights and group dinners.
⭐ Need to know: There are super cute cabanas towards the back, bag one of those if you can.
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