Rolling out the green carpet, installing a photo booth and recruiting a live band and DJ, Shake Shack Cardiff had guests moving and grooving into Christmas week on Monday 21st for their launch party.
Situated in the heart of St Davids 2 Shopping centre, Shake Shack takes prime position on the Upper Eastside for shoppers in need of a refuel.
Read on as I explore the unique menu to Cardiff and try some of their world-renowned burgers.
Shake Shack had humble beginnings in New York’s Madison Square Park 14 years ago as a hot dog cart. Now a critically acclaimed modern day burger stand, the Shack brings 100% natural Angus beef burgers, flat-top dogs, crinkly fries and more to the table.
They hopped across the pond to London’s Covent Garden in 2013 where business boomed and their UK fan base flourished.
When I heard about Shake Shack opening in Cardiff earlier this week I jumped at the chance to attend the launch, I remember dining at London’s months ago by recommendation and savouring every bite of them golden fries!
I chatted with Mark Rosati, the company’s Culinary Director about opening in Wales. Originally from Connecticut, he loved Cardiff’s community spirit and agreed “it’s a city with a small-town feel” as you’re never too far away from a familiar friendly face.
It’s this unique quality of Cardiff that appealed to Shake Shack, as one would naturally assume the next locations for UK expansion after London would be larger cities like Birmingham or Manchester… there’s still time yet though!
I think it’s also a testament to the Welsh appetite for great food and drink. Mark and his team have recognised the growing food and craft beer scene and found some great businesses to collaborate with for their Cardiff Shack, such as Fabulous Welshcakes and Tiny Rebel Brewing Co.
The ‘Welshcake Jam Concrete‘ (£5) is made by mixing at high speed frozen vanilla custard, welshcake and strawberry jam. It was very enjoyable and 5% of sales go to The Wallich, a charity tackling homelessness across Wales.
You can also get creative and design your own concrete with a variety of mix-ins like marshallow sauce and hazelnut brownie.
I believe these qualities set Shake Shack UK apart from many competitors as they’re open to collaborating with reputable local businesses in each location, while upholding their own impeccable standards and great taste. Mark is also keen to expand and develop menu in the months and years to come (so there’s always a good excuse to return).
Additionally, Mark explained how the Shack caters to the whole family who can come here to enjoy each others company over food and not feel rushed.
Dad can enjoy a ShackMeister Ale (£5.50 a pint) or handpicked local craft beer, Mum can have wine and the kids can tuck into a frozen custard shake or flat-top dog. Even the pet dog at home doesn’t go without, the Shack offers dog biscuits and ice cream to takeaway!
I tried one of the peanut butter shakes on the launch evening, fans of snickers chocolate should look no further – a perfectly smooth consistency and taste. One of Mark’s favourites is a mix of peanut butter and chocolate (I think we’d get along well).
Other flavours to try include: vanilla, chocolate, caramel, black & white and strawberry.
The burgers are some of the juiciest and leanest I’ve come to try – 100% all-natural Aberdeen Angus beef patties. Though they’re not the largest of burgers, quality over quantity does ring true.
I was also rather impressed by the uniformity between each burger as it promises the same level of quality and taste with each visit.
In the ShackBurger’s moist bread roll is lettuce, tomato and cheese topped with a delicious ShackSauce that oozes onto your tongue with every bite (is your mouth watering yet?!). The paper bag is also rather practical, no greasy hands and little chance of food accidents – excellent.
I’m not overly keen on bacon but really appreciated the taste of the SmokeShack with free range Wiltshire cure smoked bacon, chopped cherry pepper and ShackSauce. I can see this being a popular option for Cardiff goers nursing a hangover or desiring a weekend treat.
There are currently six burger options available (including a vegetarian ‘Shroom Burger for £5.50) and four flat-top dogs. The cumberland style pork sausage (£4.50) is from Jimmy’s Farm in East Anglia.
The light, golden crinkle cut fries were as good as I remembered. I enjoyed them with the cheese sauce alone but there’s sauce dispensers available too.
The burgers are priced reasonably at £5.50 for a single ShackBurger or £8.75 for a double. The shakes are a pricey £5.25, but it’s a worthwhile treat every now and then (go squeeze in a few before the New Year diet!).
A double ‘ShackMeister’.
Shake Shack Cardiff is open now in St Davids 2 Cardiff. “Byrgyrs am byth”!
For more information and full menu, visit Shake Shacks website by clicking here.
Love burgers? Click here for my review of Locke & Remedy Bar & Restaurant in Cardiff.
Thanks to Shake Shack Cardiff, PR and Mark for a fun launch event and the complimentary food and drinks. All opinions are my own.