Another new burger joint in London town, you'd think we have enough of these by now but alas another place tries to put its stamp down in an already saturated, busting at the seams, climate. Tuesday saw the opening of French burger joint Big Fernand just off Tottenham Court Road. I ate the original Parisian joint a few years ago and remember liking the burger so I was intrigued to see how the London branch would fare in comparison.
I arrived on the opening evening expecting the place to be swarming but was surprised to see an empty restaurant with staff hustling in passers by in an almost intimidating manner. Alas, you can't blame them for being keen. At the most I counted 13 members of staff which seems excessive for a small place but I assume they were expecting a bigger impact on the opening day.
The restaurant looks just like the Parisian joint with the same style concept and interior. You order at the long bar, await your tray of food and take a seat. The menu consists of a variety of beef, chicken, veal and veggie burgers with chips and an assortment of drinks. The menu is very French which is a nice salute to the original branch. I was told the Bartholome is the most popular so placed my order; cooked rare with chips and diet coke for a total price of £15.
On first impressions I thought the burger looked very bread heavy and to be perfectly honest the sesame seed bun is rather large. That being said, the disregard for the now standard brioche bun was a welcomed variation. The burger was beefy and succulent, cooked perfectly rare and extremely tasty. The melted raclette cheese was heaven but this was partially let down by the overwhelming cloying taste of the combined cured bacon, caramelised onions and BBQ burger sauce. Good thing there wasn't a brioche bun as the whole thing would have been far too sweet! The chips on the other hand were perfect, crispy with a hint paprika, absolutely lovely.
I did enjoy this burger, it's quite different from other London variations but I do think £15 is on the expensive side considering this is practically a take away joint. Most London based burger bars do a burger for under a tenner and these are actually sit in, table service type places. If I was in the area again and looking for a quick meal I might pop in but I think a lot of people would be put off at the price.
UPDATE: apparently the prices are being revised as a lot of people agree it is too expensive.