Tuesday, 10 March 2015

[Review] Big Fernand burgers, Percy Street, London

*Update* Big Fernand have now tweaked pricing so burgers are £7-£10, and Fernandines (chips) are £3.

The latest edition to London's burgeoning burger scene, Big Fernand, has just opened in its soft launch phase, which ends on 12 March.
Big Fernand is a VERY French hamburger concept. which makes sense as they hail from Paris where they're already operating five restaurants. In London, their gaff is staffed with a huge number of stereotypically moustachioed, stripey shirted servers and chefs, the majority of whom are actually French - there's a real feel that the whole place has been plucked out of a Paris arrondissement and dropped into Fitzrovia - except they're not taking themselves to seriously.

So, on Day 1, and having never visited the Big Fernand HQ, how do the burgers stack up?

Price: 


Bartholomé (bacon cheeseburger) - £12.
Bartholomé meal deal with Fernandines (fries) and any soft drink - £15.

Surely that's in Euros, yes? Oh, it isn't. Well for that money it had better be good.

Presentation:

Ostensibly, it's fast food. The burger is wrapped in branded, greaseproof paper and served on a plastic tray along with a tubular cardboard pot of Fernandines and a drink. It is ready in moments - but that could just be the eagerness of the grill boss to get the food out avec vitesse on soft launch day.
On the unwrap, it's a bit underwhelming. The flattened, over-sized bun hides the great majority of the interstices and it lacks the initial visual impact to moisten my tastebuds and justify the £12 price tag. C'est combien?!


Toppings:

Of course you have to hand it to our cousins across the Channel, they do have savoir faire when it comes to flavour. Biting through the burger, I finally started to understand what I'm getting for my money - the combination of the Tata Fernand and BB Fernand sauces (cocktail and bbq to you and me) fabriquer chez Big Fernand, melding with the oozing melted raclette, caramelised onions, and dry cured streaky bacon is magnifique. It's a very different beast to most of the other burgers on offer across London with the layers of sweet and salt building on the palate to form a fantastic refined flavour, plus a little je ne sais quoi, that put a smile on this francophile's face.

Meat:

The beef in the Big Fernand burgers is frankly awesome. It has been aged to the point of soft, mellow earthiness which, along with the caramelisation from the flat-top grill, merges perfectly with the toppings it's been paired with giving layers of flavour rolling across your tongue, and a smooth, creamy aftertaste.
And there's no question of you not having it cooked to order either - with 'blue rare' an option on the menu - you can have it done however you want.  Of course, being French, they've also put a rose veal burger on the menu paired with a fennel mayonnaise, which I'll be trying next time.

Bun:

What could have been a big fail in this process turns out to be a masterstroke - and a Bun Win. The slightly flattened, oversize bun is actually the perfect wrapper to what is effectively a burger pie, the filling to which is everything we've already covered above. It's a soft, light, white, sesame-seeded bun sourced from a London baker and spread liberally inside with the two homemade sauces. The genius, however, is the slight crunch from the very thin crust on the outside, while the rest of the bun is fluffy and light. It's almost like a mega-thin crusted french baguette...

The bonus to this is it also makes it super easy to eat with one hand as it moulds itself around the whole ensemble.

Accessories:


The Fernandines are french cut fries, double cooked, made in house and they're covered in a house seasoning that's like a paprika salt. They're fine with a decent crunch, but are not the star of the show here. Bof.

Overall rating: 8/10

The Bartholomé burger from Big Fernand is very good. The way the flavours work shows a real understanding for burger creation, while the textures between bun, bacon, cheese and beef are exceptional. It's a different proposition to a host of other burgers out there, and it works, so vive la difference!

But, mais oui, there is a but, it is £12 for the burger alone, and £15 for the meal deal that's an eye-watering price given that not far away you have burgers like Patty & Bun (£8 Ari Gold with bacon), MEATLiquor (£8.50 Dead Hippie) and Honest Burger (£10 Honest burger with fries) - and compared to the Big Fernand Paris menu which is the same numbers but in Euros - I think the team need to revisit their pricing strategy.


Big Fernand on Urbanspoon

6 comments:

  1. Great to see another burger bar on London's prolific beef scene !

    ReplyDelete
  2. Snortripper11 March, 2015

    They have situated themselves in one of the most expensive parts of London so the rent is going to be très cher, but even so, this kind of pricing is the other side of my pain barrier so I'll be bidding Big Fernand adieu.

    ReplyDelete
  3. RickyLondon13 March, 2015

    @Snortripper Before you bid Big Fernand adieu for good, please be aware that following Hamburger Me and other reviewers' comments, the guys at BF have taken note and are currently revisiting their pricing structure. So bear with them a little..

    ReplyDelete
  4. Snortripper13 March, 2015

    Thanks, Ricky. As much as I would love my burgers for free I know that will not happen, but Big Fernand has to come into line with the others or offer a bigger and better proposition if it wants to charge prices like that. And even then, we are in a different dining territory.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Way overpriced quelle merde!!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Dave Hemming30 March, 2015

    Looks like they've removed the meal option but dropped the Bartholomé burger to £9 (fries £3, drink £2.50). There's a cheaper burger and lamb, veal, chicken and veggie options for £9 or £10.

    ReplyDelete

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