Monday 7 March 2016

Big Fernand in London - it was just à bientôt

Cripes, tempus fugit.

It seems like only yesterday (when in reality it was around about this time twelve months ago) when Big Fernand made its first foray into the London burger scene. Since then they've revised their pricing (on the back of this review and a pile of social feedback), got into the swing of things with their service, and are now able to serve their burgers blue - more about that later.

On the run up to Big Fernand's first birthday they've created a new burger Le Balthazar (combining calvados compote, camembert, and pork belly with their French beef patty) and they're giving away 100 on 23 March. So while we wait for that to become available, what better opportunity to take another look at their burger offering a year on.


Le Bartholomé - £9.
Chips - £3.


This is one constant from Big Fernand, the presentation. A satisfyingly heavy burger wrapped in premium burger paper takes centre stage. There's a decent quantity of paprika salted chips, and I'm ready to get stuck in.


The Bartholomé is topped with gruyère and crispy bacon. The cheese is subtle with hints of nuttiness which is a great complement to the beef, and the bacon is crisp, crunchy and with a caramelised sweetness coming through too. I opted out of the BBQ sauce this time to see how the other ingredients would hold up, and I'm glad I did as the joy in this burger for me is in its subtlety. The heavily smokey and sweet BBQ sauce which is delivered in a pot on the side would have overpowered this beef and cheese combo.


The imported French Charolais beef is ground and pressed in-house (actually in the restaurant basement if you really want to know) and due to a recent stepping down from Westminster Council on the medium-rare debate, Big Fernand are now serving their burgers bleu .

Burger patties are pressed onto the flap-top grill and seasoned with a mix of pepper, paprika and garlic powder (your partner won't thank you later) and your 'to order' burger is topped with cheese before being ushered into its bun.

I obviously ordered my burger blue, because I can, to see what impact the shorter time on the flat-top has on taste - and while you don't get that hit of caramelisation in the crust, in the context of the rest of the ingredients in this burger the flavour of this mellow, creamy French beef is excellent.


This IS burger pie. And this is a good. thing.


The Big Fernand fries are pretty decent, crispy, with a great paprika salt. They work brilliantly with the cocktail sauce dip, too.

Overall rating: 8.5/10

Given my last mark for this burger was a half point lower, you'll be asking yourselves "what's changed?" The answer lies in one key area - it is in the cooking of the beef. This beef REALLY wants to be cooked blue - the lack of salt in the grill seasoning means the flavours are light, subtle and accentuated by the flash cooking on the flat top - and that plays to the burger's strengths. But it does need a bit more seasoning, a bit more of a hit on the palate. Die hard lovers of the Lucky Chip's of this world won't enjoy this, but I'd recommend it to everybody else.

So long my friends, until the next time.

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