Whenever I hear that a well-loved local is getting a makeover I experience a certain amount of trepidation. Will I still find it a comfortable ... Read Feature
Tommi’s Burger Joint, It’s funny how the when you get over halfway through a decade the trends that were just so, oh I don’t know…trendy…a few years ago seem suddenly to be in danger of becoming instantly ridiculous. I have no idea what we’re calling this decade, so I’ll just settle with the teens, but so far the most instantly recognizable fads to crawl their way out of Shoreditch have been the beards the and burgers.
It can’t have escaped most people’s attention that seemingly over the last few years both have been susceptible to rapid inflation, with beards in some cases approaching near navel reaching proportions and burgers larger than the heads attempting to devour them. The difference though is whilst I’ve always felt that beards look ridiculous on most people, I think I’ll always have time for a decent burger.
It was with this in mind that Delightful Dining Companion (DDC) & I found ourselves inside Tommi’s Burger Joint, Marylebone recently after a successful shopping exhibition. The fact that Tommi’s exists is perhaps an indication that we’ve reached or will soon be hitting peak burger.
These days there’s scarcely a high street in all of London that doesn’t have some sort of outfit offering artisanal burgers to the natives. From Wanstead to Watford and Upminster to Uxbridge it’s probably now impossible to pop down the shops without being offered pure bred buffalo patties sitting inside an organic brioche bun finished with a blue cheese and avocado topping.
Of course the worst offenders are still located where the craze probably originated, out there in the Shoreditch/Hoxton axis. Here you’ll see burgers dripping with at least types of cheese and bacon, and being so cholesterol laden that you can have aneurysms simply from looking at them.
Tommi’s is then what London desperately needs, not, an Icelandic burger bar. I think now we have this the only gaps to fill are Basque and Panamanian and then we’ll have completed the full set. Though as I’ve said Tommi’s might be an indication we’re hitting peak burger, I have to admit to rather liking it, and here’s why.
Tommi’s has a certain style, it looks somewhat like you’d imagine a burger bar would look like if it was opened by a group of superannuated Nordic death metal fixated students, taking a break from their second master’s degree to stave off a near fatal attack of the munchies, would look like. The emphasis inside is black, and the sort black you’d associate with goths and clothes that have had slightly too many washes, you know what I mean.
The rest of the décor is heavy rock 70’s retro. But here again it’s seems that the decorator got his knowledge from the radio rather than seeing it for himself. Despite this, it works for me! For those who know it, the place reminds a bit of Project Orange bar in Clapham Junction, a place where every night is Halloween and the bar staff have no reflection.
The menu is simple, burgers. Well you do get a choice, beef (standard,) steak, chicken or veggie. The beef and the veggie will set you back about £7, whilst the steak and surprisingly the chicken are about £9. Extras are rather limited, you can choose to top your burger with bacon and/or cheese, and have it served with fries and/or coleslaw. The burgers come served with lettuce, tomato, red onion, mayo, ketchup and mustard, I’ve never asked so don’t know whether these are optional.
There is a pretty good hard and soft drinks list, with from memory the milkshakes being very good. Wine ranges from £17 – £25 a bottle, or about £4.50 a glass. Bottle beers I felt were slightly overpriced at £4.5 – £4.75, but the list appeared well chosen, if a not a little achingly fashionable.
One of the great things at Tommi’s is the ‘choose your own relish’ bar. When your burgers arrive you can then decide whether to coat your patty with gherkins or pickled jalapenos, whilst looking at what sort of sauce would best compliment your fries.
The burgers arrived pretty swiftly, I would say within about 10 minutes of ordering them. There was little difference between what we’d chosen, I’d gone for a cheese burger whilst the DDC seemed more than happy with her bacon and cheese.
Tommi’s burgers aren’t dirty, they have a more subtle, burgery flavour. You can tell at once that the ingredients were good. The use of old school salad in the patty makes the Tommi burger seem rather what you’d imagine a whooper would taste like if they have Burger King in heaven. I was very well please. I could tell the DDC was as well as despite the fact that it’s probably a good 20 minutes’ walk from her office she was talking about trying to tempt the rest of her company down there.
What of the fries? Well here my feelings are less ecstatic. They are good, thin, and crispy and actually fries rather than wannabe chips. They taste is if a professional chef has tried to recreate whilst upscaling what you’d usually find sitting next to your quarter pounder at McDonalds or dare I say it Wimpy. The problem is that’s it, fries by their nature don’t have that much flavour, and so even here when you encounter the best of them they’re still somewhat bland.
So what’s my verdict? Tommi’s is in Marylebone and that’s actually deceptively close to what used to be known as the posh end of Oxford Street, so it’s easy to reach pre, post or even mid shopping expedition. Is it worth it? Yes of course it is, how many times have you been able to say that you’ve had Icelandic for lunch before? What none, well there you go.
Seriously, Tommi’s isn’t my favourite burger joint, that honour sits somewhere between Dip n Flip in Battersea and Big Fernand on Percy Street. I do however really like it, and will make a beeline for it if in the area. It’s already been joined by a sister brand on the King’s Road and soon another will be opening in Soho. So yes there are a few short comings, but it has to be said Tommi, you rock.
Tommi’s Burger Joint.
30 Thayer Street, London, W1U 2QP