With the popularity of burger restaurants in Central London, you do have to wonder if one day there will be more of them than our iconic British pubs. Having a unique selling point is crucial to stand out in this crowded market place. Step forward Big Fernand, a gregarious Gallic import, bringing the French model of a burger workshop to Fitzrovia.
The ground floor area is slightly nondescript bar their version of the French constitution. 9 laws that guarantee a fulfilling and satisfying experience from beginning to end and that they only use the freshest of ingredients. Upstairs is the quirky space, it might look like your Grandma’s living room, but this is where you will find hidden gems and surprises: retro radios, analogue phones and a space with character and warmth.
Also part of the experience is dealing with their amicable French staff. Cooking mouth-watering burgers might be their strong point, but explaining the menu in English not necessarily so. Having discovered all 3 of their desserts were sold out/not available, I was given their raspberry special. With their cheeky smiles, 3 different staff members tried to explained to me what it was, before I eventually worked out it was a tiramisu raspberry and speculos. Sweet, frothy, innocent, you could easily use those words to describe the staff as well as the dessert.
Well are their burgers worth the trek into central London? That would be a burgertastic yes. If you love your burgers at their flavoursome best, then this is the place for you. With tomme de savoie cheese, home-made cocktail sauce as well as ample sun-dried tomatoes and flat parsley to support a fantastically firm and fresh beef patty, this would be as strong-tasting a burger as you would find anywhere in London. Some might say the taste is overpowering, but if you want a plain burger, surely you can make that at home when you have your barbecue at the back garden. The rich taste is precisely why people like eating out.
The bun supporting the burger did appear to be too large on initial inspection and rather retro-looking with its sesame coating, but once you bite into this dreamy creation, you realise it’s perfect for soaking up the juices from the beef as well as the flavoursome cheese and their secret cocktail sauce. The sesame also added some welcoming textural difference to the burger.
If you feel guilty after enjoying all the meat and cheese, their healthy salad side should help to restore that je ne sais quoi to your inner wellbeing. Arriving early is essential, on the night of our review, apart from selling out of all their desserts on the menu, there were also no chicken or lamb burgers. Clearly they are very popular or they need to hire a new staff member for ordering their ingredients.