Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Tommi's Burger Joint Cheeseburger

£9.40 for "Offer Of The Century" which equates to a cheeseburger, fries and a can of pop. Cheeseburger on its own is £5.80. Fries: £2.90.

People have been raving about Tommi's, the new Icelandic burger joint in town and while I shared my thoughts on its wares in a news post in Burgerapp the day it opened, I thought I'd share them here on the blog too...

Burgerac's New York correspondent, Colonel Mustard, dined at Burger Joint in Reykjavik back in March this year, and reported back to the effect that there wasn't much to report. Well, she's a New Yorker and a burger has to be hella good to impress her. Some readers might recall that she controversially gave Shake Shack only four out of five Burgerac stars last year. Anyways, we both headed to Tommi's at 58 Marylebone Lane the day it opened (on the 6th August) to check it out.

Tommi's is a cosy 25-seat diner with exposed brickwork, lit by lamps and fairy lights. I actually love the premises and the vibe. And to be able to see the chargrill / deep fat fryer action happening just inches behind the guy taking the orders is pretty cool. Burgers start at £5.30 and a basket of fries will set you back £2.90. There's no booze license but there are cans of soft drinks or milkshakes.

But whilst I've since read various rave reviews about Tommi's burgers, mine and Colonel Mustard's first impression was that the burgers were a bit... well... basic.

The buns are lovely and soft – but so is everything else: an accompanying squirt of ketchup and American style mustard (I'm pretty sure they inadvisably use a French's wannabe rather than French's), a frugal slice of tomato, a few scraggly bits of iceberg lettuce and a very thin slice of completely tasteless cheese (optional) make for a somewhat underwhelming burger experience. Tommi's burgers just don't compare to either the well constructed burgers at Honest Burgers which has opened it's second restaurant (in Soho) recently, or the sloppy indulgence of MEATliquor's fare just around the corner.

Tommi's fries are OK in terms of texture (think Maccy Dees) but they taste slightly more of spud than of fried spud. I'm pretty sure they're cooked from frozen and I'm guessing ours were slightly undercooked and under salted.

The promising news, though, is that Tommi's course ground beef patties themselves are remarkably good, very tasty indeed, and ours were perfectly cooked on the rare side of medium.

It seems a shame, then, that Tommi's burgers are thrown together as they would be at a back yard barbecue – there's no real finesse and so the experience hinges on the quality of the beef patties (which, admittedly, are excellent) rather than on the ensemble as a whole.

Above: my second Tommi's burger

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I hope Tommi's will start to show the patties a little more love and put some more thought into the construction of their burgers, because at the moment I wouldn't go out of my way to go back there. There are street vendors serving burgers that are way better put together than these and which cost less. Mother Flipper and Burger Bear (review coming soon) are cases in point.

Mabye I'd be raving about Tommi's if I'd never had a burger before in my life, but I have - and some ruddy good ones at that. For me, Tommi's doesn't compete with London's best burger vendors but because their meat patties are so awesome, I'm not writing them off just yet. I just hope that they realise that in a crowded market place, they're gonna have to do more than simply cook a mean patty.


Tommi's Burger Joint
58 Marylebone Lane


Tommi's Burger Joint on Urbanspoon

Square Meal


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Food over London said...

Agree with this. The cheese really kills it, making the burger a bit sickly. Also the steak burger is made out of rump, ribeye and fillet, bit OTT isn't it?

BurgerAddict said...

Great write up, I've not been yet.

Your picture from the doorway is fantastic as well.

Cheeseburgerboy said...

I found it disappointing too. Was the steak burger much better than the standard one?

James2300 said...

I totally agree with your review. When the guy with the shaved head (who I guess is the head dude) asked me if everything was fine when we left, I wish I had just mentioned a few things. The meat and bun were really great, but Jesus...don't use Iceberg lettuce, especially not the shitty thick yellow part. Use a perfectly round piece of bright green Romaine, and use better cheese. They're in a position to create something really special here and create a proper bit of competition with MeatLiquor, I just hope they don't screw it up!

Anonymous said...

I was really disappointed with Tommi's Burger Joint after the hype and build up they gave it. Twenty minutes for what turned out not to be anything special. There are so many burger outlets in London (no bad thing) just rejuvinate it a bit please!!! And definitely don't use plastic cheese. Two of us dined together, and one burger was almost raw, the other was so overdone and dry. I can't see people queuing out the door here like they are at MeatLiquor down the road. Fantastic location but not well executed in my mind. I read that McDonald's closed their Iceland restaurants in 2009, and it looks like Tommi's have just tried to reinvent the wheel. Not sure this will work in London!

Burgerac said...

@ Food Over London - IF ONLY the cheese had been sickly! For me there's not enough of it to make any kind of impact, either positive or negative.

@Cheeseburgerboy - I didn't have the steak burger. If I want rump, fillet or rib eye, I'll go get a steak!

@James2300 - Actually, iceberg is my favourite lettuce in a beef burger, but I prefer it to be shredded quite fine rather than in random chunks, lumps or sheets.

Sunny said...

Really dissapointed had the cheeseburger it reminded me of a birds eye frozen burger. Waste of my cash. Meatliquor and Goodmans all the way in this part of London. 0.5 out of 5!!!!

Fred Heys said...

I had come here a few times after seeing the queues outside meatliquor, when it was just on Marylebone Lane, and thought it Ok. However after a few patty&bun and honest burger meals, I was in the neighbourhood and decided to pop into its new address on Thayer St. I have to say, it was a very "meh" experience. The burger its self doesn't contain any trademark taste or punch that the aforementioned burgers have. No discernible traits that make it stand out, or house relish. On top of that there was some hard bit of bone in the meat and a fly in my girl friends lettuce. Didn't really help Tommis case. Also there is just a free for all seating, which I guess avoids the silly queues (if they ever happen here) but you just end up with a host of people wandering around eyeing up tables that might free up, its pretty hopeless.

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