I'm just back from a week in London after completing the first week of training for a new job. As many of you will know, I love London. Nicola and myself try to get down to the London at least a couple of times a year with food and drink normally top of our things to do. I had been looking forward to my trip although I was a little wary of being in London without Nicola as the capital can be an incredibly lonely place when you're on your own. That said, the plus side of being on my own was that I could try out a few places to eat that we might not normally visit as a couple.
Whilst scrolling though my Facebook wall I eyes were drawn to a sponsored post for a newly opened burger bar in Soho called Tommi's Burger Joint. Social media marketing rarely catches my attention but as I needed to find places to eat, I clicked through the advert to find out more about the brand. As it turned out, Tommi's is a bit of an institution, as Tómas Andrés Tómason launched his first burger bar in Reykjavik back in 1981. After selling over one million burgers in just a couple of years, Tommi sold the business then took some time out in Los Angeles. Whilst there, he met Isaac B. Tigrett, the owner of Hard Rock Cafe London & Hard Rock New York and they worked on a joint venture of opening Hard Rock Cafe Reykjavik before opening a grillhouse and a hotel and running all three businesses successfully for ten years before Tommi decided to get back into the burger game with the launch of Burger Joint in the Icelandic capital. There are now three Tommi's in Iceland, one in Germany, one in Denmark and the Berwick Street venue becomes the third Tommi's in London.
The Facebook campaign was working a treat and when I arrived there there was a small queue of burger lovers, waiting patiently outside keen to benefit from the opening offer. I found out later that there had been a constant queue outside for the majority of the day. I'm not sure how big the other two London branches of Tommi's are but I could see that even if I did eventually make it through the door, I was going to struggle to get a seat - the website does warn that there is limited seating and that customers are served on a first come first served basis and that there is a quick turnaround on tables - fortunately, it wasn't too long before I was served and found a seat at the end of the bar running along the window.
The menu is pretty simple with just a few burgers to choose from and in the end I ordered the 'Offer of the Century', which was a Classic burger, fries and a soft drink for £10.90 although I did add cheese and bacon plus I also upgraded by soft drink to a can of Beavertown Gamma Ray American Pale Ale, this brought my bill to just under £18 including the 12.5% service charge that seems to be common place in London. Of course with the opening offer 50% discount it meant that my burger, fries and craft beer cost less that £9 which isn't bad for city centre London.
So was it worth the 1.5 mile walk from Blackfriars to Soho? Absolutely! Tommi's have worked out that to make a good burger, you just have to keep things simple. The beef patty was well seasoned and cooked over the grill, served pink in a toasted brioche bun that held together all the way to the final bite. The addition rich cheddar and smoky crispy bacon worked well with the charred flavours from the grill. When beef tastes this good, there's no need to go over the top with lavish garnishes or overpowering sauces.
It wasn't long before I had finished my burger and fries and felt the need to free up my seat at the window, in the 30 minutes that I spent at Tommi's, there was a constant queue outside and I felt bad about hogging a seat.
So would I go back to Tommi's and pay full price? Maybe I would. The food was fresh, cooked to order and very tasty and at just £10.90 for the 'Offer of the Century', Tommi's would certainly be somewhere to keep in mind if you're struggling for lunch in Soho.