So there’s another burger place that’s opened in town. What’s that? You’ve had enough of burgers? Tough.
Big Fernand is a Paris-based French hamburger chain. You shouldn’t have too much trouble figuring this out when you get there – the chirpy staff are all in flat caps like something out of The 400 Blows, and those of them that can grow facial hair have a neat little ‘Allo Allo’ moustache. It’s all intensely twee, but they’re such a lovely bunch it’s impossible to stay smothered in British cynicism.
Downstairs it’s not much more than a fast food joint (which is what it is.) I urge you to pop your head up to the first floor which is quaintly decked out in as a retro living room, complete with feature wallpaper and chaise longue. Given you’ll probably nail your order in a matter of seconds you’re unlikely to need a cosy corner unfortunately.
There’s a distinct difference between a Big Fernand burger and most others you normally get. I think it’s the bun – they stray away from the popular brioche for a sesame seed-topped little number. Whatever it is, it works.
I went for Le Big Fernand. It wasn’t the prettiest patty on the block and beared scant resemblance to the photo I’d seen on the website (take a look below!) Being Tindered by your evening meal isn’t a pleasant feeling. Fortunately it tasted really good – their Tomme de Savoie cheese and sun dried tomato combo was a winner.
My dining pal impressed the staff by getting a blue rare Le Bartholome, effectively a raw burger with bacon, raclette, caramelised onions, chives and barbecue sauce. Again this wasn’t the sexiest burger I’ve seen but it packed a flavour punch.
They make their patties with rib and chuck steak although the recipe’s under wraps. Apparently the two things that aren’t up for discussion with the owner are the choice ’80s tunes that play on repeat (weird) and what goes into that meat.
The cajun-seasoned fries were a good version of the Five Guys ones; the other side was young spinach leaves which had been blacked out on the menu- seemingly as a recognition of how ridiculous the idea was. There’s only one beer available too, an organic blond called Jade, which is a doozy.
For me it still goes like this: Patty & Bun, Tommi’s, Honest Burger, Meat Mission, possibly Bleeker St and then all the rest. Big Fernand is a likeable spot but it doesn’t break into the charts. The good news is you don’t have to queue for 45 minutes here to get meat inserted into bread. Yes, there are better burgers out there – some within walking distance – but if you’re hitting Soho peak time I’d still consider going French.
19 Percy St, W1T 1DY