Musings (more like rambling thoughts) of a Cardiff based lawyer obsessed with food and wine
When you think of Iceland (the place rather than the store), burgers are perhaps not the first thing that comes to mind (more a case of vikings, the Northern lights, volcanos and humiliation of the shower of sΩi¥e that is the Engerland football team – I am English so am allowed to say that).
Food wise you might think puffin breast (livery and slightly fishy apparently) or the revolting sounding hákarl (fermented Greenland shark – when Anthony Bourdain describes something as the “single worst, most disgusting and terrible tasting thing” you know you are in trouble – he possibly has yet to try Iceland’s, the store, chicken tikka lasagna or sliced doner kebab meat mind – sends a shiver down the spine both of those ), but not burgers. This brings me in my usual roundabout way to Tommi’s Burger Joint in Marylebone, London – a place with Icelandic origins of which they are very proud
Having 90 minutes or so to kill before my train and with Tommi’s only a 30 odd minute walk to Paddington I jumped off the tube at Bond Street and walked up to where they are located on Thayer Street resisting the temptation of Patty & Bun (on the way and only a stone’s throw from Tommi’s).
Inside it is all very hip and trendy, with an open kitchen where you can see your burger being cooked to order (I like that).
It has what I would describe as a nice relaxed vibe to it (I felt a little out of place all suited and booted up), with a decent play list (the Rolling Stones featured heavily during my visit much to my “oldie” delight).
Simplicity is the order of the day in this place. They do burgers (standard, steak, chicken, veggie and a monthly special, plus kiddie size) and fries.
Toppings/slides (extra) are cheese and bacon, coleslaw, avocado plus a couple of sauces (not too hideously priced) and that is your lot food wise. I like this approach – be good at a few things rather than OK at a lot.
They have a number of deals in terms of combos. I went for the “Deal of the Century”, which is the standard burger, fries and a soft drink for £10.90 (£13.90 if you have a beer – I did). The individual price for this would be (£6.90 +£2.95 +£2) £11.85 (£14.60 if have a beer) – so “Deal of the Century” is stretching it a bit when you save either 95p or 70p.
The best value seems to be the “Offer of the familia”, which by my (highly suspect) maths offers a discount of £15.50. Now that does seem a good deal.
On ordering I was told the patty comes cooked medium, but I asked if I could have it medium rare and (joy of joys) this was met with a cheery “of course”.
The merits of less than well done burgers are subject to much debate, but my view is that if you charge a premium price for your burgers you should be prepared to abide by the FSA’s enhanced requirements which enables you to serve burgers medium rare, if customers request such burgers. If you don’t why the premium price?
Whilst you wait you can help yourself to the very extensive condiments (all gratis) on the counter (which can also be added to pimp up you burger and/or fries). I munched on slices of pickle and crispy shallots as I waited.
I watched my burger being cooked and plated (well basketed) up and again simplicity is the mantra. Toppings were iceberg lettuce, tomato, red onion, mayo, ketchup and mustard (plus in my case added cheese).
I like this, but there really is nowhere to hide in terms of the quality of the patty.
The bun was nice and squigy, with a good texture. It did its job in nicely absorbing the burger juices and didn’t fall apart as I ate my burger. The patty was cooked absolutely à point for me, with a ruby red interior. Nicely seasoned and beautiful juicy, with a great beefy flavour and a good exterior crust, it pressed pretty much all my burger buttons.
All in all a very impressive burger.
The fries (£2.95) that came with it were very abundant.
Whilst nice and crispy they were a bit lacking in seasoning and were definitely frozen (saw a big blue plastic bag of then brought into the kitchen). Seasoning can always be added (there was salt on the table) and is a matter of personal taste, but I thought it a shame they were frozen.
On the drinks front the relatively simplistic theme continues, with a short selection of soft drinks, shakes, beers and wines
Wine wise I have no idea who the producer are, but prices did not look too horrific (bar from the prosecco which looked a bit pricey at £30). Odd that pinot grigio and malbec are the most pricey still wines (by some margin). Pinot grigio, for example, is usually at the cheap end of most lists – it is not all bad by any means but a lot of it out there is awful rubbish.
It was a hot day and I fancied a beer. On the basis of “when in Rome”, I went for an Icelandic brew in the form of a Einstök Arctic pale ale (£4.75 on its own, an extra £3 if part of meal deal)
Nice enough beer this, refreshing with a bit of citrus and maltiness. Good as a session beer (price aside), this is a very easy drinking (rather than complex) number.
I was rather taken with Tommi’s Burger Joint. Simple stuff done well and anywhere that serves a decent medium rare burger always gets a big thumbs up from me. As the title suggests it is all too rare to find a properly cooked (medium rare) burger these days.
Some may think it is not cheap, but I thought it pretty good value for what I got and certainly up there with the best I have tried in this very fertile -burger wise – part of London (with Meat Liquor – and their Dead Hippie, Honest Burgers and Patty & Bun all within an easy walk). Tommi’s certainly knocks the socks off the American imports we have in Cardiff, in the form of Five Guys and Shake Shack. Who’d have thought an Icelandic import would do that.
Would I go back? Definitely – top quality burger cooked just how I like it and easily walkable to/from Paddington (so perfect for fodder prior to catching the train back home). Borrowing from Cannon and Ball (have to be an oldie like me to get this), I would say “rokkaðu áfram” (Icelandic for rock on) Tommi.
Address : 30 Thayer Street, London, W1U 2PQ
Tel: o207 224 3828
Nearest tube station: Bond Street (0.3 miles)
Opening hours: Mon- Sat : 12.00 – 22.30 and Sun : 12.00 – 21.30.
Other branches in Chelsea, Soho (latter to open shortly), Berlin, Copenhagen and, of course, Iceland.