Tommi’s Burger Joint
30 Thayer Street, Marylebone, London, W1U 2PQ (map)
Tommi’s Burger Joint is back! This time in a bright, 30 seater venue on Marylebone High Street. If you’re tired of all the hype surrounding the recent launch of huge American burger chains in Covent Garden, it’s well worth checking this smaller Icelandic ‘no-nonsense’ burger outlet instead.
EXACTLY one year after opening their first London venue on 06-Aug-2012, Tommi’s Burger Joint officially reopens today (06-Aug-2013). Their new site is 2 minutes away from their old ‘pop-up’ location in Marylebone Lane which was a very short lease and never intended to be a permanent site.
“We’re above a McDonalds and below a ‘sit-down-with-a-knife-and-fork’ venue. I loved Burger & lobster, but that’s not what we’re aiming for. They are more of a ‘sit-down-and-stay’ place. We are more ‘eat-and-go’…
…we’re sticking to a regular burger, steak burger and veggie burger. we like what we do… we do it well and we love the burger. Our burgers are like a good action, B-movie. You should enjoy when you watch it but always be ready for the next one.”
Tommi’s provides a solid no-nonsense style burger which is easy to do… but difficult to do well. Without fancy toppings and sauces to distract, there is absolutely nowhere to hide mistakes. If the ingredients are not top notch and if the preparation is lacking, people will definitely notice.
This is where Tommi’s takes no chances. Firstly they relocated one of their senior chefs, Siggi Gunnlaugsson, and his family to London. (Note: Look for the man behind the griddle who bears a passing resemblance to Aaron Kaufmann from Discovery Channel’s ‘Fast & Loud’, if only for the facial hair). Secondly, they use the West London organic free range butcher, H.G. Walter, and buns from Millers Bakery. This is probably more important for their discerning Marylebone clientele… I overheard more than one walk-in ask “Where is your meat from?” instead of “hello” as their opening line.
If you’re looking for a fancy more experimental style burger this probably isn’t the place for you. (Walk a few minutes away to Patty & Bun Joe who have excellent burgers with out-of-the-box style toppings). However, if you’re a traditionalist who wants a great solid patty with lettuce, cheese and tomato, this is a place for you. Personally I recommend the steak burger, lovely course meat and full of flavour.
The local love for these guys took me by surprise. The vast majority of people walking through the door were be enthusiastic locals or people speaking fluent Icelandic. The couple sat on the table next to mine were keen declare their love for Tommi’s.
“These guys are so lovely, so passionate about what they do. So glad they’re back”
The Middle Eastern mother and daughter who pounced on my table as soon as I stood up to leave were equally pleased to see the Tommi’s burgers back in the area.
“We live other there [points across the road] all the locals have been saying “when are they opening, when are they opening?”
Milkshakes made with an icelandic ice cream called “Kjörís” are a new addition to this venue. I know nothing about this ice cream but I can say that the shakes are super thick! So thick that you need to bring an individual with the mythical ability to suck bedsheets through human orifices… Fortunately Tommi’s are in the process of sourcing bigger straws for us with less impressive suction!
From what I can see they have the formula right. They make good solid burgers, Magnus the co-owner on the London venture, is very welcoming and the venue had the feel of a family reunion on the day of my visit. (Note: Magnus is easy to spot, if for some reason he is not greeting you at the door, look out for a guy who has the look of a ‘World’s Strongest Man’ competitor.)
Finally… guys… in answer to the question I’ve now received twice in 24h… “YES”, all the female waitresses are tall Icelandic blondes.
All images © 2013 Wilkes McDermid