It’s been a long time and several popups in the making… but Jamaican Josh De Lisser has finally opened his permanent BOOM Burger restaurant under the Westway flyover in Notting Hill.
With offerings including a ‘jerk chicken and fried plantain’ burger, ‘roasted sweet potatoes’ and a ‘pan fried red snapper’ burger there is no doubting the origins of these flavours. These burgers are unmistakably and unashamedly Caribbean.
I first met Josh at the Earl of Portobello last year when he opened his popup serving his signature Boom Burger with bacon jam. He has also run popups at Dead Dolls Club in Hoxton Square and even out of his house.
Boom Burger is only one of two burger vendors which have bacon jam on the menu, the other being ‘Burger Bear’ who is currently raising money via a Kickstarter campaign for his own restaurant.
This site seats approximately 25-30 people in three booth-like areas and some bar stool seating around a large open kitchen. Naturally, there is a drinks area serving Jamaican favourites like ‘rum and ting’ and ‘tamarind juice’. The menu says “Try our Boom Juice, fresh homemade Jamaican cocktails”.
The walls are decorated with vinyl album covers including the ubiquitous Bob Marley. A nice touch are the bar seats, black but striped with cream, green and gold. Except for the cream, I assume this represent the colours of the Jamaican flag, “gold recalls the shining sun, black reflects hardships, and green represents the land.”
WHO OWNED THE SITE PREVIOUSLY?
Boom Burger take over a site previously occupied by El Camion under the Westway flyover on Portobello Road. (This was originally El Camino but subtly changed name to avoid confusion with the unrelated ‘El Camino’ restaurants by Richard Bigg) El Camion, owned by Ned Conran, still operates from their sister venue in Brewer Street, Soho and is well known by bartenders and cocktail aficionados as the home of Dick Bradsell, the legendary bartender who runs the Pink Chihuahua bar in the basement.
The menu is very simple, 6 Burgers, 2 Salads and 4 Sides. I was sat by the till on the day of my visit and noticed that most people appeared to be existing Boom Burger fans ordering without hesitation or looking at the menu. This is their current burger line up.
- Boom Burger, £8
Our signature beef burger covered in cheese and bacon jam.
- Jerk Boom, £8
Jerk chicken, with fried plantain, rocket, mango and pawpaw sauce.
- Veggie Boom £7
Roasted sweet potato with chilli jam, fresh avocado salsa and rocket.
- Brunch Boom, £5
Sweet-cured bacon topped with a fried egg, bacon jam and fresh avocado salsa.
- Fish Boom, £9
Pan-fried red snapper with rocket, escovitch sauce and jerk mayo.
- Cheese Boom, £7
Our classic cheeseburger. Add bacon for an extra £1.
The ‘Brunch Boom’ is essentially a bacon and egg breakfast roll, to call the ‘Fish Boom’ a ‘fish burger’ sounds a bit of an insult to “pan fried red snapper” in a bun. I sampled the ‘Jerk Boom’ which was a generous serving of jerk chicken with plantain fries with a mango and pawpaw sauce. The sweetness of the sauce nicely offset the kick of the jerk seasoning.
Meat is supplied by H.G. Walther a West London Butcher who seems to be favourite with many burger venues. They already supply the enormously popular ‘Patty & Bun Joe‘ and ‘Tommi’s Burger Joint‘ as well as newcomers ‘Burger Pit’ based in The City at Leadenhall Street.
Local support for Josh appears to be very strong, with Notting Hill locals streaming in to congratulate him on the new venue.
Boom Burger is very unique in its premise, not a ‘me-too’ venue but a fusion of Jamaican and Burger culture. The venue, in the middle of Notting Hill, is in the perfect location given the local community.
For those who are ‘burgered-out’ you also have salads, jerk wings and plantation fries on offer. Although six burgers are on on the menu, arguably the Brunch Boom, the Jerk Boom and the Fish Boom could be described as non-burgers by the purists, but who really cares about the ‘Burger Nazis’. The food is good, and that’s what should matter.
NOTE: ‘Boom Burger’ is not related in any way to street food truck who renamed themselves ‘Boom Burger’ last year and currently trade at ‘Leather Lane Market’ in Hatten Garden.