'Is there appetite for another burger joint?'

Boom Burger

Open Tue–Sat midday–11pm; Sun midday–6pm

London’s gone bloomin’ burger mental in the last couple of years. I blame Yianni Papoutsis, the king of the second wave of burgeristas. The first wave saw Gourmet Burger Kitchen change the landscape. They knew that people loved a Big Mac or Whopper, but felt guilty at buying unhealthy food from chains with dodgy business practices. They took away the guilt and ramped up the ethical credentials to flog cheap eats for £6 or £7. GBK then became a chain themselves.

Fast forward a couple of years to the era of pop-ups and Papoutsis parking his burger van in pub car parks. His meat sandwiches were (and are) very, very good. Now he’s got three restaurants in busy locations, one of which, MEATMission, is where the Shoreditch hipsters come to worship. We spotted a couple of them in Boom, ticking off another burger destination. Apart from them, a succession of mostly 20-somethings came through the door. It’s not a place for a date. You’re going to get a lot of burger juice over your face so you won’t be at your most attractive. The hipsters know this, which is why they’ve all grown beards – both disguises and soaks up those juices. Polo necks are back, in case you were wondering.

Portobello already has GBK and the insanely good Honest. Is there appetite for another burger joint? Boom’s spin seems sound in this part of town. In the home of Carnival, where Caribbean is king, mix the two up and you should have a winner, no? It’s pretty cramped in their small triangle under the Westway. I got a bit pissed off with both customers and waiting staff kicking the back of my chair as they sallied back and forth. Space should improve as it warms up; there are plenty of tables outside. Inside, you either sit salivating at the kitchen counter or at sharing tables. Everything is Rasta colours, including the short and simple menu and there are classic reggae albums on the wall and on the sound system.

Food comes in a basket; there are no plates here. Boom wings (£5) were very decent fried chicken, but not spicy enough to warrant the name. Salt fish and herb fritters (£5) had more fire, but lacked the eponymous saltiness. We had one of each of the stars of the show – the Boom Burger and the Jerk Boom (both £8). A burger without a gherkin is sacrilege to me, but I know that’s a Marmite choice. The Boom’s gimmick is bacon jam and it’s that and the sweetness of the brioche that it tastes of. Crucially, it’s not as good a burger as Honest’s.

The Jerk was the poultry equivalent of a pulled pork burger. Its generous contents slopped out into the basket and personally I like my burger to hang together. There was a decent amount of fire though. Plaintain fries (£2) were non-greasy and light but again Honest wins out on the regular fries – their rosemary ones are the bomb. Their cocktails (£6.50) will certainly put you in a good-time mood. Both the gingery Rum Punch and the aromatic So Sorrel are definitely worth stopping by for. Kind of OK then, but gimmicky and how long can that last?

Boom Burger, 272 Portobello Road, London, W10; boomburger.co.uk

Restaurants | ,