Boom Burger / Ladbroke Grove, London


Boom Burger is a great fucking name for a burger place.

If we started up a burger place and the name had yet to come into being, Rob would have been begging for 'Boom' as the first choice. Guaranteed. He cannot stop saying the bloody word. Were he not such a pansy, it would probably be tattooed about his person somewhere.

It is such a good name in fact that there have already been two: The beefy lovechild of Daddy Donkey resides on Leather Lane, lacking in the bounding uppercut the name warranted. Now we have this effort from Joshua de Lisser, which has gone from a pop-up in the Earl of Portobello pub to premises in less than eleven months. That is quick, even by current burger surge standards.

We're also at that stage now, fast approaching Peak Burger, where differentiation has become the name of the game. We're becoming bereft of enthusiasm for yet another press release that combines synonyms of the words meat and/or shake.

Pairing Caribbean cuisine with the humble beef patty is a pretty novel concept, so far untapped by anyone else. And in a petite unit tucked under the rumbling asphalt of the Westway on Portobello Road - home of the Carnival - Boom have got their placement bang on, a location that will entice both the local and touristic of punter. Cunning.

The house mayo loudly bangs on your tongue much as the burger does to your eyeballs

The signature burger, like the place itself, is a vibrant affair. Radiant cheese delightfully covers the patty almost completely, with a deep scarlet bacon jam ominously peeking from beneath the golden sheen of the brioche atop it. With the familiar reds and greens of lettuce and tomato nested underneath, it is not a shy looking burger.   

The house mayo loudly bangs on your tongue much as the burger does to your eyeballs: A thick, saucy condiment is pepped up with flecks of Scotch Bonnet pepper, adding a friendly lingering heat throughout which sits just the right side of being too much. Clever shit.

It serves as the only thing that sticks in the memory though. The Bread Factory bun competently nimbly fortifies everything, but the cheese fails make much of an impact over an overcooked and equally coy patty. The thin tomato slices are a bit limp and the profusion of an Iceberg forest is too much. Even the enticingly dangerous looking bacon jam is largely underwhelming, like a lot of its ilk out there - throwing out mostly sweetness and no real porky flavour. 

The whistle-stop nature of our trip meant we weren't able to sample the other parts of the menu where the Jamaican influence is more obviously apparent. And the burger did serve as a starter for a main course that was eaten elsewhere, so perhaps we are giving it a bit of a short shrift. But a truly great burger with slap you across the mush no matter how much attention you do or don't give it, so...

Portobello Road is not shy of other burger options either: It is a super short walk to the relatively new Honest outpost and also Electric Diner, which we can testify has a rather decent offering. Success for Boom may come from novelty and the other menu items they tender. Their late night opening on Fridays and Saturdays with Alfresco benefits will also make it a great place to hang out and pound some tasty beverages.

We'll be back for the Jerk wings and Rum Punches, eventually.

  • Rob & Simon.