Tommi Take Two – Tommi’s burger joint Berwick Street.

b42e77995f87d_image-1Oh Iceland, Iceland, Iceland, country of gleaming glaciers, languid lakes, charming cities, non-alliterative North Lights and now it would seem burger entrepreneurs. I’ve set foot in Iceland twice, both times to change planes. My memories of Keflavik airport are of somewhere remarkably like a smokier version of motorway service station with planes instead of coaches.
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Iceland is now firmly on the tourists trail and for a country with a smaller population than Brighton punches vastly above it’s weight in terms of international recognition. The question on my lips, and soon to be on my tongue and then perhaps eternally on my hips, was can they do a good burger.
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Regular readers of this column might remember that I have actually been to a branch of Tommi’s Burger before with the Delightful Dining Companion. It being her’s and the Ultimate Rugby Fan’s nights off, I had to make do with my Norwegian friend for company (who in a fit of unrestrained originality we’ll call The Viking,) who I hoped would point out any particularly Nordic elements in the set up.
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Tommi’s Soho branch is on the strip of Berwick street between the market and Oxford Street. As we’d been having a long heatwave when we’d previously arranged meeting up, it was obviously raining cats and dogs when we got together and we made our way to sustenance via every awning and alternate piece of shelter we could find.
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b644d7bfd234a_imageFinally arriving at Tommi’s was like finding an oasis of light on strangely dark and deserted West End street. Inside it wasn’t too busy, which was good as there isn’t actually that many places to sit. Inside Tommi’s is a fairly short oblong with about half the space taken up by the service area and seating arranged in a L shape around it. Most seating is at a ledge facing outwards through the window with a few small tables at the very back. Fine dining this aint.
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The menu is what we’d call sparse with 5 types of burger (including kiddies, chicken, veggie) and two types of fries. Basically you’re going to have burger and chips here and so you’d better like it. A feature that was present in the other branch of Tommi’s that I’d visited, a well stocked condiments section with all you can eat jalapenos and gherkins was repeated here. I stocked up on sauces and fried onions like there was no tomorrow.
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Both myself and The Viking went for the Tommi styled ‘Deal of the century’ this a burger, chips and drink for £10.90. We both upgraded our soft drinks for beers at the cost of an extra £3 each, The Viking downing a cool Asahi whilst I went for an event cooler Beavertown IPA.
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Eating at Tommi’s is like what I’d imagine dining in a Metallica/Lordi addicted perennial stoners kitchen at 3:30 in the morning be like. The decor is black with hints of darkness and the odd fairy light thrown in I think just to confuse you. The music is sort of non melodious rock that some love, but many more see as an indicator of mental instability. The menu is like you know dude whatever’s in the ice box. Beers served in 330ml soft drink cans adds to feeling that you’ve found yourself at a slightly distant acquaintance’s rather than experiencing something you’re actually paying for.
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What makes it worthwhile though are the burgers. They’re good, simple and tasty with minimal garnish and maximum flavour. The Viking’s steak burger seemed to vanish faster than Theresa May’s majority on election night and his expression upon completion was very much of a Corbyn who’d got the cream. My cheese burger was very tasty and the fries simple no nonsense fries.
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I like the simplicity of the Tommi burger, coincidentally when I got home I saw an Evening Standard article on London’s best burgers. All of these appeared to adhere to principles if less is more, then more is you know like way more. These were towers of burgers stuffed with nearly a cow’s worth of beef, bacon, cheese, chorizo, yak, the odd field of salad & all looking like a wobbly Jenga tower just about to collapse and lay waste to your arteries. Tommi’s simplicity by contrast here is a virtue.
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This is a great place to stop in on a Soho night out. The bill for 2 with beers came to £31, nothing to Bjork at (ha ha) and which is about right for an atmospheric half an hour stop over. It’s simple, done well and with a character which makes it worthwhile seeking out in preference to it’s more vanilla peers.
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Rob

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37 Berwick Street, London, W1F 8RS

Monday – Saturday: 11.30pm – 10.30pm

Sunday: 12.00pm – 9.30pm

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