Boom Burger is one of those places you just want to root for. After a few years living the nomadic life as a pop-up, it’s finally taken root in a little nook off Portobello Road, serving up its Caribbean-inspired burgers from a permanent kitchen.
We were greeted by Josh de Lisser, Boom Burger’s Jamaican-born founder and chef, who was sweetly hands-on considering how insanely busy they were. The restaurant is small, a odd-shaped space wedged under the Westway over Portobello Road. There’s an open kitchen and a few big sharing tables that customers happily bunch up on to share some of Josh’s unique creations.
The drinks were served in the kind of plastic glasses your mum bought in for your first house party in a feeble attempt to stop lust-crazed teenagers from smashing all the glassware. Don’t let that put you off though; the Rum Punch was magnificent, sort of like ginger beer with balls. We also tried the So Sorrell, which was a bit medicinal-tasting for me, but still worth a slurp.
We started with the Jerk Wings, which were meaty and generously seasoned. I wasn’t too excited about them at first because the previous week I’d gone for wings at Lazy Bones, Farringdon – which will certainly find its way on to a Shit List if I ever bother to post one – and what they fed me was so fatty and disgusting I thought I was off wings for life. Thank fuck that isn’t the case.
We also tried the mysteriously-named Stamp & Go, saltfish chilli and herb fritters served with rocket and herby sauce. Fuck me sideways if they weren’t the best thing I put in my mouth all week, they were sensational.
We all know there are thousand good places to get a burger in London, most of them with menus as long as your arm. But no matter what ingredients you pile atop a burger, it’s still – at heart – a burger. Beef with stuff on. The obligatory chicken breast and mushroom alternatives always look shite in comparison, and so on this occasion it was great to have not one, but two reasons to go off the beefen (!) track:
1. The Jerk Boom; not, as we first thought, an especially explosive episode of self-love, but a shredded chicken burger topped with plantain, rocket, fried mango and pawpaw sauce. My dinner date went for this and reports it was succulent and fruity.
2. The Fish Boom, which was like a fish version of the Stamp & Go thing. Pan-fried Red Snapper, rocket, jerk mayo and escovitch sauce (spicy Caribbean vinegar stuff and bloody good). I’m not usually a fish person but I’d order this any day of the week.
(To be fair, the beef burger looks insane too. Look. See that goo balanced on the top? That’s not just any goo. That’s BACON JAM.
I’m definitely going back.)
We also stuffed ourselves silly on fries, the regular kind and the plantain kind. I’ve never liked plantain before, always been suspicious of a banana posing as a potato, but they were excellent, especially with the selection of Caribbean homemade sauces in squirty bottles all over the table.
I’m embarrassed to admit that there was so much food we couldn’t quite finish it off. This hasn’t happened to me in about a decade, so it’s safe to say the stuff is filling. Also, those fruity drinks are fucking strong. We giggled all the way home like a pair of schoolgirls.
…I knew not to underestimate those plastic cups.
Boom Burger can be found at 272 Portobello Road, W10 5TZ. You can’t miss it, there’s a dude playing tropical tunes on a boom-box outside. A starter, burger, fries and holiday-flavoured cocktail will set you back about £20 a head. You can find their full menu on their website.
Author: Emily Gibson
Emily is an urban adventurer, blogger and
glutton foodie on an epic quest to uncover the best things to eat, drink and do in London. She lives in East London and loves ceviche, cycling and magic shows. Lifelong nemeses include beetroot, beards and wine served in tumblers.