Biting back post-lockdown, I was delighted to learn that Big Fernand in South Kensington had reopened its door with as much flair as one would expect from this Parisian burger chain. Strolling in on a gloriously sunny autumnal Sunday for lunch recently, the service in-store was relaxed and welcoming. There’s a QR code on each table now that pulls up the menu once scanned, so there’s less contact made through shared menus.
Taking in the chic decor there are French nods in every angle, taken with pride and tongue in cheek. From mini Michelin man statues to French dictionaries, from empty crates of Bordeaux wine to boxed bottled beers hanging on the walls.
The main thing we’re here for though of course is le hamburgé with a certain je ne sais quoi. Firstly, Big Fernand is proud of their burgers and so they should be. There’s a real French artisanship here as well as a love of good honest food. For example the burgers themselves are carefully sculpted towers with qualité at every layer.
Responsibly and locally sourced beef, veal, chicken or lamb lay the groundwork before warm molten French-only cheeses are applied including Tomme de Savoie, Fourme d’Ambert, Morbier and Raclette – all made with raw milk and imported from France. Next, say goodbye to soggy lettuce and sad tomatoes served to you in other burger chains because Big Fernand perfectly pairs and freshly cuts their grilled vegetables. This is all topped with homemade condiments, sandwiched in between a fluffy burger bun and accompanied with Fernand Frites.
By now you’re probably wondering what I ordered. I ordered Le Jura – premium beef with an olive sauce that was really the main draw here. I love olives and I can’t say prior to my visit that I’d enjoyed a burger with olive sauce. Now I can. The beef is excellent quality and lends to a delicious flavour in the meat. Superbly grilled and topped with Morbier cheese, smoked bacon, grilled red peppers and chives, it’s a wonderfully moreish burger and I savoured every mouthful.
The frites are perfectly sturdy with skin-on, ideal for dipping into your condiments. Again, absolutely no sogginess here. I’d also recommend the Panko Breaded Chicken Pieces if you love a cheeky chicken nugget. These are really great and come with this amazing homemade BBQ sauce.
It goes without saying that the French certainly know a thing or two about good food and
with that, good wine. Big Fernand’s wine list does not warrant big price tags, safe in the knowledge that burger perfection can be easily matched with a great value dose of not overly-priced wine, striking the perfect balance in a delicately chic and understated manner. I’d recommend nipping downstairs to the basement to check out ‘La Cave’ wine cellar. It’s home to a simplified selection of easy drinking red, white and rosé as well as French craft beer.
Big Fernand has the winning formula and it’s time, if you haven’t already, to resist
conformity! If you’re not comfortable venturing out to restaurants yet, then you’ll find Big Fernand on Deliveroo and Uber Eats. Vive la difference!
For more information visit bigfernanduk.com