BOOM! A new burger joint has landed and taken up residence at the Earl of Portobello in Westbourne Grove. The gorgeous pictures on the website and the colourful menu appealed on several levels (most notably to my burger addiction) so it was time to round up the BurgerQuest crew and head over for Episode V: Attacking the BOOMBurger.
BOOMBurger is a Jamaican-themed burger pop-up and its menu offerings reflect that traditional flavours of the island. Which meant of course jerk spices and plantains – but we’ll get to that in a minute.
You are at a pub – grab a seat and get a drink! There are a couple of things to note when it comes to the Earl of Portobello. First, there are several large tables outside if you are fortunate enough (and we were!) to be out and about on those rare summer days. The second thing is that this place has a surprisingly good bar from the top quality beers on tap to the fairly extensive whiskey selection behind the bar. Grab a Leffe or Kozel and relax while the rest of the group straggles in.
Got to the pub, where do I find these guys?
Head back to the kitchen area to place your order (make sure to bring some dosh as it is CASH ONLY). The main cook is a islander looking type – if you happen to speak French then he’ll love you even more as that seems to be his native tongue. Both of the guys running the show are pretty friendly with that positive attitude we’ve come to associate with Jamaica.
I’m hungry, what to eat?
You’ve got a choice of the BOOM burger (beef patty, cheese, and bacon jam), the Jerk BOOM (jerk chicken, fried plantains, rocket, mango, and pawpaw sauce), the Veggie BOOM (roasted sweet potato patty with chilli jam and avocado salsa), and the Brunch BOOM (fried egg with sweet cured bacon, bacon jam, and avocado salsa). We opted for a BOOM and a Jerk BOOM to try out the core offerings and piled on sides of plantain fries and BOOM wings.
The BOOM burger was well put together with a soft bun that had surprisingly resilience and absorption qualities yet remained light and airy. The bacon jam was excellent with a sweet and salty flavour with a solid umami component. I could probably just eat that on bread and be happy. Sadly, it wasn’t perfect with the patty being a bit of a let down. The beef was overcooked with barely a trace of pink inside and completely lacked in flavour. With the bacon jam it was alright but that’s more a testament to the jam. Sorry guys, that’s just a fail.
The Jerk BOOM was a win, though, with tender chicken coated in a flavourful jerk mix with a hint of heat. The crunchy fried plantains were an excellent addition and the mango added a sweet element that worked well with the spice. I couldn’t quite identify any pawpaw but that didn’t detract measurably from the burger.
Sides-wise, the fried plantains were very moreish and we devoured several orders within the group. But the stand out were the BOOM wings. @Wethefoodsnobs has recommended ordering some of these wings and naturally I listened. Tender succulent chicken coated in a crunchy slightly peppery batter then deep fried to a perfect deep golden brown. Add to that the jerk sauce which is a rich creamy mix with added heat, and you’ve got a winning snack for any occasion (especially when said occasion involves beer and your mates).
What to drink?
See above – hit the great bar at the Earl for your drinks. And good news! They take card so no worries about having to keep more cash on you although there is minimum limit (£5 I think) for card transactions. I’d recommend a Leffe as the sweet slightly hoppy flavour goes well with the burgers being dished up.
Worth the dosh?
The BOOM and the Jerk BOOM both clock in at £8 with plantain fries and BOOM wings being £2 and £5 respectively. So a filling meal for two plus a couple of pints came to around £30 which isn’t too bad. Nowadays most pubs are charging you £12 or so for a burger so £8 is pretty reasonable for the setting and it’s on par with other burger traders.
However, I’d limit my good value rating for the Jerk BOOM with the BOOM Burger having potential but in desperate need of a rework on the patty. In short, BOOM = fail, Jerk = win, wings = EPIC WIN.
Find BOOMBurger here
The Earl of Portobello
36 Golborne Rd
London, W10 5PR