Big Fernand, Percy Street

A new hamburger has landed in London. Big Fernand are known as one of the burger frontrunners in Paris, with long queues of dedicated fans waiting patiently at their door. Now they are ready to try their luck in London, opening their first UK restaurant on Percy Street last week.

Big Fernand has four venues in France, and seems to be steadily growing with more branches planned in the near future. The London venue has 60 seats split over two floors, including a very unique living room experience on the top floor. Downstairs there is the option to sit down at a casual table or take away (the chefs deliver your burger to you at staggering speed).

The burgers are made using the same special recipe as the original Parisian outlets, with a few minor amendments. There is no forgetting that this is a French company, with a vast number of stripy shirted staff, it is a stereotype which brings a smile to customers’ faces. Inimitable French unpasteurised cheeses have been imported to give that indulgent flavour to the burgers, but the beef is British. I was pleased to see the menu is almost identical to the French version… featuring my favourite Bartholomé at the top of the list. This burger is not dissimilar to a bacon and cheese, though the components are far finer and the flavours more subtle.

The sauces at Big Fernand are winning additions. These ultra-thick and creamy homemade delights are delicious in the bun or as a dunking dip. I loved the garlicky spicy mayonnaise, and the cocktail and BBQ sauces are also very popular. Various fresh herbs are optional in the burgers, a lovely fresh touch which adds texture and seasoning to the baps. The meat is cooked medium rare and is delicious, aged to perfection and roughly ground. Paired with the oozing caramelised onions, it is the ideal combination.

The Fernandines (French cut fries) are made in house and double cooked to give extra crunch. They are coated in a magical spicy salt, that tastes like paprika, and are particularly delicious dipped into the homemade mayonnaise. There is a little work to be done on the soft seeded bun which currently overhangs the meat and fillings droopily. But what’s inside easily makes up for this.

Burgers are priced around £12, or £15 for the meal deal with a punnet of Fernandines and a bottle of French beer.

Vive le hamburgé! Visit Big Fernand and let me know whether you prefer fabulous French fare or British butties.

More information here.

London Food Markets

For foodie fanatics London is the perfect city. With frequent restaurant openings, new cafes and constant pop-up events there is always something exciting to satisfy your appetite. In my opinion the best way to try tasty trends is on the streets at one of London’s outdoor markets. Whilst enjoying the summer spells I have scooted round town trying the best delicacies and recipes from London’s street-food sellers, here’s my pick of the bunch…

Street Feast – this seasonal event took place in Dalston Yard and Model Market every Friday and Saturday and in Battersea Thursday – Sunday, until September 21st. Enthusiastic eaters hopped from stall to stall trying fragrant foods. Head to the Gin Store first for a wonderfully mixed aperitif tipple. For food there are endless options, my favourites were: juicy burgers from Bleecker Street Burger, Indian inspired snacks at Rola Wala, Pork buns from Yum Bun, thick pork ribs from Smokestak and finally salted caramel ice-cream from Sorbitium. Take plenty of cash so you can eat as much as you want, and trust me you will want a lot!

Broadway Market – This market covers the street from Regent’s Canal to London Fields and takes place every Saturday. This lovely neighbourhood will delight all your senses. I encourage you to walk the whole length of the street before deciding on a dish. The Butchies buttermilk chicken burgers are absolutely unmissable… a crunchy crispy coated chicken slammed between a lightly fried brioche bun with mustardy mayo, lettuce and thinly sliced gerkins. For something sweet head to the pretty Meringue Girls stall and for coffee Climpson & Sons is the best bet.

Netil Market – Just round the corner from hectic Broadway is this smaller and more relaxed marketplace. Here you will find vintage stalls, a mini coffee shop, and a bike servicing shed for cyclists. Enjoy retro burgers from renowned patty producers, Lucky Chip or go for something more exotic like pork buns from Bao London. For the thickest milkshake you’ll ever taste order an Oreo Shake from Street Shake. Once your stomach is filled look round the clothes and gifts, I loved the delicate handmade jewellery from We Are Arrow.

Brockley Market – This friendly South London market recently celebrated its third birthday.  Located in Lewisham College car park this market offers locally sourced seasonal fresh fruit & veg, meat, fish & poultry, plants & flowers,  ice-cream, award-winning coffee,  artisan bread & charcuterie and much more. Moments away from St John station (just 8 minutes from London Bridge) this market is not as far away as it seems. I sampled an exquisite VanDough pizza, juicy MotherFlipper burger, and Ruby Violet salted caramel ice-cream for pudding. Takes place on Saturdays 10am-2pm.

Wapping Market – the sister market to Brockley, Wapping takes place by the picturesque canal of Brussels Wharf. Visit on a Sunday morning (10am-2pm) to pick up your weekly shop from the artisan stalls, or just indulge in a decadent lunch. Here a group of us tried Spit and Roast chicken burger, authentic Italian pasta from Pasta e Basta and exotic baps from Bill and Beak. My favourite was the sweet Crosstown donut which I paired with a Dark Fluid coffee.

Market followers should also check out other markets Maltby Street Market and Columbia Road.

Things to do in St.Ives

While my friends jetted off in the school holidays to exciting international destinations my family drove to Cornwall, it seemed like an unfair substitution. Now, years later, I can truly appreciate this amazing county, and particularly take advantage of its close proximity to London. Serene sunny beaches, stunning sights, charming pubs, long countryside walks and a carefree lifestyle, Cornwall is a blissful destination for a refreshing minibreak. A few weeks ago I visited the coastal town of Penzance to see family and took a day trip to St Ives. This idyllic seaside town offers unspoilt beaches, a thriving art scene, quaint cafes and craft shops, here is an insight into my favourite things to do in this charming Cornish destination.

Porthgwidden Beach – the number one attraction in St Ives, this lovely small beach is a sheltered stretch of land with crystal clear sea and the occasional seal sighting in the bay.

Cream tea at Olive’s – Tucked away in the backstreets of St Ives this tiny neighbourhood café is often named the best cream tea in St Ives. For less than £5 you can indulge in a huge fresh crumbly scone with a generous helping of homemade strawberry jam and Cornish clotted cream and a pot of tea.

Burger from Blas Burgerworks – these gourmet burgers are made from fresh local ingredients and are addictively tasty. The naturally reared, free range meat are cooked to perfection on the charcoal grill and are accompanied with toppings of your choice. Definitely the best burger I’ve ever tasted in Cornwall.

Tate St Ives for art – An architecturally spectacular modern gallery with sea views and local and international artworks. Located nearby to Porthmeor Beach.

Pasty at Pasty Presto – we couldn’t resist trying the World’s best Cornish pasty. This bakery was recently awarded the highest accolade for its traditional beef and vegetable pasty, flaky rich pastry filled with a tender delicious seasoned filling.

Little Jems Jewellery for vintage jewels – this small shop stocks beautiful one-off antique pieces of jewellery at reasonable prices.

Ice-cream at Moomaid – At the end of a day in St Ives nothing is better than a luxury Cornish Ice Cream from Moomaid. This creamy rich ice-cream made on the Farm at Tremedda Zennor and comes in a variety of indulgent flavours.

More information on St Ives here.

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