Featuring unpasteurised cheeses imported from France – such as Tomme de Savoie, raclette and Fourme d’Ambert – in its burgers, the 60-seat dine-in and take-away venue aims to bring a distinct French touch to the UK’s gourmet burger trend.
Big Fernand already has four venues in France, and is planning to open another six around Paris and in major French cities this year, but the brand’s UK ambassador Mathieu Durand explained that London will be a new challenge.
“We are all travellers and we thought it would be interesting to come to the UK as a lot of what we do in France is inspired by the UK in terms of customer service. Gourmet burgers are very big in the UK with great concepts like Byron, and it was time for us to take on another challenge and try a more mature market where customers expect a lot from their burger joint,” he told BigHospitality.
The burger buns are made from the brand’s own recipe, which it asks its suppliers in each location to use on demand for maximum freshness. Home-made sauces were designed by chef Thomas Boutin.
Though French products (such as cheeses) will be a main focus on the menu, the owners have decided to use UK beef for their patties.
“We thought there was no point getting our meat from France when you can get really good quality meat in the UK, so we decided to put identity in the cheese, bread and sauces, and combine it with great UK meat,” added Durand.
A lot of thought was put into whether or not the menu should be adapted for a UK audience, but in the end it was decided the restaurant would launch with the same menu as its French counterparts, with possible tweaks or add-ons to be included later on.
The set menu, including a burger, chips and a drink will be priced between £14 and £18.
Durand pointed out that a lot of focus is put on customer service at Big Fernand, with a goal to serve people in 40 seconds. “People queue before ordering but from the moment you order to the moment you pay and get your burger delivered we aim to serve them in 40 seconds.
"Our service is often a bit unexpected: We call our burgers hamburgés, we don’t have fried but fernandines (which involved special seasoning and cooking), but we want to provide an atmosphere where people are always smiling and really happy to be there,” he concluded.
Located on Percy Street, near Tottenham Court Road, the venue, secured by Shelley Sandzer, will be spread over two floors.