Last week, we were invited to check out the recently relaunched Boom Burger set in the heart of Ladbroke Grove on Portobello Road. Having shut its doors a few months earlier, the freshly decorated venue promised a much tastier menu and a reimagined drinks menu, as well as late night hours.
The brainchild of ‘Josh’, a Jamaican-born food lover, Boom Burger offers up fast food with a distinctly Caribbean twist and as the name suggests, plenty of burgers. Think juicy beef patties with deep fried avocado and scotch bonnet mayonnaise, served up with fried plantain and a Pina Colada.
It was clear that many were happy that the restaurant had re-opened its doors, for there were just a couple of seats left on the wooden sharing tables painted in Jamaican flag colours when we arrived. Throughout the evening, a host of regulars showed up and left disappointed having been turned away from the private party, demonstrating the small venue’s popularity in the area.
Inside, the restaurant is homely, with diners encouraged to share tables. Specials are written in chalk up on a blackboard, with ‘Enjoy Bredrins’ penned underneath. On the night, servers provided a relaxed atmosphere, dressed in Boom Burger merch and casually chatting to guests and each other.
We ordered a Rum Punch and, after another guest recommended it, a Pina Colada. Served in glass jars and straws, they certainly looked the part, and although simple, they didn’t lack in flavour either. Caribbean food isn’t well known as a cuisine with an excess of vegetarian dishes, so as two non-meat eaters, we were pleased to see both vegetarian and pescetarian choices included, such as the Fish Burger with pan-fried fillet inside the bun with rocket and chilli jam. We chose the Fish Boom and the Veggie Boom, a double carbs offering of grilled sweet potato served in a bun with fresh avocado, salsa and rocket. Unusual choices for burger fillings, but both were very tasty. As with much vegetarian food, however, the veggie option lacked the kind of texture we plant eaters eternally crave, so personally, I think the dish could do with a little crunch. We couldn’t resist a portion of plantain fries served with spicy sauce and the special of the day, pepper shrimp, marinated in scotch bonnet sauce and roasted on the grill which, with its spice levels, was not for the faint hearted.
Restaurants that carry a particular theme can often lack a feeling of authenticity, a pale reflection of the real heart and soul that usually goes into the food. If you head to Boom Burger, you’d be seriously convinced of its heritage, aided by the warm, friendly and unpretentious atmosphere. It doesn’t try to do anything too fancy; it relies on great recipes, fresh ingredients and techniques learned from real Jamaican kitchens.