Sunday 10 March 2013

Burger and Lobster

Any time you go to Burger and Lobster, or at least their Soho branch, you're almost guaranteed to see or hear a Singaporean somewhere on the premises. With lobster costing the amount it does on our sunny isle, many of us feel that splashing out £20 for a whole specimen is a perfectly justified thing to do when we feel like a treat. As it stands, I've eaten more lobster in my time in London than I had in all my years back home. 

Generally being both food loving and generous, we've basically shared the news of decently priced lobster with everyone along our extended social network, even those who aren't actually in London. This tends to have the result of demands to be taken to Burger and Lobster by guests from outside the city. This visit was prompted by W, who had come all the way from Chicago and wanted to try the place all of us had been raving about. 

E first brought me to the Mayfair branch early on in second year, but the Soho one is nearer and feels more spacious, so that's the one I now haunt. They don't take bookings for small groups, and in the evenings that can mean a 2 hour wait if you're a table of two, so the best time to go is when they open at noon on Sundays. You have your pick of the tables and the full attention of the staff. Otherwise, the place is a madhouse. I once waited fifteen minutes for the bill. Went to the toilet, came back and it still hadn't materialized. 

Beyond lobsters, the burger and the lobster roll also cost £20 each. I've never tried either, but I'm told you're better served going to the other proper burger places that have mushroomed all over Central London in the past year. Just, go for the lobster. Trust me. 

Drinks-wise, all their outlets have their own extensive cocktail menus, as well as many other tipples. The Riesling Smash at the Mayfair branch is my favourite. Round at Soho, I'm more partial to their homemade lemonade. 

I much preferred their older iteration of the salad, with cherry tomatoes instead of onions, and when I visit now I keep forgetting to ask them to lay off the grated cheese. But to be fair, out of all the items on the platter, the salad is usually assigned the absolute lowest priority. Next on my scale are the chips, piping hot and crispy, but of less importance than the garlic butter sauce, which is the life blood of the entire meal. Over time, the garlic butter sauce has gone so far as to become an absolute necessity, because standards have slipped a bit from a year ago. The steamed lobster used to be much juicier and more tender, but it's now there's a marked tendency towards being rubbery and a tad dry. More's the pity. 

I have heard second and third hand accounts of a massive tank of lobsters that's kept in the basement, and of the industrial fridges packed with lobsters that are due for the table on any given day. I don't know how true any of those stories are, but on my first visit our waiter did say that the lobsters were flown in fresh from Canada, which was why they could do a steamed version that locked in all the goodness.

Maybe I've just been getting the bum lobsters. Ah well.

Burger and Lobster, 36 Dean Street, London W1D 4PS,

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