Monday, 28 May 2012

Burgers and lobsters in the big city

We had an absolutely lovely time in London this weekend with family, friends, culture and, of course, food. Not ideal for weight watching – although a peek at the scales suggests that I am holding steady at the moment which is pleasing.

Anyway, London. Growing up down there it always gives me a happy tingly feeling to visit, although I am unsure that I would ever want to live there again having settled in Yorkshire. It also gives D and I, wannabe gastronomic tourists both, a chance to try out a few of the places that we read about in them there townie papers and blogs. The press in this country – in all matters, not just those of the stomach – is rather London centric which I can understand, but it does mean that most of the restaurant reviews I read leave me feeling rather plaintive – like I’ve got my nose pressed up against the glass looking in.

Our first port of call was a place called Burger and Lobster. This is apparently rather popular – we turned up at ten past twelve and swiped the last two seats at the bar, the tables having already been filled and a reservation system being totally twentieth century. At B&L menus are also a pretty outmoded concept – you can have a burger or a whole lobster. Oh, or a lobster roll. That’s it. Everything costs £20 which means the burgers are very expensive but the whole lobster is pretty good value and the lobster roll probably somewhere in the middle. Before we arrived, I was curious to know if anyone actually ordered a burger but having watched the orders come out of the kitchen for a while I did see quite a few go past – and very nice they looked too. Although for £20 I’d probably expect my burger to do a little song and dance when it arrived at the table. All three dishes are accompanied by skinny chips and a side salad. The side salad was covered in Parmesan cheese – this was obviously my sort of restaurant.

It’s a gimmick, sure, but a gimmick is fine if it is done well – and this was done very well indeed. D has the whole lobster which was boiled and then finished on the charcoal grill, and came with additional butter for dunking. He attacked it with relish – this is a man capable of extracted every last morsel of flesh from any crustacean and the plastic bibs provided by the waitress (a nice touch) really came into their own. The flesh was sweet and well cooked, the butter flavoured with lemon and garlic and the fries were excellent examples of the genre.

I went for the lobster roll. This was partly because I’d read that the brioche that constitued the roll part was a particular delight – and partly because a little bit of Yorkshire has crept into my soul and I wasn’t sure that I could bring myself to pay £20 for a burger. It was a good choice. The brioche was, indeed, excellent, buttery and sweet and – oh, so buttery. To be honest I’d have considered swapping the lobster filling for another one. The waitress informed me that it was baked on site – and also that it made an excellent bacon sandwich. I made a mental note to look up brioche recipes when I returned home. The lobster meat itself was, again, beautifully cooked, although its sweetness in conjunction with the sheer butteriness of the roll meant that it was an incredibly rich thing to eat. I manfully ploughed through the lot, and (I think) finished the fries as well but, ever watchful of my waistline, left some of the salad.
Lobster roll!
Burger and Lobster in not a place to linger over a long, luxurious meal. It was full and buzzy and obviously had a pretty quick turnaround judging by the number of people lingering by the bar eyeing plates of food as they waited for a table. But it is very good fun and probably the best value lobster in the capital. I’d go back for the brioche alone. But I’d probably arrive at half past eleven and loiter outside to ensure a booth next time.

Burger and Lobster
29 Clarges Street,
 London W1J 7EF
020 7409 1699

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