I swear I must have been a mermaid (or merman) in a former life, because I absolutely love eating the spoils of the sea. In fact, perhaps I was Neptune himself, that’s how much I enjoy fish, seafood, crustaceans, urchins, even sea weed. Picture this: the day job is dull, filled with politics and I’ve been doing it for so long now that I could possibly do it whilst sleepwalking. To keep sane, one lunchtime I start researching lobster acquisition for a little private plan, when lo and behold! news reached me of a new restaurant in London: Burger and Lobster. If my favourite antennaed foodstuff is mentioned in the name of a purveyor of meals then I must go there and soon. So, initially unconvinced by the restaurant’s no-reservation booking system, Monsieur found himself being dragged away from our nice, warm flat, into the drizzling grey of a chilly Saturday, to lunch at Burger and Lobster in Clarges Street near Green Park.
We got there a little after 12.30pm, thinking we’d be early, only to find that the place was already packed. Every table was taken and there were four dining pairs ahead of us on the list so we gave name and phone-number to the manager and went to kill time until he rang to summon us back. We didn’t have to wait long: about half an hour; on our return I almost ran through the door with excitement at having lobster for lunch. (Monsieur marvels at how motivated I become when food is involved).
The system then went like this: we were placed at the head of the queue for the next table and while waiting, stood at the bar. Some people were eating there, such was the squash inside, but not being a stool person I said a silent prayer to the god of restaurant seating because I’m not great at teeter-tottering so high up – it makes me feel quite unbalanced in more ways than one. I’m far more comfortable closer to terra firma. And, so, I implored the supernatural powers that choose one’s table destiny: “please, god of restaurant seating, put us at a real table!” Having submitted the request I waited to see if my pleas would be heard.
I digress. There were quite a few folk, like us, hanging out at the bar while tables became free. We ordered a couple of cocktails but the bar staff were rushed off their feet filling one order after another and could probably have done with an extra pair of hands, so our drinks actually followed us to the table. My prayer had indeed worked; we wouldn’t be swaying on stools; in fact our table was located just beneath the kitchen’s serving counter, so we had a great view of lobsters and burgers aplenty being lined up for the wait staff to collect.
When our drinks duly arrived I had a Clarges Buck cocktail, which was absolutely delicious, containing whisky, ginger and pale ale. Ooh yes, I could do a lot of damage drinking these at £9.00 a pop. Monsieur enjoyed his Mint Collins, being a mint cocktail kinda guy and together we happily decided that if the food was as good as the drinks, we were in for a top dining experience.
We found that what time you might lose in waiting for a table is quickly restored because the system at Burger and Lobster is simple with no excuse for dallying over what to order: no starters, choice of 3 main courses, all at the same price of £20.00, and if they don’t quite finish you off, there are 2 dessert options.
The mains are:
- Burger with salad and fries
- Lobster (steamed or steamed and then grilled) with salad and fries and choice of butter or lemon butter
- Lobster roll with salad and fries
The desserts are chocolate or lime mousse. I love lime desserts – they make me think of happy times in Florida – but would I have room after ingesting one of the orange-clawed monsters being carried to tables around us? We’d have to wait and see…
Prior to arriving at the restaurant, I would have put money on my husband ordering the burger, committed gourmet carnivore that he is. But, no. He ordered lobster, so that made two huge platters of giant grilled crustacean and accompaniments arriving for our attention. I don’t know how we fit everything onto our table, quite frankly. After two large stainless steel platters, surgical instruments for dissecting the lobster, cocktails, water bottle, water glasses and hand towels, there really wasn’t a centimetre to spare. Normally this would irk me, as I find confined spaces cause for concern (yes, I’m a fussy old bird), but normally when confronted by a tight, small seating arrangement at an eatery, I’m not enjoying a big, fat lobster, all to myself. Suffice to say that as soon as my Burger and Lobster bib was on, crackers in hand, I was too busy extracting meat and stuffing my face to worry about space.
As Monsieur and I set about cracking and excavating and pulling succulent claws from shell, commenting on the smokiness of the lightly grilled flesh and comparing the two melted butters, a table of four next to us tucked into what looked like four very fine burgers whilst another nearby table was served entirely with lobster rolls, which also looked excellent. Monsieur was clearly enjoying his lobster, because he stopped eating for a moment to suggest that we share a lobster roll before leaving. Now, they certainly look good, and I certainly enjoy my food, but that was way to ambitious for anyone except that guy on Food Network who eats America’s biggest burgers. “Why don’t we just come back and have lobster rolls next time?” I replied, providing an excellent excuse for a second visit. Monsieur soon wisely concurred. With fries (excellent – crispy golden outside and fluffy on the inside) and a salad, albeit small, still to wade through, not to mention lobster so good that it was taking time to seek out every last hidden morsel of flesh, if we continued to share a lobster roll and dessert they’d have to quite literally surgically remove us from our table and roll us out of here like wicked Violet Beauregard and Augustus Gloop after their visit to Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory.
You may have guessed by now that, although we polished off every mouthful of food that had appeared with our names on it, there would be no pudding today for we were sure to burst if we ate any more. We settled up (10 points for the speed at which the waitress brought the bill and processed payment) and on our way out were kindly shown where the lobsters live behind the scenes. Down a winding staircase we went to a window, through which we could view the living crustaceans, claws restrained by multi-coloured rubber bands. Their tanks were surgically pristine and it was good to learn that their imminent deaths would be as kindly conducted as possible, and they’d be sent quickly to Lobster Heaven by a humane lobster-killing device called a CrustaStun. I believe strongly in the welfare of anything we eat, so this was a bonus: to learn that our lobsters didn’t suffer before landing on our plates.
Dear Burger and Lobster,
thank you for a wonderful lunch on an otherwise gloomy Saturday. We will be back for more Clarges Bucks, Mint Collins, the lobster rolls and a couple of tubs of your divine-looking lime mousse. I can see you fast becoming an institution in London Town.
Long may you prosper here.
La Lobster Lubber, Epicurienne.
Burger and Lobster, 29 Clarges Street, London, W1J 7EF, tel 020 7409 1699
Burger and Lobster is part of the Goodman chain of restaurants.
The Burger and Lobster cocktails were designed by The Soul Shakers .