My good friend Maz-Pants has been banging on about Burger & Lobster for ages, so it was the obvious choice of venue for her to celebrate birthday number 32.
“Get there for 6.30pm or we’ll lose our table,” were the strict instructions, so I arrived promptly but at the wrong one in Mayfair instead of the more newly opened branch in Soho – doh! Never mind, I hopped in a cab and a fiver later was only ten minutes late, but in plenty of time to quaff a few pre-prandial vinos with the girls.
Burger & Lobster has been blogged about endlessly since it launched in late 2011. Offering a choice of – you guessed it – burger or lobster for a flat price of £20, it’s a formula that has worked brilliantly, particularly as both the burger and the lobster are done so very well.
Of course, only a mug would order a burger for £20 (rather expensive) when there’s a whole lobster on offer for the same price (rather cheap), but I expect Burger & Lobster makes its margins on the mugs, and all eleven of us ordered lobster.
Scouring a lengthy menu while trying to chat with one’s companions is the most unrelaxing bit of eating out, so I love it when I’m given little or no choice in what I have. At Burger & Lobster, the only choices you have to make are: 1) what to drink, 2) whether to have your lobster steamed, grilled or served in a roll. If you opt to have the burger, you can choose whether to add cheese and/or bacon.
I plumped for the grilled lobster and it surpassed expectations. Perfectly cooked and deliciously fresh, it came on a large platter, in its shell, which had been helpfully cracked in a way that made the whole thing very easy to deal with. A handy skewer meanwhile helped us delve meat out from the tricky bits, and we dunked away merrily in the amazing garlic and lemon-butter dipping sauce.
Eating lobster can be a messy business, but any unruly flecks of fish or shell were expertly thwarted by plastic bibs (issued at the start of dinner) for which those sitting in close proximity to Serena said they were particularly grateful….
Lobster and burger dishes here all come with chips and salad. The chips were as chips should be (thin and crispy) while the salad was nothing like those pointless, soggy ‘garnishes’ that we so often seem to suffer in life. No, this was fresh, crisp lettuce, properly dressed and topped with crunchy homemade croutons and a generous shaving of parmesan – in other words, a genuine salad rather than a droopy afterthought.
That we were a big group of pretty ladies (oh, stop it!) may have had something to do with the charming, attentive service, but such an easy-peasy ordering structure – “4 bottles of wine, 11 grilled lobster. Coming up!” – must surely help to keep the staff smiley.
I haven’t been to the other branches of Burger & Lobster, but the Soho one is huge and at 6.40pm on a Wednesday was completely packed with young urbanites, all having a lovely time. Despite its size, the atmosphere is cosy with that artfully underdone, industrial-style interior styling that seems to be everywhere these days – what can I say? It works.
Since Burger & Lobster launched in Mayfair, it has opened the Soho branch that we went to, plus one in Farringdon and another on Bread Street in the City. With the new branches has gone the old and very irksome no-booking policy it used to have, and – assuming lobster or burger is what you’re after – this all makes for a pretty perfect set up. Well done – and HAPPY BIRTHDAY – Mazzy!
Burger & Lobster
36 Dean Street
T: 020 7432 4800
To find out details of the Mayfair, City and Farrindon branches, visit www.burgerandlobster.com