Walking down Clarges Street in the pouring rain my vision was somewhat blurred but I smelled the restaurant Burger & Lobster before I actually saw it.
It was 2.30pm on a Friday afternoon and I thought I’d leave the lunchtime rush to guarantee myself a seat at the original restaurant. They also have a branch in Dean Street in Soho. Burger Lobster is in a former pub and not much has changed, the long bar is now a seating area where diners either sit and eat their meal or wait for one of the popular banquette tables. Shopping safe under one of the large handbag hooks I choose to eat here at the bar.
As the name suggests this restaurant serves burger and lobster – steamed, grilled, in a bun and a burger, well as we know it. There is no menu as such but a chalk board and knowledgable staff. I order the lobster and can only imagine what’s to come as utensils are lined in front of me like surgeon’s tools.
A whole Canadian lobster comes with clarified butter (order both garlic and lemon) to dip in your thick, white meat, shoestring fries and salad all join the ensemble on a massive silver tray. You also get your own Heinz tomato ketchup and Hellman’s mayonnaise to Jackson Pollock to your heart’s content. A plastic bib and refreshing towelette aren’t just a nice-to-have – these are essentials.
I was eating alone but the bar diner sitting next to me had the burger – an American – reading the Herald Tribune but I listened intently to his conversation with the server. His burger was ten ounces of ground beef, he ordered it medium rare and with the offered cheddar and bacon and side salad, comes with fries too. His only request was that no salad came inside the bun. When it arrive and it was cut the meat was cooked perfectly and looked a much more sensible portion size than the monster that arrived in front of me. The one thing though, that all these dishes have in common, is that they’re all £20.00 no matter what you order.
There were very many work folk in here, a few single diners and a fair few tourists. Japanese, French and some Arabians. I guess they’ve heard the good news or they’ve got a spot-on concierge.
Cocktails have been devised by the Soul Shakers – the same chaps who set up the bar at Meat Liquor and like ML you can’t book here either. I order a short cocktail and a glass of tap water and get a complimentary bottle.
No room for dessert after completing a lobster and chips but there are two choices. Cheesecake or chocolate caramel, delivered in paper cups and a steal at £4.50. The waitress tells me not many people go for the dessert menu.
Where else in Central London can you buy lobster or even a burger all in for £20 more importantly how can they afford to do it? The entrepreneurs behind the restaurants buy these lobsters in bulk. In the basement there’s a massive tank full of the crustacea – they buy big and sell cheap so that’s why you and me can enjoy fresh lobster at a bargain price. They seem to be doing a fine job at it too – they’re opening in Farringdon in October in the same street as St John Bread and Wine – could it be the former Bistro du Vin?