Burger and Lobster, situated in the heart of Mayfair has a very unique concept for its menu: It doesn’t have one. If you’re someone who loves to lose yourself in a long list of entrees, mains and sides then this place may not be for you as it serves only three dishes: A Burger, A lobster, or A lobster roll. All for £20 and all served with unlimited chips and salad. Its a daringly simple concept designed to take the stress and angst out of ordering food and whilst this may leave some scratching their heads, less neurotic foodies will find the scarceness in choice refreshing.
Having been launched by the same team behind Goodman Steak restaurants, this place has been steeped in hype and it is advisable to arrive early. My date and I arrived at around 5pm on a week day and were seated immediately, however the restaurant became busy extremely quickly and on leaving I spied a lady with a clipboard denying entry to a group of would be customers outside. The restaurant is obviously aware of the buzz surrounding it as it refuses to take reservations and this is one of the few qualms I had with the place. There’s something about a restaurant that doesn’t take reservations that smacks of self importance and seems counter productive to bringing in customers. Having said that, judging by how quickly the place filled up I shouldn’t imagine attracting customers is a particular concern for the establishment at present.
The waiters are extremely friendly and knowledgeable, instantly at pains to put you at ease. Our waiters first question to us was to ask if we had been before or “knew how it all worked,” which had the unfortunate effect of reminding me of being at Nandos, but the moment passed. The decor was an interesting combination of American diner meets rustic with red leather seats and distressed wooden tables.
There was also a rather neat row of hooks surrounding the tables for customers to hang their coats and bags on which I thought was just darling. The ambiance was relaxed and pleasant, and definitely a significant factor to our enjoyment of the meal.
After a lengthy internal debate coupled with a recent recommendation, I went for the lobster roll and my date chose the lobster. The cynic in me tends to think that the option of having a burger is simply to subsidise the price of the lobster as I spied relatively few diners opting for the very tasty looking but still inferior 100% beef burger. The value for money in a big stonker of a lobster priced at just £20 in a Mayfair restaurant is simply undeniable and I suspect there are few diners willing to pay £20 for any burger regardless of whether it is 100% homegrown beef or not. The service was noticeably quick and I was charmed by the quaint silver tin in which the chips were served. There is a genuine sense of fun at Burger & Lobster; diners choosing the lobster were treated to bibs and waiters were constantly joking and chatting with the diners.
The lobster roll was..sublime. Served on a firm brioche bun with a tangy yet sweet Japanese mayo, the lobster meat is succulent and distinctive in its flavour. I found myself audibly gasping after each bite and marveling at the richness and variety of tastes and textures. A side of garlic butter is served alongside the chips and made for a lovely dipping sauce. The chips were cooked to perfection; crisp and golden on the outside, ever so slightly mushy on the inside and thinly cut. The whole thing just works. Watching my date tackle his beast of a lobster with a fork, knife and an instrument that resembled a pair of pliers also served to convince me that I had made the right decision in choosing the roll. Eating lobster appears to be a bit of a faff and the roll presents the same amount of meat but in an altogether friendlier fashion.
The only detractor from the evening came after the main. I ordered a Summer Of Love cocktail and a vanilla cheescake mousse with salted caramel for dessert and whilst both were lovely, I was a bit disappointed in the lack of visual originality. The cocktail simply came in a tall glass and resembled Robinson’s orange squash whilst the dessert was handed to me in a styrofoam cup through the bars next to our table! Whilst I initially appreciated the informal cozy feel of the restaurant, I did feel that this was maybe a tad inappropriate. Despite the shoddy presentation the dessert itself was unbelievable. Fresh and creamy vanilla mousse, nicely offset by the bitter caramel and topped with a crunchy biscuit crust, I was distraught when it came to an end.
All in all, Burger & Lobster provided us with fast service, a warm atmosphere and incredible food. Whilst the presentation may have left a little to be desired and some may be put off by the gimmicky no menu aspect, its reputation is well deserved. Price wise, you’re unlikely to find a restaurant offering a whole lobster for such a reasonable price. The desserts and cocktails were not so reasonable however, and the whole thing came to just under £100. I was going for a special occasion so didn’t mind paying for extras, but diners may want to stick to the mains to diminish the dent to the bank balance.