Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Burger And Lobster - London

Followers of this blog will recall how I have written about the Burger craze in London. Everywhere you look a new burger joint has opened. They are normally stripped down, simple, sometimes with loud music, and always with their followers claiming that their burgers are really the best the juiciest and the tastiest. The old school burger joints comprised of Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Byron, Black & Blue and Hache. The new kids on the block are Meat Liquor, Tommi’s Burgers and Burger and Lobster. There is even a new Hot Dog place called Bubbledogs that serves only Hot Dogs and various types of Sparking Wine. There are also high end burgers available at Bar Boloud, the Cut a Wolfgang Puck restaurant, This is in addition to non specialist places serving burgers, almost all the pubs, all of the chains – MacDonald’s, Burger King and so on. Burgers are big in London.

Lunch was at Burger and Lobster. This is an offshoot of the Goodman Steak Restaurants. It’s Russian owned, and from one outlet [Goodman] at Maddox Street, in 3 years they now have a total of 6, 3 Goodman and 3 Burger and Lobster.

The concept is simple. No reservations. You queue up and get a table. No holding tables for friends, only if all of you are present will you get a table. There is no menu. They serve just 3 things. A Burger with cheese and/or bacon, a Lobster Roll and ½ a grilled Lobster with butter. Everything comes with salad and chips. Each of these costs a flat GBP 20. That is it. Of course there are drinks and deserts. No confusion, no inventory, no fancy cooking, no utensils and no crockery. Everything is served on a large metallic tray with a paper mat. No plates, no breakage no fancy dishwashing. Costs stripped down to the minimum.

The restaurant itself is done up in a warehouse look with exposed wires, minimalist lights and exposed air-conditioning. Tables are simple wooden topped tables with no table mats or napkins. Paper napkins are provided. Food is delivered swiftly, eaten as quickly and you are out in 30 minutes flat.

HRH the Queen of Kutch ordered the Lobster Roll. The Roll was made with really excellent bread about 9 inches long absolutely stuffed with large pieces of lobster dressed with Mayonnaise. No bulk adding tomato, celery etc. just chunks of sweet lobster and a mayonnaise with a sprinkle of chives. She pronounced it as delicious. I had a bite, it was really good. The Lobster pieces were large, almost unwieldy, not the rubbish of chopping up the lobster mixing it into Mayonnaise and spreading it on bread. This was a large quantity of quality Lobster. She was delighted.

I ordered a Burger. It was delicious. The burger was bigger and better than the Burgers at any of the usual specialist burger places. The meat was far tastier and the grind far coarser. Lots of tasty bacon. I was delighted.

This is in reality an expensive burger. GBP 20 is steep. At Byron you get a Bacon and Cheese Burger for 9.25 to which you add chips 3.00 and a small salad 3.50 and you pay 15.75. At Black and Blue they cost 13 and come with the chips and salad. My guess is that the Burgers at Burger & Lobster subsidise the Lobsters. Despite all this, I think this was a better burger than what I normally get. If you are willing to pay the price, you get a better product.

Burger at Black & Blue

A simple concept well executed. When leaving I asked the manager how many the restaurant seats? 69 at one time and they turn tables many times a day. The rush starts at 12 noon at opening. All 69 places were taken by 12.20. From then till about 3 the restaurant remains packed. Then at dinner time it starts again. That my friends is a winning formula.    

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