Ever since Burger & Lobster burst onto the London food scene last year, I’ve been filled with yearning to get down there and see what all the fuss is about. It’s taken a long while for me to finally get around to going there, but as of last night the wait was finally over….or was it…
We arrived at Burger & Lobster at around 8:30pm (Tuesday evening) and upon noticing the packed venue through the glass door to the restaurant, we asked the hostess how long we could be expected to wait. She replied “45 minutes”, and after a short deliberation we decided to opt to grab a drink at the bar and wait. Upon entering the restaurant/bar area I almost immediately wished we opted to put our names down, disappear off somewhere else for a drink and return 45 minutes later. The place was heaving and there were no free seats, let alone room to stand around the bar and the place is really not big enough to have a plentiful supply of corners to prop yourself up in.
Sucking it up we walked up to the bar, leaned over a couple deep in conversation and waited to be noticed by the bar staff. This is where the seemingly endless practise of ‘waiting’ began. The staff are all delightfully energetic and enthusiatic which is a bonus, however when you’re waiting around 10 minutes at the bar to get served their playful habits of fooling around with each other starts to chip away at the thin veneer of patience you attempt to pleasantly uphold.
Burger & Lobster is primarily a cocktail bar, so the wines are fairly limited to only 5 choices of both white and red, although they do serve Best Bitter on tap for those who enjoy a nice pint. The wines seemed to range from around £6-10 a glass and bottles start at about £20. Had I known the direction the evening would have taken, in hindsight I’d have just plumped for ordering a bottle from the outset.
45 minutes came and went. I enquired with the hostess as to how they planned to notify us when our table was ready. She assured me that a rather frazzled looking host wanders up and down the bar announcing to diners when their tables are ready. I was somewhat dubious of this plan considering the fact this guy had yet to clap eyes on me so how would he know who I was…I refrained from saying anything and returned to our spot against the wall, by the stairs, in the way of ALL the bar and waiting staff.
Finally, after an hour had passed by we grabbed said host and enquired how much longer it was going to take. We were assured it would only be another 5 minutes. Approximately 20 minutes later we were shown to our table and seated at just before 10pm.
The concept behind Burger & Lobster, for those who aren’t aware, is that you pay £20 for either a burger, or a lobster, or a lobster roll. £20 for a whole lobster (+ salad & chips) seems like a good deal and I think there’s a fair amount of mind trickery that suddenly allows you to think that £20 is therefore a reasonable price to pay for a burger (+ salad & chips) also.With one foot squarely rooted in reality I considered that £20 for a burger must mean it’s one hell of a burger. In fact, it should….no, must….be the best burger I have ever tasted.
I opted for the burger out of intrigue and D opted for the lobster.
When the generously portioned trays of food arrived our spirits were lifted somewhat. Although the burger was good, tasty and cooked to request, I have to admit I don’t think it warranted a £20 pricing. I have had better burgers. In fact, I’ve had several better burgers. It was good, just not ‘that good’. Unfortunately D’s lobster was overcooked and therefore not as enjoyable as anticipated.
There’s no telling whether the standards had slipped because it was late at night and all the staff just wanted to head home, but what with the enormous wait and the under par food, it really failed to live up to expectation.
I was gutted. I truly wanted to love this place, but the poor all round experience has left me feeling really flat about it. I’m glad I went and tried it out finally, but I fear it’s become a victim of its own reputation and as a result you can expect lengthy queues and the odd slip in standards perhaps. I wish I’d made it down there when it first opened and seen it in its glory. Although I’m fairly sure I’d still consider £20 for a cheeseburger and chips a bit steep. But maybe that’s just me…