Monday, August 26, 2013

Burger & Lobster

If you regularly read my blog -even more so if you read my Twitter- you've probably noticed that I quite like burgers. Lobster, on the other hand, I've eaten just a handful of times and I was always disappointed. I always thought lobsters were just like big ol' bugs that got steamed, and I suppose they kind of are. I learned an important lesson, however, by the end of this blog post.

We went to Burger & Lobster's City location at St. Paul's on Saturday just a little after noon, and even though we had made reservations it wasn't too busy at all -could've just walked in and got a table- because of that, I'd totally recommend this location at weekends.

I've heard plenty about their burger, so I was quite excited to give it a shot; not nearly as excited as my husband was to eat lobster. If you haven't heard, Burger & Lobster's whole idea is that there are only three items on the menu: a burger, a whole lobster, and a lobster roll - all £20. The lobster is a super value, the lobster roll is pretty good from what I understand, but the burger seems quite costly. I suppose when you factor in that it includes salad and fries it isn't so bad - still kind of pricey, even for London gourmet burgers. It is 10 oz of steak mince, with a broiche bun, a massive slice of tomato, lettuce, bacon, cheese, and pickles. All in all, I'm the kind of person who would spend £20 on a nice hamburger, so I was game - and it was my husband's birthday so we were celebrating, anyway.

We started off with two drinks, and since it was the early afternoon I went with something non-alcoholic-- the birthday boy threw caution to the wind and got a cocktail.
I can't recollect the name of mine, I'm pretty sure it was something something Iced Tea, and it was earl gray, watermelon, and lemon. Very refreshing, and nicely tangy. The fruit juices really brought out the sweet lemon-yness of earl gray, a tea I've always considered to taste exactly like the milk left in Froot Loops. It wasn't too sweet, like some iced tea can be quite sickly. The birthday drink was Soul Happiness, which was tequila, watermelon, and lemon. I had a little sip, and it was super tasty - tequila can be quite horrible, but this was smooth and well-blended with the tart lemon and sweeter watermelon.

So far, so good. On with the mains - after much deliberation (titter titter, none at all) we had ordered the lobster and the burger.
Can't really get a sense of scale here, but that is quite a hefty burger. That tomato ring itself was probably the size of my entire hand. I was a bit apprehensive, news stories about women dislocating their jaws dancing through my head, but I managed. The bun was quite squishable, but within the bun lies the problem if you ask me - way too much bun.

This may be controversial, but I feel that with a burger the bun should be more or less an afterthought. I am here for the meat, cheese, and any extra toppings - not bread. The bun tasted a bit like a nice piece of brown bread, sure, but it had that disconcerting cake-y texture that brioche has. Frankly, I don't much cotton to the brioche bun trend, it adds nothing in my opinion and just makes burgers taller and more 'grand' looking.

In this case specifically, it detracted from the burger - as for whatever reason, the steak mince was quite delicate in flavor. Don't get me wrong, it was incredibly tasty and beefy in size and flavor, but it was a bit dulled by the bready taste, and the sweet-and-sloppy pickles. I took the tomato off, but I imagine if I had left it on I would've had an even harder time tasting the beef. It's a shame, the bites I had that were heavy on the meat and light on everything else were wonderful - but the beef was really so light that it was easily dominated by everything else. Now, this could definitely be just to my taste - and it was by no means a bad burger at all, but I've had better (to me) for less money. I like sloppy, beefy burgers with squishy, barely-there buns. I can see where this was even more of a gourmand burger than I might like - I can appreciate it, but I wouldn't order it again.

That's where the lobster comes in.
(photo courtesy the birthday dude)
As I said, I've had lobster maybe a handful of times and didn't like it, ever. Even with the butter sauce, much to everyone who knows me's shock - because I normally love butter. This blog, by the way, would make an excellent case study for adult onset diabetes.

Anyway, after much cajoling my husband cornered me into eating two forkfuls of lobster - and sister, I ain't looking back. It was so delicious! That must be what lobster-lovers (that's what I call people who eat lobster) taste whenever they eat it. Before I've had lobster, and it tasted fishy, and the texture was weird: slimy and overly wet. This had a firmer, meatier texture than what I've had before, and just tasted like popcorn or butter - even without the butter sauce.

What I'm getting at is thus: if you are going to Burger & Lobster, get the lobster, even if you think you hate it, because it turns out that you'll love it. Probably. I sure did, and I wouldn't have guessed it.

Bonus: They have a lobster tank, and while you don't pick out your lobster, you can look at some of the monstrous thugs that are available to eat - for the right price. At least at the City location, there is a board with special lobsters on it - ranging from 2-3 lbs for £40, all the way up to 'do your bidding' type sizes, for upwards of £100.

When we were there, we saw a 6 lb lobster that would've cost £100, but looked as if it would feed a family of 6, walk your dog, or take out all of your enemies. Whatever floats your boat...which is also something this lobster could probably do.

I'm certainly not the first person to recommend Burger & Lobster, and I won't be the last - but heed my words, those who agree with me about burger styles & remain unsure about lobster...go with the lobster.

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