The latest of the Buger & Lobster Restaurants, bringing the tally to 3 (Mayfair, Soho and now Farringdon). The concept is simple – you either eat burger (with optional bacon and cheese – no extra cost) or lobster (served grilled or steamed whole, or as a lobster roll) complete with chips and salad for a square £20. This is a bargain for lobster, but less of a bargain really for a burger. Whilst it’s a good burger, there are plenty of good burger joints in London these days, serving up excellent burgers for a lot less than 20 quid. Therefore if all you want is a burger, don’t come here. The way to make this place work for you though, is if you like lobster and you have a couple of lobster-loving friends, in which case you can get a burger, a lobster and a lobster roll and share the lot, bringing the food bill in at a reasonably respectable £60.
On our visit on a friday night, the place was packed to the rafters and as with many London restaurants now, there is a no-bookings policy – it’s a question of show up and be prepared to wait it out. To ease the wait however is a list of suitable potent cocktails together with the standard bar fare. We were pretty happy to sit up at the bar, sip a cocktail or several and people watch. I’d say the average wait for a table if you get there around 7-8pm prepared for a pre-dinner drink or two (i.e. don’t turn up starving or take parents who don’t get the no-bookings concept and are expecting to eat immediately) is around 1 hour (longer the later you arrive after 8 and especially on a weekend night). However, as I say, this really wasn’t an issue for us as the bar had a great atmosphere and the wait list for the tables is accurately kept, with a server coming to get you as soon as your table is ready.
Much as I knew I was buying into a concept in eating at B&L I really quite liked it – the atmosphere was buzzy, I liked the industrial chic look of the building and the open kitchen and I always think lobster looks dramatic on a plate and makes dinner a bit more theatrical than the norm. It’s also refreshing to have lobster served up in relaxed surrounds rather than under a cloche by a be-suited waiter in a white table-cloth establishment. However, as I say, if you aren’t much of a lobster fan, this is a pricey evening. Ditto if you’re a veggie (I’m not sure there is a veggie option, not one I can recall, but then the clue is in the name really).
Now on to the food – it may be a pricey pattie , but the burger was pretty good in my opinion, especially with the bacon and cheese and it was certainly a hefty portion! The chips were also well cooked and seasoned, though the side salad could have been a little larger. We also had the grilled lobster (sadly there was only two of us so we couldnt quite manage the lobster roll too) which came out with appropriate pazzazz complete with claws and the accoutrements to assist in eating (including a bib!). I have to confess that the lobster was perhaps a little on the chewy side in part on our visit – could have just been bad luck and really and at the £20 price tag, was something we were prepared to overlook. Generally I’d say if you fancy lobster without the usual dent in your wallet, this is the place and it comes with a cool bar and buzzy atmosphere to boot.