Burger and Lobster in Knightsbridge
The prospect of burgers and lobsters in harmony at a restaurant has the capacity to inflict restless nights of meat sweats and dreams of claw cracking and tail picking on all who envisage it. It’s hard not to be captivated by the formula of this franchise: three dishes – a whole lobster (grilled or steamed), a lobster roll or a beef burger – are all served with chips and salad, each costing £20. The latest offspring, perched at the back of Harvey Nichols’ fifth floor, is in its nascent days. As with most newborns, there are inevitable complications; thankfully, there are significantly more moments of sheer, unbridled joy.
Sticking with the restaurant’s title, first up is the burger. A glazed bosom of a bun has the unenviable responsibility of maintaining the structure of a vast patty and its delicious friends. It performs commendably, allowing you to recklessly tear into the burger’s penetrating savouriness. The lick of smoke that accompanied its cooking (resulting in a rosy-cheeked centre) strikes as the sweet tomato combines with the astringency of a piquant gherkin. Just when things can’t get much better, a rasher of crisp bacon – the stuff of porcine dreams – hits the palate. The ooze of cheese is pure indulgence and perfection. As burgers in London go, this is up there.
All downhill from here, then? Not quite. Staff are, as expected, full of charming bluster and enthusiasm, and the drinks selection is strong. A superb Swiss bottled beer – 1936 – stands out from the usual list of cocktails, of which Apples and Pears works to particularly good effect. Back with the food, a lobster roll arrives in a little basket, looking significantly smaller and more delicate than the intimidatingly large burger. The bun-cum-sandwich is packed with the sweet and moist meat of reveries. Like the burger, it is accompanied by a bucket of well-seasoned chips and, unlike the burger, a kitsch gravy boat of lemon and chive butter sauce that adds sufficient lubrication to help the roll go down a little easier. It’s nice of the kitchen to serve this, though they needn’t worry: the roll would have been speedily consumed, regardless.
As with most new openings, there are obstacles. The side salad, for instance, is rendered pointless by its problems: cursory croutons sag under a slick of balsamic vinegar and the mixed leaves look on fondly at the lobster tanks, yearning for a better end than this piquant torture. The less said about the bought-in desserts the better – a risible and needless addition to a restaurant that doesn’t want them.
This incarnation, like the four others dotted round London (Soho, Mayfair, the City and Farringdon), will stand on its feet on the brilliance of its savoury food and efficient pricing. And equally, it will soon iron out the kinks and become the excellent establishment it so nearly is.
Burger and Lobster: 45/60
For further information about Burger and Lobster at Harvey Nichols, 109-125 Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7RJ, call 020 7235 5000 or visit here.