When the first Burger & Lobster opened in London, the whole world and his brother wanted a taste of what was touted as “the cheapest lobster in Mayfair”. The restaurant has chosen to follow London’s latest trend of “please queue in the rain because we don’t take bookings” and, although torn between my love of lobster and my fathomable dislike of queuing, I tried to get a table on a Friday evening.
I suppose it was inevitable that I was turned away at the door. When I arrived, a man energetically controlling the list of lobster-eaters that night looked down at his clipboard briefly before suggesting I return at a less busy time. Although slightly peeved, I heeded his advice and ended up scoring a table for lunch the following week.
Oh my, what a lunch.
The menu at Burger & Lobster isn’t particularly long – and why should it be? The name is pretty self-explanatory: you choose between lobster, a lobster roll and a burger. Each choice is served alongside a simple mixed salad and a side of chips – all for £20 (no wonder the restaurant is known as Mayfair’s cheapest lobster!). I opted for the lobster roll; a brioche bun generously filled with fresh lobster, mayonnaise and chives. The brioche was perfectly toasted, incredibly buttery and managed to hold the overflowing lobster remarkably well. The wine list wasn’t particularly long either – I ended up opting for a crisp, acidic, unoaked sauvignon blanc – a safe yet pleasing pairing.
The experience prompted me to consider which wines are great companions for lobster. Generally speaking, avoid red wine – the tannins in the wine and the iodine in lobster don’t make for a particularly compatible match. Although the ideal wine pairing will depend on how the lobster is cooked and served, if in doubt go for a Chablis – its minerality, acidity and flintiness make it a worthy partner.
Grapeful (the wine app I launched a few months ago) had previously grouped lobster in the same category as shellfish as far as wine pairing is concerned. My recent trip to Burger & Lobster, however, prompted me to explore lobster and wine pairings in more detail; it is now a separate entry on the app with pairing suggestions according to how the lobster is cooked. For example – a lobster roll commands a different wine match to, say, a lobster stir-fry.
I truly think pairing lobster with wine is the height of decadence. I won’t spoil the surprise by telling you what the pairings are. Next time you order lobster at a restaurant (or cook it at home if you’re brave), check out the app.