Burger and Lobster Mayfair 1

29 Clarges Street , London, W1J 7EF

  • burger and lobster 2011
  • burger and lobster 2012
  • burger and lobster 2012

SquareMeal Review of Burger and Lobster Mayfair

Burger & Lobster definitely takes some beating. There’s a winning simplicity to its eponymous offering of hand-minced corn-fed Nebraskan beef and fresh lobster from Nova Scotian waters. The menu is short, but no worse for it – unless you’re vegetarian, of course. Take your pick from meaty burgers (with extra cheese and bacon), juicy steamed or char-grilled lobster, and buttery lobster rolls in toasted brioche with a lick of wasabi mayo – each served with fries and a salad at pocket-friendly rates. Drinks call for slightly more protracted decision-making, with a mixed bag of wines, beers, fizz and food-friendly cocktails to consider. No reservations; a short wait is the price you pay for affordable luxury.

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6.5

Food & Drink: 7.0

Service: 6.4

Atmosphere: 7.0

Value: 6.6

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 2.0

Gourmand Gunno platinum reviewer 06 December 2013

Viewed objectively, if part of the reason behind eating out is being able to choose ‘something different’ from a potentially inventive and intriguing menu, then surely a restaurant offering just three choices must be destined to struggle? On the contrary, Burger & Lobster was buzzing when two colleagues and I visited on a recent lunchtime. Three choices – as the name would suggest, burger, lobster or what is effectively a lobster burger – works perfectly for the indecisive or for restaurants seeking to turn their tables quickly. The no-bookings policy at Burger & Lobster would also seem to support this latter theory and is a generally objectionable principle, speaking to a certain conceit on the part of the establishment. But while the restaurant was full, we were pleasantly surprised that neither the serving staff nor the diners appeared to be rushed. The operation runs slickly and efficiently, helping sustain a lively atmosphere, aided by a good musical soundtrack (think quite a lot of retro soul and disco) and pleasant décor, we being seated in a red leather corner banquette. Onto the food, and the three of us each went for a different dish, allowing for all of Burger & Lobster’s wares to be sampled. There were thumbs-up from each of us for our selections, and in general, the portions were generously-sized and well-presented. My lobster brioche was tender and juicy and the accompanying wasabi mayonnaise a nice touch. Being able to drink a pint of hand-pulled English real ale (Harvey’s) with this was an additional positive, and something more restaurants should really consider. While full of plaudits – for concept, atmosphere and food – it does, however, remain the case that a burger (or lobster) really needs to be pretty amazing to justify a £20 price tag. Fair enough to the restaurant for sticking with the simple formula of pricing all their dishes at the same level, and there clearly seemed to be no shortage of people willing to stump up, but my sense is I could spend the same amount on a better main in many other restaurants, or indeed spend roughly half of this on a superior burger elsewhere.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 4.0

Jonathan T. 02 September 2012

A must try. I admit that the first time I tried to eat at Burger and Lobster it went so badly it never happened but I vented my frustration by email and the impeccably polite management encouraged me to return so I did – and boy am I glad. This is a great restaurant, smartly fitted out in a US diner type style (but a nice seaside one) and the service was brilliant, as were our lobsters. I can't comment on the burger and £20 is a bit steep for one of them but for a lobster its a bargain. especially in Mayfair. Me and my family all left with a big grin on our face – can't recommend it enough, but be prepared to wait owing to the irritating no reservations policy.

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 5.0

Erik H. 10 August 2012

I always get a kick out of reading reviews. Seems that people are rating themselves, not the restuarant. If you do not like limited menus or not being able to make a reservation, don't go to Burger and Lobster or buy or own darn restuarant. Grow up. I cannot understand anyone having displeasure with any of the Goodman's establishemetns. Without doubt, some of the best trained serivce folks in the city. We arrived just after 5 on a Thursday and boom, seated right away. Planning really works. Super nice and attentive service. We tried both the lobster and the burger. This is not messing around, the lobster has to be one of the best valued meals in all of London, that is if you know what good lobster should taste like. Want to see fresh? Ask to view one of the largest holding tanks in all of Europe. Cooked perfectly. Fantastic! Yeah, seems a bit much to pay £20 for a burger, but splash out, go crazy, this is one excellent treat. My only fault would be, I prefer my salad chilled and forget having desert. Just go for one more of their super lagers. I won't ever be able to pass Mayfair without craving another one of those super lobsters.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 4.0

Vero S. 19 July 2012

‘No reservations’? Of course, there are! What would you call a fact that one still has to come down to the restaurant two hours before the anticipated dinner and put his name down on the list – as opposed to an old-fashion way of doing so over the phone? We went to Burger and Lobster yesterday and were second on the list when we arrived, assured by a not so welcoming lady at the door that a table would be ready within 1 to 2 hours wait. Alright, we thought, and headed to the nearest bar to start an evening with a drink… And there we were, sitting at the May Fair Bar two hours later with three cocktails down my neck and no phone call from the B&L people. Almost considered having a dinner at the Nobu who always make sure they help you find a table especially on a Wednesday night but thought, hey, I want to try the Burger and Lobster and see for myself if it is worth waiting for at all after all… So we decided to head back to the restaurant to see what’s happened. The lady at the door had now a longer list in her hand and a fewer customers waiting outside. We were offered to wait again, now at the restaurant’s bar where all cocktails were served with an orange zest on top, not that we cared much after the ones we had at the May Fair Bar. All in all, after having put our names on the list at 6:25pm we were finally seated at a quarter to 9pm. Hurray!!! The place was buzzing and packed – and no wonder why. The grilled lobster I had was good and a real value for money as you’d expect to pay a bit more for a half lobster in other London restaurants. However, the burger was a bit of a disappointment – nothing wrong with it but nothing spectacular either. I had better ones in.. Byron and had not had to wait for it for hours for it! I am not really sure what B&L are trying to achieve with their limited menu where burger does not really fit (and is overpriced) and the waiting time which is beyond comprehension. A fully packed place every night and no returning customers? I truly wonder how long they last… As for me, I’d rather take control over my dinner arrangements, be it a burger or lobster.

Food & Drink: 2.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 2.0

Value: 2.0

IanIan B. 30 May 2012

Having read several reviews of B&L my friend and I decided to try it. I can only assume we were lucky as we arrived early on a Tuesday evening and were shown directly to a table so to be fair we didn't have to worry about phone calls and queuing which sounds fun. The lovely young lady on the door was very friendly as were all the staff and the place seemed to have a nicely buzzy atmosphere. The table for 2 we were shown to was ‘cosy’ to say the least and stuck beside the stairs but its not a place to be able to choose your preffered table so hey ho. The waitress was vey helpful and our drinks turned up amazingly quickly (2 pints of the sussex bitter) whilst we ordered our food (1 x burger and 1 x lobster roll). The food also arrived poste haste and was everything I had come to expect from the various pictures in the press. Now this is where I think I just dont ‘get it’. My friend had the burger and said it was excellent (which as its from the Goodmans stable you would expect) and my lobster roll was ok. The roll was if anything a bit bland with no real flavour of the wasabi mayo and rather messy to eat. the chips were nice and the salad tried really hard to be clever – but thats it. So we had 2 pints, a sandwich and a burger and spent (inc service) £55. Ok, it was a nice burger, and there was lobster, and its in Mayfair etc etc etc. But, and its a big but, would i ever consider standing in a queue for 2 hours for this? Not a bloody chance. All in all just a little bit of hype over substance and a bit underwhelming.

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 0.0

Atmosphere: 2.0

Value: 2.0

kay m. 11 May 2012

Extremely unprofessional and rude staff member on the door, who turned out to be the General Manager. Really let the side down as to what could've been a really nice night out. We perservered and waited patiently for a table for 2 hours and the food was great. We really enjoyed our meal. Just a shame about the attitude on the door. Truly awful. Don't expect a welcoming smile.

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 4.0

Tish T. 29 March 2012

We got there at one minute past 12 on a Friday lunch time and only just managed to get the last table in the restaurant. It is hugely popular, which makes for a very buzzy vibe, but does mean that the wait times are horrendous (2.5hrs when I have tried to go before). The lobster was fantastic – beautifully cooked and very big. Chips were delicious. My companions had the burger, but admitted to ‘food envy’ for my lobster. Staff were charming, but were run off their feet, and it was quite hard to get their attention. Is a really fun place, but I would recommend the lobster over the burger.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 3.0

Fiona M. gold reviewer 23 March 2012

I went to B&L with a work contact who had already been on numerous occasions. As they have a no reservations policy we turned up at 12.10 and there were plenty of tables available. The crowd is a mix of work people and shoppers and there was a good buzz. The food and decor is very American. B&L is suitable for a relaxed work lunch with a contact you know well or for dining with friends or a date with someone you know well, but not for a formal lunch or with someone you don't have an existing relationship with – cracking the claws and sucking out the meat while wearing a plastic bib is not the best look if trying to cement a new relationship! I had the lobster and my companion had the lobster roll, which looked much easier to eat and is perhaps a better choice for dates / work lunches. Both arrived on a metal tray, mine with a reasonable portion of chips and a smallish side salad. I had my lobster steamed and it was nicely cooked – not overdone. I usually prepare my own lobsters from scratch and have a real thing about over-cooked or dried out crustaceans. The tables are very close together and the tin tray was difficult to eat from, my food kept sliding around. This isn't a big issue, just a minor frustration. I was horrified however to hear that the lobsters are from Nova Scotia. The waitress went on to say “that's seasonal, now we're coming into Spring we'll be buying them from…” Here I waited to hear “Scotland, Ireland, Norway”. But no. Maine, New England. It is TOTALLY unnecessary to fly our tasty friends across the Atlantic and I was unimpressed. It does genuinely make me think about whether I will go back or not, which is annoying as everything else would encourage a return visit.

Food & Drink: 0.0

Service: 0.0

Atmosphere: 0.0

Value: 0.0

Benjamin R. 05 March 2012

Burger and Lobster. Too good to be queue? Billed as having a ‘no reservation’ policy, we were surprised to find the centrally located Burger and Lobster absent of a queue at 7.30pm on a Saturday night. The taste buds were watering at this stroke of luck, especially as we had been in the area since 4pm sampling the delights of Shepherd Market. The previous week, Randall and Aubin, Brewer Street, had softened our hour-long wait with a glass of champagne and plenty of French hospitalité. (As you would expect from a restaurant with a no reservation policy). Upon entering Burger and Lobster, the taste buds started to whither with the news that there was a three-hour wait. Yes, 180 minutes. How so with no reservations and no queue? And therein lies the problem. Front of house, we were advised that we could leave our mobile telephone number and be called when a table was free. Hmm. Isn’t that what we call a reservation!? As the waiting list was longer than the trip to Canada where the lobsters are sourced, we decided to try another route. The bar. The bar area ‘which doesn’t have a wait ‘ and serves food from the quirky menu was pretty busy as you’d expect. Having waited 40 minutes with a nicely made cocktail, we found ourselves craning over fellow diners to see if they had finished slurping on their lobster claws and were ready to vacate. No such luck as a rather zealous American couple that had been ‘waiting way longer that us’ ousted us. Subsequently, a waitress with a stack of metal lobster trays dropped them on my partner’s calf without hesitation and failed to apologise or raise alarm. Nice. Upon exit, we were placated with a ‘did you not manage to eat’ smirk and continued into the heart of Soho for a proper pop-up experience. If you like to eat with a hungry audience craning over your shoulders and enjoy an atmosphere lacking charm and hospitality, this could be the place for you. In summary, we have no reservations in avoiding this establishment.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 4.0

Richard E. platinum reviewer 01 March 2012

We were greeted with a friendly “have you been here before?” (much like the Harvester ads used to show: “have you been to a Harvester before?”). Well no, but how hard can it be: this is a restaurant, you serve food and I am guessing something to wash it down with? Yes, seems to be the answer, but the question is posed as there are only three things on the menu: whole lobster, burger or lobster roll (made from young lobster, or chick, meat). The lobster comes either boiled or grilled and the burger with or without bacon and cheese. And that is about the limit of your choice when it comes to food, as all dishes come with chips and salad. A sort of up market Relais de Venise. The crowd on a Saturday afternoon was an eclectic bunch, the place packed with families, an Elvis lookalike, some Essex facelifts (complete with scouse brows and sale bags from most of the shops along Bond Street) and a couple of gym bunnies, comparing pec’s. The place doesn’t take reservations (although our terribly nice but ditzy waitress thought that this might be changing, once they got the reservations system working), so you line up and take your chances. We sat at the bar for a while, cocktail in hand, waiting our turn. And there is no messing around here; not that you are rushed, but once you are out, the table is prepared in seconds, so that the next group can be seated. Rather than eat at the bar, we decided to take a table, and were given a banquette at the back, with a perfect view of the room, not to mention the kitchen door, so that we could see the bucket loads of lobster being transported from the holding tank in the basement to the warm bath that awaits them. In the interests of completeness, we opted for a lobster and a burger. Both are transported to the table on enormous platters, laden down with the main article, a big bowl of chips and a pretty pointless side salad. The lobster, grilled with lemon and garlic butter, was fantastic: a big, juicy bug, cut in half, the claws cracked open, with that smoky charred taste highlighting the sweet meat. The burger was perfectly ok too; a fine example of the burger-maker’s art, coming with melted cheese and some really good, crispy bacon, as well as some way too sweet dill pickles. But twenty notes for a burger? No, if it were even possible to justify spending that amount on a beef patty and a bun, it would have to be significantly better than this one to consider having the burger over the bug. There are some annoyances: service is friendly but slow and the tables are close together and just too small for two enormous platters of food, the drinks glasses and the condiments. The worst, however, is the paper that covers the platters; what is the point? If you cut the meat you end up with a cut through the paper and the danger of ingesting paper along with the food. Either do away with the paper entirely or replace the platters with proper plates. These are but niggles, however, for what is likely to become a regular haunt. You would hardly think that a restaurant serving lobster in the heart of Mayfair could even be in the running for best cheap and cheerful restaurant of the year but, if you shared a lobster between two (and they are easily big enough to do so) then, together with a couple of glasses of wine, you have a wonderful lunch and no more than a score per person (the value for money score above is based solely on the lobster). Having been somewhat let down by Koya, which is touted as the best cheap eats in the centre of town, I would come here for the lobster any day. What I don’t understand is why they don’t have lobster bisque on the menu: they must get left with a hundred-weight of lobster carcasses every day. What better why to recycle them than to make bisque; surely they can’t ditch them all? I notice that Goodman, which is under the same ownership, does indeed serve lobster bisque: maybe they ship the carcasses out to them instead. I do hope so, although, if not, then I might next time take a doggy bag of exoskeletons home with me.

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