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Burger & Lobster, Soho, the party one

As a concept it is leftfield but you can't argue that great execution and attractive pricing have created a real dynamo of a London mini-chain. As you have perhaps seen I really enjoyed my visits to the original Burger Lobster in Clarges St. It's a small restaurant turning out it's 3 dish menu with aplomb. The Soho version on Dean St is a far bigger, brighter and brasher affair. Not so many courting couples and a lot more big parties of pals on a night out. As it was I was part of a two on my visit but not with my lovely wife but my old uni and house mate Nick. He's from Nottingham but doing some work in London so I was keen to show him what was new in London. Soho was very busy last Thursday everywhere we went past was packed. Arriving at Burger Lobster there was a queue just to find out about a table. Everyone in front either left their number for a call back or went elsewhere. Noticing that the bar tables in the front of reception were empty we took the news of the hour and half waiting time in our stride and asked if we could have a drink whilst we waited. We sat down order a couple of lovely rum punches and within 25 minutes our table was ready. It always pays to be polite, personable and visible when waiting for a walk in.

We were led through into the restaurant proper which is huge and canteen like. The long and busy bar runs along the wall as you enter with booths on the other side. This leads into the main restaurant, the open kitchen on one side and the lobster tanks on the opposite wall in a corner. Our table was actually on a further raised section off the main room. The place was packed and as such very noisy. Lots of big groups eating together a pretty good buzz but I'd say a younger clientele than Clarges St. Our waiter was very bright and willing, he did try and upsell us a meal deal they were doing but Nick and I went for the standard £20 lobsters with another round of punch and some tap water. What separates Burger Lobster from other big chains is the service, no sooner had I sat down than my card that I had put behind the bar for our earlier drinks turned up and the cost transferred to our table. Food and drink came quickly as well. It’s a well organised well trained team at work here.

The food was very nice, lovely fresh tasting lobster, crunchy chips, a nice salad and some garlic butter to dip it all in. The waiter told us to take our time as it was late on so the table wasn't going to be turned again. The drinks here a very good like Clarges St. It reminded me of Wishbone in Brixton where again a very simple menu is given a real sparkle by proper drinks from a professional bar. So we sat and finished our lovely dinner at a leisurely pace, the waiter popped by for a chat at the end bemoaning the rudeness of some of the larger groups he had to serve that day. It's a nice place and good to see that the BL team have managed to expand the chain without losing the elements that make it work. I still prefer Clarges St but this is a worthy alternative.

Monday, September 16, 2013
Overall rating
Food 9 | Service 9 | Atmosphere 7 | Value for money 9

28-50, Mayfair, lovely smart brasserie with cracking wine

Pig's Ears, Richmond, nice basement pub