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Burger & Lobster & The Failure of Capitalism

The free market seems to be failing in London's restaurant scene. The incredible lack of decent places to eat - combined with a population of seven million people, means that the good restaurants now fall into two distinct categories. 1) The ones that accept reservations, and require booking a month in advance to secure a table on a Saturday night 2) The ones that don't accept reservations, and require showing up at around 6pm to ensure being able to eat that night. 

Call me crazy, but I think something is just not right here.  It would be nice, to have dining in London as a relaxing, calming experience, and yet a weekend without reservations still fills me with fear. I will either starve, or wear flats, as I will not queue for two hours in heels. You would think that recession/ euro crisis / bonus tax would take some of the pressure off, but on the contrary it just seems to have increased the pressure on categories number two, where meals tend to be a lot cheaper. 

Take Burger & Lobster, this is the perfect restaurant, for a banker filled recession riddled city. Those who lack the ability to organise in advance (most male bankers), and want bargain priced Lobster, in Mayfair, with an extensive cocktail list, can have everything they've ever dreamed of. Which is why I presume, that if you show up at 7.30 on a Saturday evening, with six people, the charming man at the door, will tell you that they close in three hours, and your wait is three hours. 

Strategizing in the pub around the corner, you realise that indeed, the free market has failed you -that demand and supply is just not working - that your chances of getting in anywhere that doesn't need reservations are nil as you are an hour and thirty minutes too late, and that anywhere with reservation will most likely just laugh at you if you ask. You begin to question, whether or not the free market is indeed efficient, whether perhaps there should be regulation, whether we need a Glass-Steagall, whether you should have voted for Cameron, or whether donating to Romney was such a good idea. Dammit, this is a philosophical mental crisis brought on by a lobster. 

And then of course you realise, that you have no option other than the Italian next door to the pub with an average rating of two stars out of five. So you wait… 

…which we did. 

Two hours later and we got our place at a hallowed booth, so it could have been a lot worse. The decor is what you'd expect. There are bare light bulbs dangling from the ceiling, and large expanses of exposed brick. There's the long bar behind which a couple of men serve up expertly crafted cocktails. The menu is of course, simple -lobster, lobster roll or burger. We ended up with four lobsters, three burgers, and one lobster roll. I don't know what to say outside of everything was good. 

Lobsters, our group decided grilled were better than steamed, came with a lemon, garlic butter, sauce, and were of course perfectly cooked. Lobster roll, came in a brioche I personally found a little too sweet, which took away from the delicate flavour of the lobster. Fries, were as closest as I've come to McDonald’s, outside of a McDonald’s, and were therefore close to perfect. Burger, was devoured by three of our group, with little complaint. All in all, we finished eight plates of food so large we couldn't fit them on the table.  So it wasn't exactly bad. Service was charming; the staff really seemed to enjoy working there, something I haven't seen in a while. 

But was it worth it? The hour and a half worth of waiting, the strategizing, the inability to feel my toes because of inappropriate foot wear choices, the £300 bill, which did include copious amounts of alcohol, the good but not exciting food. Was it worth it? Perhaps. It was a great night, but is it worth the effort now I've been there done that, I'm not too sure. I'll probably wait until the buzz dies down, or they've expanded, and the queue gets smaller. I like places like B&L, the ones who restaurant by restaurant try to restore the equilibrium. 

In the short run, however, the restaurant markets have failed, I think it's time the government stepped in and started providing for us. After all, what could improve the mood of the nation more than £20 lobsters for all? 

Burger & Lobster on Urbanspoon

Reader Comments (2)

£300 bill! I would have fainted

May 19, 2012 | Unregistered Commentersamphire and salsify

The immense amount of alcohol softened the blow!

May 19, 2012 | Registered CommenterLivs To Eat

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