I discovered Burger and Lobster were doing a soft launch before their grand opening in Manchester. My friend and I have heard much about Burger and Lobster through their London branches, although neither of us had been to try their food before. Thus we went one evening to try out how good their food was.*
The Manchester branch is now closed, but there are still branches in London.
Elsa: The inside is a mixture of industrial and retro American diner with the brick interior, metal detailing and red diner chairs. The atmosphere felt like it was more catered to an evening out rather than a lunch venue, with it’s dim lights. We arrived early and were escorted to the bar area to wait. We were given a buzzer which would go off when we were able to be seated.
Ryo: The interior was basically like what a posh American diner would look like (at least in my head). I agree with Elsa about catering the dinner crowds – it was quite dim and had the bar atmosphere throughout. One thing I should point out – the entrance is on the junction between Kings street and Brown street and it is easy to miss despite the size of the restaurant!
Elsa: At Burger & Lobster there is no food menu as you have 4 mains choices really: For £20 each, you can have a burger, a lobster or a lobster roll. For £60, you can have the combo which consists of two burgers, a lobster and two desserts. Whilst we were waiting to be seated, Ryo ordered a Bergamot Bitters. This tasted more like a diluted orange juice with soda, very disappointing. Once seated, we decided to go for the combo but asked the waitress if it was possible to have one burger and one lobster roll instead of two burgers. She happily accepted our request with no fuss.
Ryo: Yes, I think a part of the fame that Burger and Lobster had been in their no-frills menu – £20 for any mains. I can understand a whole lobster for £20 is a good value, but the burger or the lobster roll should have to be seriously good if they are going to claim the price tag.
As for the Bergamot bitters – I could taste neither bergamot nor any bitterness in the drink. A diluted orange soda would be more accurate description.
Elsa: I am amused by the complimentary bib given to all customers and put this on whilst eating, but to be honest I felt it wasn’t really needed. I realise that this is probably part of the Burger & Lobster brand and some people can be quite messy eating lobster but I felt these, however amusing, were a waste of money and damaging to the environment. Perhaps these should only be given when requested. The food came out at a reasonable time and everything was a perfect temperature.
Ryo: Giving out the bib only when requested – that’s a good idea! It was very cute and I loved the illustration and all, but it seriously was a waste and environmentally unfriendly option. I also thought this is an elaborate marketing plan. I can just about imagine people wearing the bib and taking selfies and posting them on social media…
Elsa: The chips were nice and crispy but ever so slightly over salted, that didn’t stop me eating a fair bit of it, however. The salad I found a refreshing addition, although I wish they didn’t put so much dressing as I wanted to actually taste the leaves. There was so much stodge going on that the refreshing taste of no greasy undressed leaves would have been nice to counterbalance it.
Ryo: Not bad chips. And a big bonus from me as they were French fries. The balsamic dressing on the salad was nice but was quite overpowering. I would have preferred a more refreshing blend of French vinaigrette dressing, just a bit of lemon… or no dressing at all.
Elsa: We had doubts about this burger as you were paying exactly the same price for one as you would a lobster. It would need to be a spectacular burger and we were pleasantly surprised. The burger was cooked medium to perfection and the salad used was fresh tasting. The burger sauce wasn’t overpowering and the bacon crispy and the cheese, gooey. It was a good burger and definitely more filling than the lobster option.
Ryo: Okay, this is it, the £20 burger. Despite the scepticism, this burger ticked all the right boxes – nice burger buns, thick and juicy patty, fresh salad, gherkins, crispy bacon, gooey cheese. I was pleasantly surprised by how thick and fresh the tomato slices were – a key but often overlooked ingredient in a burger. It’s often substituted with ketchup even in a nice, expensive burger but honestly a simple ingredient like this makes the burger taste completely different. The burger also worked quite well with the lobster. I had my doubts on this combo but I was wrong. The burger is more filling, a “meal” type of option and is a welcome addition to a buttery lobster. BUT, is it worth £20? Simple answer? No.
Grilled lobster served with butter sauce
Elsa: The lobster is steamed and then finished on the grill which meant the meat was still moist. It was a very well cooked lobster, but the highlight of this dish was definitely the lemon and herb butter sauce! It was moreish and I finished every last bit by dunking my chips into it. You can alternatively have just a plain butter sauce.
Ryo: It was indeed a very well cooked and meaty lobster but that garlic herb butter sauce was simply amazing! Just the right amount of garlic made the whole sauce very moreish and I could dunk anythink in that sauce. I would happily dunk myself in it – it was that good.
Elsa: This was also surprisingly nicer than I thought it’d be as I had assumed the brioche to be sickly sweet and dense. It was neither of these things and I ended up enjoying the brioche more than the actual lobster filling. This was the last of the mains that I ate and I didn’t manage to finish it.
Ryo: This was my least favourite dish. All the ingredients tasted good on its own – brioche was thick and crispy but not overly sweet, there was a generous amount of lobster meat and the chives were a nice addition. However, the whole thing was too sweet, too creamy and bland.
Elsa: There are three choices of dessert, an Eton mess, a strawberry cheesecake and baileys and Kahlúa ice cream. By this point, we were was very stuffed so opted to try what seemed like the two lighter options. The desserts were simple and reminded me of things you’d get in a school cafeteria. The Eton mess had a lot of cream with a few meringues (not enough in my opinion) and a strawberry sauce with some strawberries. This was the better of the two desserts. The strawberry cheesecake was like an upside down one, as informed by our waitress, and had a fresh strawberry layer followed by a biscuity part which I found tasty enough but could have had more crunch to it, and then the cheese layer which was the most disappointing and main part of this dessert; it had no substance and not much flavour either, it was just a semi-homogeneous, bland filling.
Ryo: While I was having the cheese cake I realised the reason why it was upside down was because the cheese had no substance to hold the cake together. It was more like cream+cream cheese mixture with strawberry compote on top. This felt like a hurried dessert, something I might make when I want something sweet… quick. Just open the fridge, get some mascarpone, brake some digestives, put some strawberry jam on top and voilà!
The Eton mess was better, though still too creamy. I agree with Elsa that it needed more meringues, more strawberries/raspberries and less cream. And yes, why serve these kind of desserts at the end of the meal? It’s better not to serve them at all.
Overall rating and comments
Elsa: 7/10 -1 for the pricing, I felt £20 is a lot for anything other than the lobster. -1 for overdressed salad and slightly salty fries. -1 for desserts, my opinion is that if you’re not going to do a nice dessert, don’t bother doing it at all. The service had been good throughout the meal and we did stay there perhaps a little too long chatting, despite that they did not say anything to usher us out and it was a busy evening for them.
Ryo: 6/10 -2 for the pricing, -1 for dessert, – 1 for no refreshing sides and disappointing Bergamot Bitter drink. £20 for a whole lobster and sides – yes, reasonable enough but a burger or a lobster brioche for £20? And I thought the lobster needed a bit of meaty, filling counterpart like a burger so ordering just a lobster for me is not a good option either. The combo is more appealing even if it’s £60 (a lobster, two burgers, two brioche buns and two sides) but this seems like a lot of food for two people. And sharing between three people makes it a bit awkward like how to make a 1/3 burger?
Would visit again?
Elsa: Not really as I don’t think I’d have too many occasions to visit. I think I would if someone really wanted to try the place or just to try lobster in an unfussy environment (no posh people around!). This establishment is very much catered towards the evening crowd and as the menu is simple, the food comes out quite quickly. It would do very well for small get-togethers like birthdays or office parties, or for a classy date night on a budget.
Ryo: I thought I would never comeback to this place again as I’m neither a lobster person nor a burger person and it’s weirdly expensive (cheap-ish lobster and expensive burger but better to have both). But strangely enough, I started to have a craving for it! I’m not sure whether I would actually do come back – but if I do, I will definitely go for the £60 option, as I think the burger and lobster combo really worked quite well.
Address: 98 King St, Manchester M2 4WU
Have you tried Burger and Lobster before? What would you order?
* All food was free on the evening, with payment for drinks only on the night. Our readers should take into account that this was the first time the restaurant is open to the public and thus there might be some teething problems. Our opinions were not affected by the fact the food was free.