There’s a lobster renaissance happening in London right now. Stuffy restaurants with starched tablecloths have been taken over by a new wave of BBQ basements and lobster shacks where you and your crustacean-loving friends can feast on lobster rolls, surf ‘n’ turf, and bisque that doesn’t cost the earth. So grab your pals (and a beer) and see which of these venues tickles your fancy.
Boston may be the crustacean capital of the world, but this little lobster shack off Tottenham Court Road saves you the trans-Atlantic trip, bringing a taste of New England to the heart of the West End.
Enter through its inconspicuous door, and you’re transported to a seaside-inspired world of paneled walls, buoys shipped over from Maine, and lobster traps hanging overhead. There’s no menu, so claim a spot at a rustic sharing bench and hop over to the kitchen counter when you want to place your order.
The Lobster Kitchen bisque steals the show – a cardboard pot of steamy, sweet, and creamy soup, it’s the perfect antidote for a cold day. Next, roll up your sleeves and sink your teeth into “the garlicky one,” a packed lobster roll oozing with warm garlic butter. As your pals tuck into “the Asian one” – brioche buns filled with curls of lobster meat and tangy chili sauce – a silence will fall over the table as everybody’s attention is fully taken up with enjoying each bite. Add a squeeze of lemon, or heighten the spice with the giant bottles of chili sauce. Forget fancy etiquette: It’s all paper napkins and sticky fingers here.
Big Easy Bar.B.Q & Lobstershack
As a BBQ steakhouse, lobster shack, and blues venue, this is a lively spot. Make a bee-line for the neon-lit haunt in Covent Garden to gather in a diner-style booth. Over the pulse of bluesy beats, you order a round of delightfully bitter, burny Sazerac slushies, plus the popular “lobster fest” option – a half-pound lobster with house salad and fries.
It comes as no surprise that these guys have come straight from the tank. Topped with Hollandaise (or garlic butter if you fancy a kick), they’re melt-in-the-mouth fresh. You might feel silly, but make sure to accept the plastic bibs from the waitress. They’ll not only save you dripping lobster juices down your clothes, it’ll also provide plenty of entertainment as you giggle with your friends.
Burger & Lobster
The concept at trendy, fuss-free Burger & Lobster is pretty straightforward – £20 for a lobby or burger, so you can revel in the fact it’s among the cheapest lobster you’ll find. OK, so it’s not quite a shack, but the clusters of red leather booths and bare light bulbs give this an almost pop-up feel. Plus ordering is easy: Just tell the waiter ‘burger’ or ‘lobster’, then select whether you want your fishy friend grilled or in a roll.
Then, the main event, as you dive into the marvelously juicy meat served on a mass of greaseproof paper. The lobster is halved in its shell, and you’re armed with your requisite plastic bib, so you expect minimal mess. Then again, with a gravy boat full of zesty butter for dipping… well, hopefully you’re not wearing anything too nice.