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Tuesday, 21 August 2012

My £4 Funnest Lunch Date Ever

So...
I've been biding my time for this – a truly inspirational 99th post.
Because then, the 100th can be suitably anticlimactic.
Cause life's really all a bit anticlimactic, isn't it?

Anyway, more on that profound little sound byte next time.

Oh and by the way – yes, I'll happily take some Congratulations love notes too, if you are kind enough to send them my way...Congratulations love notes always make my day.

And well, yes, speaking of love notes, I've just had myself the funnest lunch date ever!

Not involving my husband! 
But involving some other uber-cool guys. Yes, yes, in plural. (When I get adventurous, I really get adventurous)
And involving lobster.
And all for £4!

And well, when you put it all together, isn't it just totally dandy?

So, the lunch date is with Sid’s school friend and my foodie partner in crime – the living legend better known as The Closet Gourmand.

I also take along my almost-2-yr-old cutie-cute. Who is really the most willing accomplice to all my escapades I could have ever found. I mean, really! He’s always happy to go anywhere I take him and the more time I spend with him, the more it dawns on me, that of all the things Sid and I have done together, this almost-2-yr-old trooper is by far and away the best.

Anyway, so it’s TCG, Ranbir and myself, all out on a lunch date. Which is rather amusing really because to the untrained eye, we appear quite the model family – mama, papa, child – save of course for the fact that my son looks nothing like TCG. Which is just as well, because there’s no reason he should. As far as I can remember, that is.

:0

Anyhow, we go to TCG’s pick (largely because TCG’s picks have never ever disappointed to date) –  a place that boasts an impressively concise 3-item menu: Burger or Lobster or Lobster roll. And is aptly (and very creatively, I might add) named, Burger and Lobster.

Ha!

And this is precisely why I love this place. Love it enough to make it my 99th post.
Cause I simply hate menus.
Menus are the bane of my existence.
The notorious albatross around my neck.
A pain. A chore. A nuisance.
Menus mean I must decide the one thing that I can eat from the countless things that I could eat.
Just take a second and think about this please: do you realize how difficult this is for a person like me?
I’ll tell you – it’s a virtual impossibility.

Decisions, decisions. I hate decisions.
And what makes it worse is that there’s no winning of course. Because no matter what it is that I order, when I eventually get around to ordering, my neighbour’s food always looks better. I mean, always. This is not a possibility; this is a given. It’s my version of Sod’s Law. And it’s perpetual.

Now, if it’s Sid I’m with, this problem is usually easily solved. I simply pretend to kiss him and when his eyes droop in that dreamy half-closed fashion, I swap our plates (Sid’s Law?) But when it’s not one’s own husband in question, this strategy becomes a bit tricky. Even for a person like me who’ll go to pretty much any extreme for a good meal, I think kissing other people’s husbands is where I should draw the line.

No?

And so, in a place where there’s only three things on offer and you can theoretically order them all, without coming off as totally deranged (or very rich), it makes the whole proposition most satisfactory.

So, without further ado, here’s the entire spectrum of what you can have at Burger & Lobster:

A. The Burger – a whole ten ounces of pure, freshly ground beef, served with cheddar and/or bacon, stuffed rather ingeniously inside a sesame bun, and served with chips and salad.

B. Lobster Roll – Generous chunks of lobster meat coated with Japanese-style mayonnaise, within a soft and sinfully buttery brioche, served with chips and salad.

C. Whole Lobster – big, fat 1.5lb Canadians at that – either steamed, or steamed then finished off on the robata-style charcoal grill, served with – yup, you got it – chips and salad.

All three come rather ritualistically on large silver platters covered with waxed paper.

It’s a super savvy concept. No storage, no inventory, no waste. 3 items, no menu, a stylish twist on surf-and-turf,  and that’s Burger & Lobster for you. Never been let down by a TCG pick, I tell you.

So, what do I order, you ask.
Well…

I am tempted to get the Lobster Roll. You see, I’m in a rather bizarre phase these days, where you just have to say the word “Japanese” and you’ve got me at hello. But, I decide to be a purist and get the whole creature, steamed and grilled.

Decision done, I have a chance to look around my very hip surroundings.  There’s an attractive looking bar, leaning elegantly against a red brick wall, all glass and mirror, chocolate leather barstools where one could choose to sit and eat if one wanted to. Or else there’s cosy red leather banquettes along the back walls, where we sit – Ranbir in the corner, me next to him and TCG opposite us. The ceiling is rustic unfinished wood, broken in areas by strategically placed skylights which give the space the casual, non-stuffy air that always comes with natural light.

The punters are varied – lots of prams, I’m surprised to see interspersed with a mix of urban, chic looking couples and a fair number of suited and booted hedgies taking, presumably, their lunch break. Ironically, that doesn’t put me off as I would have thought it would – in fact there’s something rather amusing about seeing hedgies in pin stripes with a plastic bib around their neck, digging their manicured nails into lobster claws….

There’s a chalkboard near the doorway, explaining the menu: 'Burger or lobster or lobster roll, all with chips & salad £20'. If you miss it, the wait staff - pleasant, smiley and refreshingly enthusiastic - seem more than happy to explain it all to you.

There's an extensive drinks menu, which more than makes up for the food menu (or lack thereof). But given the fact that I am here with a very excited almost-2-year-old and a lovely man who is not my husband, add a cocktail to the mix, and methinks it would have all been a bit too much to handle.

But if you go, have a drink – do. The contents of the tall, ice-laden glasses on my neighbours' tables look very yummy indeed.  And so do, I must admit, their burgers. So much so that they make me think – in a moment of unbridled gluttony – that maybe, just perchance, I should have ordered both (all three??)

I force myself to stop staring at other people’s food (something I find myself grappling with at alarming frequency of late) and make easy conversation with my lunch date. We talk about this and that, but mostly food. Which is really just how it should be. I’m thinking – here’s a man who’d make a woman very happy indeed. Because he’s smart and he’s funny and he’s loyal and a bit eccentric. And as you know from here, he can cook. I mean, you gotto give it to my husband, he sure knows how to pick friends.

Anyway, anyway, here’s my lobster. And I mean – wow?
On tasting the first bite, I do a little dance on my red lather banquette, provoking an amused giggle from my son and a rather concerned – “are you alright?” from my date…
Alright?
No!! I’m not alright. I’m about-exploding-from-sensory-overload-not-alright!

See, here’s the thing: I’ve become a bit spoilt since starting this amateur foodie career of mine. I can’t help it, but everything gets boring very soon. And I find myself looking for flavour hits all the time – the harder, the better.  I hate to admit it, but I’m becoming a bit hard to please.

And this freaking bowls me over.

Seriously.

There’s nothing more to be said.

In front of me lies one of the best sights in the entire world, a whole crustacean, steamed and grilled, in it's carmine shell, served alongside a boat of garlic butter, some excellent chips (that please my almost-2-year-old very much indeed) and a lovely side salad, that serves as much needed redemption for emptying the butter boat.

Simply beautiful.

So much so that I can’t speak.

Except to clarify one little detail. Which is if you're wondering why my title alludes to a £4 meal when I’ve just told you that everything (all of 3) on this menu is £20. And the answer to that my friends, is that yes, each dish is £20, but it isn't for me because TCG, being the perfect gentleman that he is, doesn’t let me pay. But even at £20, this is exceptional value for money in a city where most seafood restaurants would charge you upwards of £35-£40 for any creature that even remotely resembles a lobster.

(Oh and in case you’re still wondering about how, where and why I conjured up the mysterious sum of £4 - that’s my return-journey transport fare on the London tube, which, unlike Burger & Lobster, is rather unexceptional value for money. Or, plainly speaking, it's bordering on extortionist. But that’s a different matter for a different time. A time which simply must involve cocktails.)

Which is exactly what we’re going to have while celebrating my next and 100th post.

Meanwhile, this was just about the most fun I’ve had on a Tuesday afternoon in a long, long time.

Just thought I should let you know =)

6 comments:

  1. You're a funny lil' girl Ms. Ami!!
    I'm glad Ranbir doesn't look like TCG either...he he..

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    1. Tani, remember, when in doubt....it's always the MILKMAN!! Thanks for reading :)

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  2. My left arm to write as lovely as you!

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    1. Aww, thanks Ash, I'm blushing now!! What kind words from someone who writes as lovely as YOU!

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  3. Absolutely fantastic. Really well written Amrita. Looking forward to your 100th post :)

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    1. Cheers for that, The Seahorses, thanks for stopping by! :)

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