Lobster Kitchen, Bloomsbury
During my research on London's best lobster rolls (read my piece for About Time. magazine here) I was invited to come in and try some of Lobster Kitchen's other wares. They have a new consultant chef in from the New York St Giles Hotel and he has shaken things up a lot - at the time of my visit he'd only been there a week and had already introduced three new permanent menu items including - whisper it... ribs. Ribs! At a Lobster Kitchen. Apparently there was much toing and froing about putting meat on the board, but the general consensus was that they were so good they had to. Having made my way across town and narrowly avoided the YMCA next door, I settled in to the New England inspired cafe with a big glass of wine and set about trying them for myself.
Here they are:
So, these are BBQ Pork Ribs (£10). A hefty portion for the price and the meat was good quality. I'm not an out and out ribs lover, but I enjoyed the smokiness and the sauce was not cloying or overly sweet as they so often can be. The ribs were soft, pliable and had that nice collagen stickiness to them, so yes they were good. The fries were exceptional. Hot, crispy, fluffy and perfectly seasoned - probably with this stuff:
Old Bay is a traditional Maryland blend of herbs and spices that you would recognise as characterising much of that East Coast cuisine. It's mostly celery salt I think, plus there's warming spices like paprika and plenty of peppery flavours. I like it a lot and it's on every table at Lobster Kitchen so go to town with it.
As a traditional crab seasoning, I'm pretty confident it features heavily in the seasoning of another of their new menu items: the lobster cake (above in the title shot and close up below). They've taken the standard Maryland crab cake and poshed it up with a crustacean upgrade to very good effect, creating small crispy panko nuggets of sweet lobster claw meat combined with celery, coriander and onion and served with a little slaw and mini guac. At £5 it would be rude not to.
Next, the lobster. Of course the lobster rolls are their most popular item (closely followed by their lobster mac'n'cheese, for which there are queues) and it's easy to see why. I was given the new Mexican roll, which had a discernible amount of chilli spiking the fat lobster meat and crowned with chef's award winning homemade guacamole. I love me some guacamole and I can report that it was a very welcome addition to the roll, even though I was *fairly* full by this point.
Online there are mumblings of discontent in terms of Lobster Kitchen's pricing - the consensus being it's on the steep side. How anyone can begrudge paying £8 or £12 for that, I don't know. Perhaps don't get the foot long - no one needs a foot of brioche - job done. (There is the option of having a lettuce or Vietnamese rice paper roll instead).
Also impressively bargainous are the Deep Fried Clams at just £6. There are all sorts of offers like 'Clams & a Cocktail £10' and drinks like the Hugo (Prosecco, soda, elderflower, mint, lime) will definitely tempt you, but I'd happily have them alone. I love clams and true to form, these were like little bites of Fritto Misto only with flavours of chilli, garlic, spring onion and lime which cut through the batter delightfully and went very well indeed with my glass of sauvignon blanc.
Thank you Lobster Kitchen for a lovely lunch treat*. I'll be in again soon for some post-shopping Clams & a Cocktail and perhaps a Croquette or two.
*This lunch was complimentary, but I only write nice things if I mean them.