It is rare to see a restaurant serve only two options of food, and its name Burger&Lobster is true to reflecting this new restaurant, which opened a month ago in a heritage building on Bree Street.
My friend Giulio Loreggian and his two friends Giuliana Schoeman, Annie Kolasis, and I decided to try out B&L Cape Town, as its strong branding reflects, last week. Owner Paolo Carrara was in the house, and it is rare to see such a passionate owner. He was able to share information about the restaurant, and its international Burger&Lobster relationship with branches in London and New York. Paolo told us that they are not affiliated to the international operation, but they received permission to develop a home-grown South African version, and they received the national rights for the brand to operate in our country. The menu has three items only, which will develop over time. Paolo said that they are keeping things simple initially, but they have many options with their focus on lobster and burgers, being able to add other ingredients to the two main menu elements.
Paolo made our mouths water when he described how they make their hamburgers: they use a toasted brioche bun, a 250 gram prime rib steak which ‘dissolves in one’s mouth’, two home-made cheeses (white mature cheddar, and an American cheddar), their own pickled gherkin, maple bacon, and American mayo. Paolo admitted to them using McCains chips temporarily, and they have been criticized for this. He explained that there is a shortage of potatoes, due to the drought, and the supply has been inconsistent. They will make their own chips once they have a consistent reliable supply. They serve a regular leaf salad, with white balsamic vinegar, and an onion mustard dressing, topped with brioche croutons, red onions, a Balsamic reduction, and Parmigiano cheese shavings. The Burger, chips, and salad costs R129.
They plan to fly in lobsters from the USA, but currently use West Coast rock lobster. They use a home-made sushi type of mayo over the lobster. The lobster is steamed, and then grilled. The lobster roll, chips, and salad costs R147.
At night it is hard to see the decor elements, the main ones being the raw brick wall on both sides of the restaurant, in the shape of a lobster on one side. I returned the following day to get better photographs. The bar is lit up in red, and is located close to the entrance. We sat right at the end of the restaurant, next to the kitchen, in which Chef Reimond Van Der Walt is in charge. It gave us better light for photography, and we noticed an interesting method of calling the waiters to collect dishes, the pass lights being lit up more strongly, and no bell is used. We noted the use of gloves by all the kitchen staff.
The music volume was turned up during the evening, giving the restaurant a fabulous vibe, but where we sat we could hear each other well. Paolo explained that they will be bringing in DJs, as well as a cocktail mixologist, who will pair cocktails with their dishes. The restaurant does not yet have a liquor license, but patrons are told this when booking, so Giulio brought a bottle of bubbly along, which was served in vintage champagne glasses! Paolo kindly sent a tray of lime tequilas to our table, joining us in toasting the new restaurant, and to 100 years of good luck, an Italian toast. More branches are planned for our country.
The restaurant is rectangular shaped, with dark brown leather banquettes running along the walls on both sides. Wooden tables have salt and pepper holders in rose gold. Cutlery is Fuchs Munich branded. The serviettes are strongly branded. Waiters wear jeans, white shorts, and branded butcher-stripe aprons. Our waiter Ian Woodiwiss looked after our table well, and brought me copious amounts of water.
Three of us ordered a half lobster half burger combination, served with the salad and chips, and one ordered a full hamburger. The lobster portion is small, but it is a premium costly product to offer. When shared between two, one pays for a Burger and a lobster roll.
We were spoilt with a sample of four desserts sent to our table to share and try, for which we were not charged: white chocolate and vanilla creme brûlée; a Lindt chocolate brownie with ice cream; a Mississippi mud pie with coffee ganache biscuit and chocolate mousse with mini marshmallows; and a Nutella baked cheese cake with a crushed Oreo base, the dessert we loved the most.
We had a fun evening out, Burger & Lobster being a new and interesting addition to the Cape Town restaurant portfolio. I must commend the Social Media responsiveness for the brand, even reacting to Instagram posts during the night!
Burger&Lobster Cape Town, 105 Bree Street, Cape Town. Tel (021) 422-4297 www.burgerandlobster.co.za Twitter: @BurgerlobsterSA Instagram: @BurgerLobsterSA
Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: www.whalecottage.com/blog Tel +27 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@WhaleCottage Facebook: click here Instagram: @Chris_Ulmenstein