How well do you know your lobster? Most people think eating lobster is like riding in a limousine – fancy, expensive, and elitist. Not known for having huge generous chunks of meat lurking beneath their shells, eating a lobster can often be an exercise in patience, clumsily trying to extract the small pieces of flesh, quite often leaving the diner unsatisfied and disillusioned with the results.
Here is the reason why: There are cold water lobsters and warm-water lobsters. The latter are known as rock or spiny lobsters, and these species have no claws, meaning no claw meat and only a small amount in the tail. This is the kind you are quite often served at a restaurant for an eye-popping price and little satisfaction in return.
Cold-water lobsters from the western European coast and the US Gulf of Maine, have five sets of legs, thick meaty tails and huge meat filled claws. Only these species have real commercial value, providing large quality amounts of meat.
As of 2014 a tidal wave of lobster has hit London with American-style lobster shacks popping up all over town, introducing the crustacean and hospitality famed from the original New England stop-offs. One restaurant focusing in on this craze is Lobster Kitchen on Great Russell Street, Fitzrovia.
With a direct supply from Maine, the meaty lobster flesh is served in soups and salads, sandwiched in brioche buns or served whole in the shell slathered with cheese, seasonings and an array of delicious sauces. A small shed like dining area with lobster traps hanging from the ceiling, seaside tiling, reclaimed wooden benches and lots of other kitsch ornamental pieces, all contribute to evoking the feeling of being inside an Authentic American seaside shack.
Arriving very hungry and very exited we ordered a round of Sierra Nevada American craft beer, it arrived crisp and cold. First off the menu was sweet potato fries doused heavily in Old Bay Seasoning, followed up by lobster tail grilled in white wine and celery stock. Yum. A side of deep fried pickles dipped into sriracha hot sauce was a revelation and didn’t last long on the table. The ‘the Garlicky One’ lobster king roll came filled with soft chunks of lobster, squashed into a frankfurter brioche bun and topped with delicious crispy dried garlic strips.
Last of all was a delectable mac and cheese with very generous amounts of lobster strewn all the way though cheesy gooey pasta, with once more Old Bay Seasoning wilding shaken over (by our willing hands). My dining partner could imagine gleefully devouring this on the way home after a night of drinks.
There is also a selection of cocktails such as the rum based Mule, made with ginger beer and lime, which comes served in large handled jugs with a straw, as well as wine and flavoured iced teas. Lobster Kitchen is a great little addition to the West End and another way to temporarily escape the humdrum of gritty grey London, imagining for just a short time you are languidly sipping cold drinks with your shoes off and feet dipped into the breezy waters of the New England coast.
111 Great Russell Street, Fitzrovia, London WC1B 3NQ
Written by Justina Terese, Food Writer and Recipe Developer www.foodforaking.com