Is lobster still fancy? We casually stuff it into humble bread rolls on any given day of the week and eat it alongside burgers and chips like it wasn’t once the epitome of fine dining. Is it still a rich dish? Or have we taken leave of our senses, indulging in pricey shellfish and calling Ubers for 5 minute drives because the banks are offering credit again? Whatever it is, lobster is securely now on the commoner’s menu, brioche rolls and all.
London Fields’ Lobster Bar‘s deceptively casual name and hipster address don’t do it justice. With white table cloths, dinner date lighting and not a communal wood bench in sight this is more like what lobsters are used to. Large industrial windows pay homage to the East London look while marble, dark wood and the bright, open space are luxuriant and relaxing. There’s banquettes along the wall, a simple bar of pipes and shelving and a few leafy plants. The overall feel is breezy and a little botanical. Clean and cultured.
There’s a lot of very fine fish served at Lobster Bar. Our recommendations for the small plates are the Octopus, fennel & caper salad and the Spicy crab croquette & romesco sauce. Octopus and fennel go surprisingly well together and you’ll want the lightness of a fresh dish if you’re going to dive into a buttery half lobster later.
The octopus chunks are generously served but a little big for single mouthfuls which leaves you with two choices, none of which are ideal. 1). You cut each chunk into more manageable pieces before eating – a process that can get a little tedious when dealing with a rubbery fish. 2). You throw caution (and conversation) to the wind and hope your company can keep the convo hot while you chew. What you choose depends on your levels of hunger, or selfishness… Good salad though.
It would be absolutely insane not to have lobster here, at least on your first visit. We opted for the Half grilled native lobster and chips. Herby, buttery and lemon-y. Not technical terms but all true. If allergies or an aversion for ordering difficult to eat food stops you from going for lobster, the Sea Bream acqua pazza with fresh basil, tomatoes & capers is fantastic. Acqua pazza is translated literally into ‘crazy water’ and refers to the broth the fish is poached in, which usually features herbs, fish stock and tomatoes. Not so crazy, but very nice.
Where dinner did not go so well was the dessert. The dim restaurant lighting did not take into account the Home made Tiramisu. Liberally garnished with (brown) coffee beans, well hidden on the (brown) coffee-sprinkled top of the tiramisu, it was an impossible obstacle course. Many a bean were bitten into and had to be spat out. Not so pretty. Fortunately the gift of a free cocktail softened that blow and slightly eroded that memory. Oh, and the cocktails are really very good.
Unit 2, 205 Richmond Road
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