A fluffy soufflé pancake (or two) at Torii at Tjing Tjing House
Burger & Lobster Cape Town
Gourmet burgers and lavish lobsters are at the heart of this trendy new Bree Street restaurant and cocktail bar
Tucked away neatly on the Mother City’s trendiest strip, a fresh-out-the-box addition to the metropolitan culinary scene has officially arrived offering patrons an all-new epicurean experience. Sitting flush against Bree Street’s cobbled sidewalk, its large arched black doorway – which formally opened in July 2016 – stands tall, presenting passer-by’s with very little indication as to what takes place behind its unassuming entrance. The only clues? An elegant red carpet leading into the building and the doorway's contrasting title ‘Burger & Lobster’, which in actual fact simply says it all.
Reverting to an unusual approach of a restaurant culture where diners are offered only few items on the menu done right, Burger & Lobster (B&L) Cape Town presents customers with an impeccable threefold menu in the form of its B&L Burger, B&L Lobster Roll and fresh – from tank to table – Whole Lobster done two-ways.
“We originally saw the concept overseas”, explains Anthony Protoulis, who is one of three B+L partners along with Niko Tiftikidis and Paolo Carrara. “We loved the limited menu option and realised that there was a gap in the market for something like this back home. There are also not many places that do crayfish in the range that we do.”
No strangers to the Cape Town culinary scene, (between the trio other popular dining institutions include the City Grill, Meloncino, Greek Fisherman, La Playa and Love Revenge Cappuccino), the restaurateurs decided to solely concentrate their efforts on three main dishes ensuing excellence each and every time. “We said let’s do a limited menu, but we’ve got to make sure that everything is perfect”, clarifies Anthony.
And how does one do that? By making sure that every ingredient (that possibly can be) is created, baked and cooked in-house, of course. With a key focus on serving ‘real’ homemade ingredients, B&L takes pride in purchasing nothing ready-made. “Absolutely nothing is brought in”, enthuses Anthony. “No rolls – we freshly bake all our bread, no mince – we mince our own cuts of high quality steak on the premises. From the mayonnaise to even the pickles on the burger, we make here. We’ve truly thought about everything and are doing the best we can with each item.”
Through the interior, which is influenced by the original design-style seen abroad, the partners strived to create an inclusive space where the Big Apple meets homespun. “When we found this building and we saw that it had all the components – the high ceilings, the old yellow wood roof beams and the original brick – we just loved it and knew we had to give it a go”, explains Anthony. “It’s a New York-feel with a rustic element to it.”
What’s more, little remembrances of the eatery’s star ingredient can be seen throughout the space. From the large lobster etched into the plaster on the wall highlighting the structure’s original red brick to the tasteful blue tank standing at the entrance showcasing the crustaceans – there are even lobsters printed on the glass water bottles – it’s a fittingly quirky yet stylish approach to showcasing its key player.
Joining the lobster and burger joint for dinner, my partner and I find ourselves seated towards the back of the restaurant (here the floor is raised a step creating a sort of stage-like area). To begin our evening’s proceedings, our attentive waitron, David expertly pops open a bottle of Boschendal Méthode Cap Classique (MCC) Chardonnay Pinot Noir pouring us each a glass while explaining the eatery’s menu in full.
As briefly mentioned, B&L offers three main meals; its B&L gourmet burger (a 250g pure steak patty stacked on a freshly baked sesame roll topped with two types of homemade cheeses, maple syrup bacon, red onion, lettuce, tomato and home-pickled gherkins, which is then drizzled with homemade mayonnaise), its B&L Lobster Roll (lobster tail (originally frozen) in a freshly baked new England-style brioche dressed with Japanese mayonnaise) and fresh Whole Lobster (straight from the tank) done two-ways – steamed or steamed and finished off on the grill. All dishes are served with a basket of American-style skinny fries and a fresh mixed green side salad.
Opting for the half-and-half option (parties of two can share a lobster roll and burger), as suggested by David, we’re excited to try two of the eatery’s three stellar dishes. And in the end, we’re definitely not disappointed. Fresh, hearty and utterly delicious, our meal is of the highest quality. Well thought-through and full of flavour, we let nothing return to the kitchen and clean our plates down to the last potato chip – even licking our lips for extra effect. Furthermore, although the core of the menu will always stay the same – gourmet burgers and lavish lobsters – patrons can look forward a selection of rotating new and exciting items adding that little extra oomph enticing people to come back time and time again.
As we sip on the last of our bubbly, wholly satisfied from dinner, we’re even further treated to two of the eatery’s five delectable desserts – a white chocolate crème brulee and an Oreo and Nutella cheesecake (other options include Lindt brownies, Mississippi mudpie and Oreo chocolate mousse). The moreish homemade cakes are a delightful treat to end off an impeccable evening. And as we leave Burger & Lobster Cape Town, we're already mentally checking our calendars for when we can return!
NOTE: For drinks diners can look forward to an extensive cocktail pairing menu (specific mixtures have been paired with the different meal options), offering pre-meal, during and post-meal concoctions. Try the Bacon and Maple Old Fashioned (highly recommended), which comprises bacon infused woodford reserve, maple syrup and bitters as well as new twists on old favourites like the Cucumber and Dill Martini. B&L also serves a wide selection of reds and whites as well as craft beers, pints and ciders.
Tip: Guests can ask for half-and-half when ordering a burger and lobster roll between two people at the same table. The two diners will then each receive half a burger and half a lobster roll as well as chips and salad. The half-and-half option is only available for parties of two seated at the same table.
Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday: 11am – 11pm
The Bill: B&L Burger: R129 | B&L Lobster Roll: R147 | Fresh whole lobster (sold per gram): 350g – 1kg: R300 – R860 – all served with chips and salad | Desserts: R45 – R50
by Krysia Gaweda
Video Credit: Josh Oates
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