Burger and Lobster, London: A gnawing guilt after coming face to face with my meal-to-be

The consequences of our collective disregard for what we put in our mouths is disastrous

The lobster came steamed, halved and accompanied by a side of garlic butter. I was eating with two colleagues at Burger and Lobster – a restaurant that does exactly what it says – one of the new breed of posh fast-food joints that have been making use of the glut of lobster off the North American coast. And that oversupply has meant that I can afford to eat it on a Tuesday night without applying for a bank loan.

Not long after we sat down, it became clear that dinner wasn't going to be the unremittingly jolly affair we had imagined when we were drinking white wine an hour earlier – dinner came with baggage.

The waitress set the tone when she asked how we wanted our food. "You can have your lobster steamed or grilled," she said. "Obviously if you have it grilled we still steam it to kill it first."

My friend Will's face fell a little, his lip curled down, like a wilted rocket leaf.

And then we noticed them – the grim little tanks on the right-hand wall. They were full of lobsters, their claws bound. The lettuce wilted some more. You didn't need to be a member of Peta to feel a little bit sad for them.

We had come face to face with our dinner – and we didn't like what we saw. It isn't that they looked ill-treated, I'm sure Burger and Lobster is scrupulous about such things, it is simply that the consequence of our boozy hunger was there before us, separated by only a few millimetres of glass.

In Britain, as in America, most of us are disconnected from the food we eat. Farm and field, let alone abattoir and butchers, are far-off things, places that don't trouble the consciousness of the majority of us. One only has to look at the survey of 27,500 children aged five to 16 by the British Nutritional Foundation back in July for evidence. It found that a quarter of children thought fish fingers came from chicken or pigs. And a further 10 per cent of them thought tomatoes grew underground.

The consequences of this collective disregard for what we put in our mouths is disastrous. Our apathy breeds cruelty. Battery-farmed hens, pigs entombed in barns, intensive fishing – this is the result. And only education and a re-orientation of our whole eating culture will change that.

Having seen my own dinner close up, in a way I have not for many years, didn't make me want to throw away my leather shoes and become a level-2 Vegan – it simply made me appreciate what I was about to eat, more, perhaps, than I usually would after half a bottle of wine and a gin and tonic. The sense of reconnection didn't just mean some airy-fairy moral balm – it also meant my grilled lobster tasted twice as good and for that I am truly thankful.

The convenience of instant luxury crystals

I love the idea of the new Moët & Chandon vending machine in Selfridges. The contraption, housed on the fourth floor of the Oxford Street store in London, contains 350 mini art-deco-inspired bottles which have been adorned with Swarovski crystals and are yours for that taking if you have a spare £17.99.

All they need now is an ATM dispensing sheets of prosciutto and caviar on tap and they've got themselves a posh dinner party.

Life and Style
A teenager boy wakes up.
life
Life and Style
It is believed that historically rising rates of alcohol consumption have contributed to the increase
food + drink
Voices
The erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey has already been blamed for a rise in the number of callouts to the fire brigade for people trapped in handcuffs
voicesJustine Elyot: Since Fifty Shades there's no need to be secretive about it — everyone's at it
Arts and Entertainment
Critics say Kipling showed loathing for India's primitive villagers in The Jungle Book
filmChristopher Walken, Bill Murray, Scarlett Johanssen Idris Elba, Andy Serkis, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchett and Christian Bale
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Life and Style
Playing to win: for Tanith Carey, pictured with Lily, right, and Clio, even simple games had to have an educational purpose
lifeTanith Carey explains what made her take her foot off the gas
Arts and Entertainment
The White Sails Hospital and Spa is to be built in the new Tunisia Economic City.
architectureRussian billionaire designs boat-shaped hospital for new Dubai-style Tunisia Economic City
Arts and Entertainment
You could be in the Glastonbury crowd next summer if you follow our tips for bagging tickets this week
music
Sport
Husain Abdullah returns an interception off Tom Brady for a touchdown
nflLeague has rules against 'sliding to ground on knees'
Life and Style
tech
Extras
indybest
Life and Style
food + drink
News
i100
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Kylie performs during her Kiss Me Once tour
musicReview: 26 years on from her first single, the pop princess tries just a bit too hard at London's O2
Arts and Entertainment
film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Management Accountant

    28,000 to 32,000 per annum: Accountancy Action: Our client, a hospitality busi...

    Food and Beverage Cost Controller

    18,000 to 20,000 per annum: Accountancy Action: Our fantastic leisure client i...

    Marketing Analyst / Marketing Executive

    £20 - 24k: Guru Careers: A Marketing Analyst / Marketing Executive is needed t...

    IT Administrator - Graduate

    £18000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: ***EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY FO...

    Day In a Page

    Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

    Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

    and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
    Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

    Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

    The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
    Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

    Last chance to see...

    The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
    So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

    Truth behind teens' grumpiness

    Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
    Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

    Hacked photos: the third wave

    Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
    Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

    Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

    Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
    Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

    Education, education, education

    TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
    It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

    It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

    So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
    This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

    Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

    Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
    We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

    Inside the E15 'occupation'

    We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
    Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

    Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

    Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
    Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

    Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

    The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
    Witches: A history of misogyny

    Witches: A history of misogyny

    The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
    Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

    Meet the most powerful woman in US television

    Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
    'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

    Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

    Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style