Lobster seemed an appropriate thing to eat on Tuesday night. Served with lemon balm and Barwheys Cheddar, spinach and ginger ravioli, it was the third of an indulgent five courses, in Aqua restaurant on the 32nd floor of The Shard.
Dinner was hosted by Irvine Sellar the businessman behind the building, and he was understandably keen to show how many big brands and luxury companies would fill this vast new commercial space.
But while it was once the preserve of well-financed industry types who will soon inhabit this “vertical town”, lobster is reaching its claws to a wider market. I was reminded of this when I found myself the following night in Mahiki nightclub , which is hosting a new outpost of punk-style fast food joint Rock Lobsta.
In 2007, I spent probably half of my nights in Mahiki, watching famous actors, young royals and visiting pop stars lured in by the prospect of each other and the glistening contents of the tiki bar’s treasure chest cocktail vats.
While it still draws them in (the pop star Rihanna was on the list the night I was there), it was the food I was there for on Wednesday. No overpowering Thermidors here, instead the uses Cornish crustaceans to create the lobster corndog and the lobster roll, both excellent and rich. And both of which were a fine reminder of just how good it can be and where lobsters now are on the eating scene.
As burgers have risen up the scale of culinary seriousness over the past couple of years, lobsters have crept down, so the two now meet in a mid-market mash-up.
Burger and Lobster has grown into a mini-chain in London, and remains fashionably hard to get into, while a fellow guest at Aqua told me how B.O.B.’s lobster van is doing a roaring trade in Borough Market at the moment. Not to mention the lobster pink the nation’s park goers are all adopting right now.
This mass-marketisation of one our most highly-prized foods may not even be an anomaly either, I see a gap in the market for those keen to open accessible spots serving caviar and truffles to our ever-more discerning clientele.