I have been trying to get into Burger & Lobster for months now but every time I try there’s either a huge queue or something happens and plans change. So when my wonderful friends Lucy, Jane and Dawn decided we were way overdue for a catch up, I suggested trying it out. Like most places in London, Burger & Lobster doesn’t take reservations. I know it’s not ‘cool’ these days to take reservations but it is bloody annoying to those of us who want to plan an evening.
So the four of us arranged to get there as soon as we finished work and whoever got there first would try to secure a table. When I was 5 minutes away I got a call from Jane who had just arrived and been told by the woman on the door that the wait was 1-2 hours long! I was already starving and really didn’t want to drink for 1-2 hours on an empty stomach on a school night. When I got to the restaurant and met with Jane, there was a queue of about six people in the street and a woman with a clipboard trying to control the queue. As I stood on Clarges Street, with my nose more or less pressed up against the window, enviously watching all those happy people inside, gorging on their incredible looking lobsters, burgers and fries…Jane and I had to come up with a plan B.
Lucy suggested we walk round the corner to Dover Street to see if we could get into the American brasserie, Automat. Luckily, they had a booth for 4 available and we all sank into our seats, ordered drinks and got down to the really important stuff….a bloody good gossip!
Lucy, Jane, Dawn and I have been friends for over 14 years. They were the first friends I made when I moved to London for my first job out of University. It was a pretty stressful job but that just made us bond even more. Even though we don’t work together anymore, I love when we get a chance to meet so we can catch up on each other’s gossip. Of course, that therefore means that the waitress had to keep asking us if we wanted to order and we kept telling her we hadn’t looked at the menu yet. Eventually I opted for the chicken liver and foie gras mousse with plum chutney (£10) to start…
All I could say was WOW! This was wonderful. The mousse came in a good sized pot, with a layer of plum chutney on top. The mousse itself was incredibly smooth, creamy and very rich, and the plum added a beautiful tangy sweetness to it. Served on thick brown toast, this was actually very filling. It could almost have been a main course to be honest.
For my main course I ordered macaroni & cheese with truffle. (£14 / £18) I got the smaller size. God knows how big the £18 one was…this was already pretty big!
I loved this. Macaroni & cheese is always going to be a winner anyway but add truffle and you’re in for a real treat! It was everything it should have been…rich, creamy, cheesy and earthy. The truffle really added such depth of flavour that I’m surprised I haven’t seen it added to macaroni & cheese before now.
The grilled cheese was golden and bubbling when it arrived. When I plunged my fork in and lifted it up, the stringy melted cheese was a delight to behold. The only problem, if you can call it one, was that it was so rich, I felt full pretty quickly. Especially after having such a large starter. In hindsight, it was probably not such a great idea to order both as it was a very rich meal altogether. I would have loved to have finished it but I just couldn’t. Saying that, I would have probably had a heart attack if I’d finished it all!
Dawn and Lucy opted for the Automat cheeseburger (10oz) with fries (£14) . They detail on the menu that Automat uses only U.S.D.A premium non-hormone treated Nebraskan corn fed beef.
They said it was lovely…full of flavour, juicy and beautifully cooked to medium rare.
Jane ordered the Chicken burger with fries (£14) which she really enjoyed. Again, the meat was juicy, tender and seasoned very well. Everyone also commented on how good the buns were too.
We were too full for pudding and instead ordered more wine to continue with our gossiping.
I would definitely eat at Automat again. Not only is it close to my work, so very handy, but I absolutely loved my meal. I don’t think I would have the pate and the macaroni & cheese together again because it was just a bit too rich and filling, but that’s my own fault. As my mum has told me from when I was a little girl, my eyes have always been bigger than my belly! But I would definitely come back for one or the other, and I would urge anyone who loves foie gras or truffle to please go there to try them out.
Overall I had a great night. Automat has a relaxed and stylish atmosphere, the staff are incredibly friendly and helpful and I had a fabulous meal.
Automat, 33 Dover Street, London, W1S 4NF
Tel: 020 7499 3033
that macaroni sounds delish…
Your chicken liver and foie gras mousse looks incredibly similar to mine at SPQR! I wonder who took who’s plating idea? In any case, all deliciously American and your posts still make me miss London.
I have never seen mac & cheese like this before.