A very different sort of picky eater: lunch was lobster (at Burger and Lobster, St Paul’s, London)

Our half term treat was a little unusual. Decadent even. Some kids might want to go to McDonalds for a school holiday lunch but we were very keen to try Burger and Lobster. And no it was the lobster we were all after, not the burgers.

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Here’s what Luca had to say:

“We went to Burger and Lobster today for lunch. I was very keen to try lobster again. I had some of my mum’s once on holiday but it was ages ago. The waiters bought two silver metal trays of lobster and fries and salad and we shared this between three of us. The salad had a special ingredient of balsamic vinegar dressing which we like. The fries were similar to McDonalds ones. I don’t like McDonalds much but I do like their chips so this was not a bad thing. The lobster was large and delicious with a garlic and lemon butter sauce. They had bibs to protect your clothes but I did not want to wear one as I’m not a baby! Some of the grown-ups wear them though. It was quite a lot of work for my mum picking all the bits out of the claws with the picking stick but worth it for the extra.

The drinks menu was confusing because it didn’t have anything like normal juices or water on it – nearly everything had alcohol but when we asked the waitress they did have lots of juices that weren’t on there. I chose pineapple.

There are only three things on the menu for main courses: lobster with a choice of two butters, beef burger or lobster brioche roll. It would not be good for vegetarians as there is nothing vegetarian. The staff were very good and friendly. Lobster was delicious. I had a great hot chocolate at the end too. The best part was the lobster though as you can have a hot chocolate anywhere. We’d go again.”

This is what Luca’s mum said:”I had been desperate to try this place as I absolutely adore lobster. My favourite food ever but usually it’s too expensive in the UK. It wasn’t cheap here per se but was excellent value for what you get. Any of the three options on the menu costs £20 – the burger, the lobster or the lobster roll. That’s a lot for a burger but not bad at all for a lobster and it was amazing. As ever with lobster, there was a fair amount of picking out of the claws to do with the special picking out thingy* provided but it was worth the hassle. The staff were helpful and attentive, friendly but informally professional. They didn’t seem to mind at all that the three of us shared two lobster meals (oh no, am I making it sound McDonalds-ish saying a ‘lobster meal’. It’s not at all), with an extra plate for Luca to nab some of ours for. We didn’t have room for puddings (there were two on the menu, well in the waiter’s head, so not much choice but that’s fine – one was Eton mess, the other vanilla cheesecake with caramel and Oreo cookies). Coffee at the end was one of the most mellow and lovely I’ve had for a while. Most impressed generally and looking forward to going back soon.”

* there is probably a technical, culinary term for these instruments…

Here is the lobster picking instrument in fact:

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Now the crucial question:

Is it a good place to take children?

This is a restaurant with quite a grown-up, albeit informal, feel but we were still made very welcome indeed as a family. There were no qualms about our request for the extra plate for example and the waiting staff were kind and friendly to our eight-year-old.

At the end we asked one of the waiters if they get many kids in. He said that it can be packed with them at weekends although they don’t have a children’s menu (or, it seems, do half portions). He added that they are hoping to introduce a kids’ menu soon…let’s hope they take our advice (see a previous post on this) and don’t dumb it down too much if they do (bread crumbed lobster nuggets anyone? Please NO!). Or better still they could just do smaller half portions of their grown-ups’ main courses and keep with their ethos of a very ‘finely tuned’ menu.

Out of interest, we asked the waiter if child customers there normally have burgers or if some do opt for lobster – he was pretty adamant that nearly all, if not all have burgers. The burger we saw at the next table did look incredibly appealing but we think this is a bit of a shame. Lobster rocks! Give it a go kids!

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This post was not sponsored, we have no links to the company and we paid our way. There are five branches of Burger and Lobster in Central London.

Please do not comment on the ethics of lobster eating…this is not the place for it. Thank you.

YUM! Home-made popcorn…

We’re not sure why but popcorn seems to be really POPular at the moment and all sorts of posh popcorns are hitting the supermarkets.

We got hooked ourselves (Tyrrell’s sweet and salty was the cheeky one that we kept buying) but this stuff is expensive (not as expensive as the rip off cinema popcorn though) and with Luca’s greedy pants dad in the house a big bag lasts about three minutes.

So we’ve taken to making our own. It’s VERY easy and tastes even better, costs way less and you can choose what you put on it.

HOW TO MAKE HOMEMADE POPCORN:

Take 100 g popcorn kernels. Add one tablespoon of sunflower or vegetable oil to a large pan that has a lid. Heat it over a medium heat for a minute or two. Add the popcorn and, ahem, pop the lid on the pan. Continue heating it and give the pan a shake now and again.

Soon after you hear the first kernel pop, it’ll go poptastic in the pan with popping at a crazy rate before it finally calms down.

When the rate slows down a lot and it’s just occasionally, you’re pretty much finished. Turn the heat off and take the lid off (we find if you leave it on moisture gets onto the popcorn).

So that’s the actual popcorn sorted. You could sprinkle it with a little salt, or a little sugar. Or both.

Or grab a small saucepan, 60g of light brown sugar and 40g of butter. Melt it all over a low heat until it bubbles away for a few minutes. Pour over the popcorn (be very careful as it’ll be really hot). Wait for it to cool a bit for a couple of minutes but not too much. photo

Absolutely delicious when slightly warm and it’ll put any bagged popcorn to shame.

Grandpancakes pancake batter recipe…our super-easy, no weighing scales needed recipe from Luca’s Grandpa

Luca’s grandpa has the easiest recipe for pancakes in the world…we guarantee (well, almost) that it won’t fail you come Shrove Tuesday (Feb 12th this year).

What you’ll need for enough batter for about six pancakes:

– 1/2 pint of milk

– 1 large egg

– half a mug of flour

What to do:

Add a third of a pint of milk to a mixing jug (we usually use semi-skimmed – I’d avoid skimmed. Full fat would be okay too).

Chuck 1 large egg in too (well, breaking it carefully first – not literally just chucking it in)

Give it a whisk.

Then find a standard size tea or coffee mug. Fill it half full with plain flour.

Add that to the jug where the milk and egg is.

Whisk thoroughly. It should be the consistency of double cream. If it’s slightly too runny, add about a tablespoon of extra flour. Too runny pancake mixture will stick to the pan.

Leave the mixture to settle for maybe ten minutes IF you can wait that long (sometimes we can’t and need our pancakes NOW!)

More photos to follow on Tuesday from us!  pancakes photo

We’d love to know what your favourite pancake topping is…ours are Nutella or Golden Syrup!

Restaurants: no more fish fingers/ chicken nuggets/ burger only kids’ menus please!

Look, we all like these foods occasionally (hey a fish finger sandwich smothered in ketchup and with a slither of melted cheese on top, is hard to beat) BUT if we see another kids’ menu in a restaurant which reads something like the following, we will run off screaming towards the nearest supermarket and just go home and make our own dinner thank you very much.

Here is an example of a kids’ menu that left Luca groaning with culinary boredom:

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Adventurous young eaters clearly not welcome here then.

Now fair enough, it’s great if you’re say, two years old, and we can see the need for a few plainer options for some children but hang on a minute, restauranteurs of the world, it’s a little patronising to assume this is all any kid wants and it’s a lot boring. It makes us do a great big foodie YAWN.

So what do we want instead?

Fine, yes have a few simple meals and some stuff for our tiddly toddler brothers and sisters but please can we have more interesting meals too? If your mum and dad are tucking into fantastic food and enjoying it, not all children want to sit there with a plate of nuggets and chips for company thanks.

So the solution? Go back to the old days when most chefs were happy to knock up a half portion of a selection of more grown-up meals. We know this isn’t going to work with a few things that are probably bought in in set sizes (as in 8oz steaks) but we bet there’s lots of stuff you can do it with. Go on chefs of Britain! Help us be more adventurous!

And by way of example, here’s a perfect half portion dish of haddock, poached egg and mustard that the fabulous Boathouse in Ely knocked up for our seven-year-old diner:

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