Saturday 23 June 2007

Lobster Pot

Cowie and I went to the Lobster Pot in deepest darkest Kenninghton/Elephant and Castle for our 2 year anniversary... From the start our mission into the seedy part of Sarf Lardon was dogged by indecision and a feeling of isolation and diorientation. After 4 wrong turns, 2 attempted stabbings and some lengthly chats with bus drivers and cabbies we stumpled upon our destination - the much loved Lobster Pot.

It's said to be one of the most eccentric, bonkers places to eat in London. Stepping off the main road into the City and into their porch you're greeted by the sound of sea gulls and the rhythmical lap of the sea. Big brass fittings adorn the portals. Everything is decked out to look like an ocean going pirate ship. Bonkers. But brilliant.

We sat in the far corner of the restaurant (stern) giving Cowie a clear view of all the action whilst I settled for a good eyeful of Cowie and a fish tank. As I'm sure you'll agree Cowie looked particularly glamorous in her Lobster Pot bib.

Bib's were utterly essential for slurping down our Muscadet and enormous fruit de mer. It was my first encounter with cockles and winkles and I was determined not to let them get the better of me like those poor souls in Morecombe. It was only at this point that the penny dropped about the type of shoe called a winkle picker. It all makes sense now.

Our fruit de mer was delicious. Served on an heaving tray of ice we navigated our way through cockles, winkles, mussels, langoustine, crab claws, prawns and a couple of oysters. All spectacularly fresh and delicous. With seafood this tasty there's no need to arse around with elaborate sauces. Just a drizzle of lemon and you're full steam ahead. Our table was like a scene out of terminator after we had demolished our starter with shells and ice everywhere! Thank God we had our bibs to save us.

Then came my bouilbase which was enormous. I swear it could have served a small Indian family of 16! Lobster, crab, langoustines and rich meaty fish stuck out of my muddy red glorious soup. Looking down at my main course was a bit like the moment you turn over your exam paper and decide which 3 of the 16 questions you can answer and which one to do first. A litte daunted, I waded in by separating out the crab and lobster for special attention. Put to one side I allowed them to cool so I could man handle them towards the end. Then I poured my rouille into the soup and stirred it in so the garlicy, chilli spiked flavour could mingle with the deep taste of fish. Cowie's face looked a picture as I gobbled my soup up pausing only to wipe my fingers and guzzle my wine. I suspect I probably looked a bit like Mr Creosote from Monty Python... which isn't the ideal persona to adopt on your second anniversary!

To our horror the next door table ordered chicken to start with followed by a mixture of steak and duck. We thought maybe this was code name for some sort of chef special but alas, our fellow diners were being serious. I'm surprised the chef allowed this to happen. Maybe he wouldn't have done so had his restuarant been bursting to capacity on a Wednesday evening in March.

We staggered out into the urban jungle having been completely transported into the galleon atmosphere of the Lobster Pot and retired back to Balham utterly rammed full of tasty seafood. Neither of us had ever been to such a bizarre restaurant, but the food will have us coming back for more some time soon.

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