Who in the world doesn’t like lobster unless you are allergic to crayfish?
When I think of lobster, I imagine the rather chubby villain in a James Bond movie, dressed in his silky black robe, devouring chunks of succulent shellfish while gently stroking his sinister-looking feline and plotting doom to the civilized world.
Johnny Lobster, Crows Nest
It has been a while but it’s better late than never to catch up with a long-time friend from high school.
“Johnny Lobster?” I thought to myself when I saw his venue suggestion for lunch on my mobile. But being on the strip of watering holes, cafes and restaurants off Crows Nest, I knew we were onto something different this afternoon.
Every time I meet up with the Tai Pan, I feel nostalgic because I spent many years with him through high school and university.
And being his usual affable self, he agrees with my suggestion of a lobster roll. Ever since I had a rather amazing lobster roll in Melbourne a couple of years ago, I have been on the lookout for one that might qualify as Sydney’s answer. So far, I found my favourite lobster roll with a knockout brioche in a pub in Gladesville.
There are obviously hundreds of lobster roll recipes and I believe purists in North America would insist on only one vegetable finding its way into a good one. Finely diced celery is often mixed with a combination of mayo, yoghurt, lemon juice with a sprinkling of chives to garnish.
At Johnny Lobster, chunky cubes of potato are tossed with creamy mayo, celery salt, knuckle and claw lobster meat from Canada and Florida, so I am told upon enquiry. The bun is delicately soft and warm though I have been forever spoilt by the lux of a buttery brioche in Melbourne.
It is a pretty good effort and though I believe the accompanying potato crisps are a North American style, they seems more like an after-thought to me as I would much prefer shoe string fries.
Famous Fried Chicken
The menu is boasting “best fried chicken in Sydney” by Concrete Playground.
Drizzled with aioli and hot sauce, there is good crunch with each succulent bite. And when you are a big fan of fried chicken like I am, the side of cold slaw is really what it is … just a side.
I wouldn’t go so far as declaring it Sydney’s best as I found the marinade a little strong with a slightly bitter after-taste lingering throughout the rest of the arvo.
Personally, my favourite fried chicken is the traditional ayam goreng styles of Indonesia and Malaysia with a heady dose of sambal belachan or sambal belado on the side.
Battered fish ‘N’ chips
Fish ‘N’ Chips have the option of either grilled or battered and we choose the latter.
A slice of golden brown New Zealand Blue Grenadier (usually known as New Zealand hoki) comes with chips, salad and creamy tartare.
The crust is crisp though the meat is a little firmer than even the frozen hoki from supermarkets. Though displayed on the menu as sustainably certified, the Australian Marine Conservation Society is recommending less consumption of this fish with alternatives being flat head and ling.
On the menu, there is also fresh mussels ($16) cooked either in a choice of French (white wine) or East Coast (tomato, Old Bay & Ale) broth, herb calamari ($14), clam chowder ($16), grilled barra or grilled salmon ($22).
Johnny Lobster is a breath of fresh air in this little space compared to what was a tired Malaysian / Singaporean predecessor called Sentosa. I would be back for the lobster roll, especially so if I have knocked back a few drinks in the area.
48 Willoughby road, Crows Nest
New South Wales
Tel: +61 2 9436 4672
Opening hours: Monday to Sunday 11.30am – 9.30pm