Thursday, 5 February 2015

Johnny Lobster, Crows Nest

A few weeks ago my good friend told me she was coming up to Sydney for a visit and that a catch-up was in order. I immediately knew where I wanted to take her - the new kid on the block, Johnny Lobster. It's the newest addition to the hungry suburb of Crows Nest, where the decor is clean, fresh and inviting. And most importantly, the modern hipster joint is serving the hottest summer foodie trend at the moment - the lobster roll.

The space was previously a Malaysian restaurant with very dark lighting. But by revamping the walls white and having bright furnishing encouraged passerbys to either stop, have a look at the menu or have a stare as they walked past. The whole place speaks for itself, somewhere you can have a casual, laugh-as-loud-as-you-want-because-no-one-cares sort-of evening over some food and booze.

It all came out at once and everything looked vibrant and mouth-watering. We decided to split each of the rolls between the two of us so we could both get a taste. The servings were sufficient enough to be cut in half and not have them fall apart on us.

Soft shell crab roll with Vietnamese slaw, $14.80
I loved when this was brought to the table as it's vibrant and it all stands tall. The brioche bun is sweet and toasted. The Vietnamese slaw isn't very Vietnamese, I was expecting a tangy nuoc cham dressed all over the salad but it doesn't have any. I don't quite remember how many soft shell crabs there were, from the looks of the photo there are two halves fitting snug in the roll. The crab is fried to a great crisp and all of the ingredients make a great textural feed. 

Triple cooked chips, $5.00, with chilli aioli, $0.50
It's a pretty big statement to make but these are the best chips I've had. They were crispy, crunchy and insanely addictive. Most of them were potato skins which meant they were also chewy and contained lots of potato flavour, if that's possible to have. The triple cooking process was noticeable as the inside of every chip was also fluffy and not at all raw. Ordering a large was definitely ambitious but I made sure every chip was eaten as I couldn't bare to have the best chips go to waste.

I was glad I ordered an optional sauce, as the chilli aioli was the perfect condiment. But I thought it was a little expensive considering the serving was small and wasn't enough for the large fries.

Lobster roll served Maine style with dill and potato, $20.00
A Maine style lobster roll has a few specific features. Roll is split down the middle, not on the side and its outside is buttered and slightly toasted. Lobster is served cold. Mayonnaise is spread in the bun or mixed in with the lobster.

Johnny Lobster does tick all the boxes but it was a bit of a hit and miss as there were great extra features yet other components were lacking.

This was also piled all on a brioche bun that was beautifully toasted and just sweet enough. There was a lot of salad that went with the bun, lettuce, tomato and cucumber, all piled up high. A bit difficult to eat but tasty.

The lobster mix had a generous amount of mayonnaise, dill and potato chunks. Maybe a little too generous. There's about six pieces of lobster, thinly cut and the mayonnaise simply overpowers it. But even when I picked out the lobster to eat on its own to see how it tastes on its own, the meat lacked sweetness.

Johnny Lobster is still one of its kind, as it's no ordinary fish and chips shop rather a cool and hip-happening destination to show off when you bring all your friends to visit. Despite being a little disappointed with the star of the meal, it was such an enjoyable meal and those unforgettable triple cooked chips are enough to lure anyone back. Perhaps a part two is in order to taste those chips again and give the rest of the menu a try.

Johnny Lobster
48 Willoughby Road
Crows Nest

9436 4672

Johnny Lobster on Urbanspoon

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