It's official: lobster rolls are the new burgers in London. Since Burger & Lobster opened its doors with an enticing menu—burger, lobster or lobster roll—and even more enticing prices, cheap but chic crustacea have been in vogue in the city. The next move from the Burger & Lobster folks is Smack Deli, which opened up late last year in Binney Street, just across the road from Selfridges. The location is perfect for pre- or post-shopping sustenance. It isn't the only lobster roll joint in London either (see also Fraq's and Lobster Kitchen), but it's the first I've visited and I was very impressed.
Smack Deli is just around the corner from Bond Street Tube and just off a particularly busy stretch of Oxford street, but the deli was pretty calm when I visited for an early Sunday lunch. Given the infamous queues at Burger & Lobster, I was worried that I wouldn't be able to find a table at Smack, but it seems that the secret isn't quite out yet.
Inside, a huge, monochrome menu lays out the options. The key choice is: which lobster roll do you want? There are a variety of toppings from the spicy Mexican, to the 'healthy' California, with lettuce, cherry tomato, cucumber, avo, mayo and lime. All of the lobster rolls are £7.50 to take away or £9 to eat in, which is a pretty incredible deal. If you're cutting back on carbs (why?!), you can have a whole 1lb lobster instead, for a princely sum of £10 (£12 to eat in). On the side, you can order lobster chowder (£4/£4.80) or courgette fries (£3/3.60). I don't like courgettes and—fortunately, perhaps—there weren't any regular fries—so I just ordered the California roll and a soda (£2.50).
Once I had paid, I was given a buzzer, which would do its little thing once my food was ready, but by the time I had filled my own glass of 'natural' cola and nabbed a seat in the window, it was already buzzing. For a £9 sandwich, my lobster roll was seriously impressive. There was a lot of lobster meat and it was really juicy and flavoursome. The tomato and avocado worked really well with the flavours of the lobster and I would definitely order the California again. Also, the bread is epic: a delicious toasted brioche bun, that made the perfect foil for the lobster. Next time, I must try the chowder.
There are about 20 perching seats on the ground floor—you can choose between a view of some mid-century Scandi design or the funky graffitied windows looking out onto the well-heeled streets of Mayfair. In warmer climes, you can also sit on one of the pavement tables, and I'm sure by the time the weather warms up, the cat will be out of the bag about the Smack and it will be much harder to get a table.
Smack Deli. 26 Binney Street, London, W1K 5BN (Tube: Bond Street). Website. Twitter.