London’s popular luxe-casual eatery Burger & Lobster will officially open at Jewel Changi Airport on Thursday (May 23). And they are determined to do so, Singapore-style.
On top of its signature lobster (S$65), prime burger (S$25) and original lobster roll (S$40), it will also be launching the sambal glazed lobster (S$65), which will only be available here. The dish marries the brand’s signature lobster with sambal sauce, comprising a spicy fusion of dried shrimp, chilli and Asian spices.
Riccardo LaMonica, the eatery’s regional head of operations, told CNA Lifestyle the brand was “aware of what Singaporeans would say about this decision”.
“But we decided we had to go for it,” he shared with a laugh. “I am going to be very honest, I love the flavour of sambal! I learnt about sambal travelling the world and trying street food… and in my mind, sambal goes with everything!”
It’s a gesture of respect to the culture of the country that is hosting us
He added choosing sambal was a no-brainer. “It’s my point of view of course, but I think sambal just really represents Singapore and it represents the lobster,” he said. “It’s a great way to introduce the brand to Singapore. We feel that we’ve been long awaited here.”
LaMonica said the team went around the country for two years, tasting different sambal dishes to get it right. It’s incredibly important that they “bring Burger & Lobster in conjunction with local flavours,” he said.
“It’s a gesture of respect to the culture of the country that is hosting us,” he said. “It’s always risky, because you have to do it well or else. But we decided to do it and I hope we nailed it.”
And no, even if it goes down extremely well at Burger & Lobster at Jewel, sambal lobster will not appear on the menu at other Burger & Lobsters branches around the world.
“The one dish that is unique to the location makes it more special. And we like having guests coming just for that special dish. You only have it here and nowhere else,” he said.
So will there be any more Singapore exclusives? “We’d like to do more and we have some in the pipeline,” said LaMonica.
Launched in Mayfair, London, by four schoolmates in 2011, Burger & Lobster has since grown to nine outlets in London, two in New York and a further four in Bangkok, Dubai, Genting and Kuwait. All restaurants feature live lobsters that are flown in from Nova Scotia, Canada, and beef from the cattle ranchers in Nebraska in the US.
In LaMonica’s opinion, this long-awaited Singapore outlet is “the most iconic Burger & Lobster restaurant worldwide”. Located at Canopy Park – Jewel’s topmost floor – customers will dine with views of the Shiseido Forest Valley and the world’s largest indoor waterfall – the 40-metre high Rain Vortex.
Singapore definitely holds the potential of having more than one Burger & Lobster
According to LaMonica, the 81-seater restaurant receives the hard-shell certified lobsters “twice a week minimum” from Nova Scotia, which focuses on sustainable fishing.
Is there a possibility of Burger & Lobster expanding with more outlets in Singapore?
“Singapore definitely holds the potential of having more than one Burger & Lobster,” said LaMonica. “But we also like to be unique. You’re never going find a huge, massive expansion in any city, because it loses the authenticity of the brand.”
He said that the brand is deciding to take it one step at a time in Singapore. "We are hoping the response from Singaporeans and the general crowd, which is a mixture of worldwide visitors, business and holidaymakers, is going to be good.”
He added: "It might be more than one but it won’t be many. Possibly one more but it’s early stages. Let’s make this work and see how it goes.”