Last Updated: April 3, 2021
A lobster roll is one of those deceptively simple things that are really easy to get wrong but difficult to get right. It is perhaps one of the best, and arguably, the yummiest way to have lobster. I do reckon that the lobster roll is one of those perfect foods that, when done right, it’s all you need in the world.
A lobster roll consists of essentially two components, the bun and the lobster filling. The bun should be a golden, toasted, and pillowy vehicle for the lobster to ride on. A little dive into the history of lobster rolls will tell you there are several styles your roll can come in. Most famously there is Connecticut and the Maine lobster roll, which differs in the way they are prepared, in mayo or served with melted butter respectively.
Those details are important, yes, but I’m a simple girl. All I ask is that the filling be as bountiful for the price you are paying, and so flavourful, you dream about it long after it’s over.
So, in this Lobster Roll showdown, I have narrowed it down to the Dancing Crab, Chunky Lobsters, and Burger & Lobster. Those buttered brioche buns and succulent lobsters await!
I picked the Dancing Crab because of its advertised expertise in all things seafood. Not to mention, the Dancing Crab is backed by one of Singapore’s oldest restaurant groups that is all about their seafood, TungLok Group. There were undoubtedly some expectations for Dancing Crab, seeing as there were also tanks of live lobster at their disposal.
I ordered their Live Lobster Roll (S$38), which came as a set of two rolls and an order of fries. If we’re counting, each lobster roll would come up to roughly about S$18.
At first glance, these lobster rolls were pretty little numbers. Each roll had hunky lobster pieces covered in a thin sauce that threatened to spill over the bun. I was rather pleased that the bun had those tantalising golden edges, although it was ever-so-greasy to the touch.
A squeeze of lemon and I bit into our first roll of the day. The lobster pieces were succulent and fresh, which is always welcome but, unfortunately, lacked seasoning. Something as dainty and delicate as lobster needs just a little bit of oomph to let those natural flavours shine. The thin coating of sauce supplied a slight creaminess, but that was it. I was left searching for just a bit more flavour with each mouthful.
When it comes to lobster rolls, looks can be deceiving. While they might have looked full from the top, a bite revealed a rather dismal bun-to-lobster ratio. A little more lobster certainly wouldn’t hurt.
The bun, though sufficiently buttered on the outside, was rather parched on the inside. Unfortunately, the bun was rather plain on its own and did little to enhance the lobster.
While I had high hopes for the Dancing Crab’s lobster roll, it seems like a little more attention to detail is required.
A couple of floors down from Dancing Crab is Chunky Lobsters. Chunky Lobsters promises only to give you the chubbiest of lobsters at an affordable price. You’ll find Chunky Lobsters on the floor of Orchard Gateway; if you ever need a break from romping around Orchard.
At Chunky Lobsters, you can choose up to three sizes for your lobster roll. The bigger the size, the more generous the lobster pieces. For this showdown, I have selected their Original lobster roll in Medium (S$24).
You know they weren’t kidding when they called themselves ‘Chunky Lobsters’. The crimson lobster chunks lay neatly atop each other, à la Dua Lipa’s New Rules music video. They are showered with a precise amount of Chunky Lobster’s own mix of spices, served with a lemon wedge and a side of coleslaw.
The lobster here was a little fresher and sweeter than those of the Dancing Crab. The bun-to-lobster ratio was relatively balanced here, so no complaints here. The herbs and spice mix is certainly different from what one would expect, and it is unique. The herbs do a good job of bringing out the natural flavours of the lobster but were a little light-handed for my taste.
The bun was nicely toasted and buttery as one would expect. The bun had a sweet tinge to it which was pleasant.
Chunky Lobster sits nicely in the middle for me, checking all the boxes quite dutifully. Of course, more can be done to improve the roll, but it’s pretty good now.
We have come to one of the OG’s in the lobster roll scene. The famous Burger & Lobster needs no introduction. It’s a mandatory pit stop for any Singaporean on their trip to London, so it’s no surprise why everyone was in a frenzy when the UK restaurant finally arrived on our shores.
To make their wares more affordable, Burger & Lobster has also recently lowered their prices—which gets a big whoop from me. This way, an Original Lobster Roll will only set you back S$28, which is pretty affordable.
There are two outlets at your disposal, one at the Jewel and another at Raffles Hotel Arcade. As much as I love Jewel, the Raffles Hotel Arcade outlet just made more sense, logistically. Moreover, who doesn’t like wandering in the wonderfully preserved colonial furnishings of Raffles Hotel?
The Original Lobster Roll arrived a rather statuesque affair, clasped in a Burger & Lobster holder and accompanied by a sauceboat of golden melted garlic butter. I know; let us calm ourselves.
A crispy brioche bun stood before me, brimming with chopped up lobster meat that’s generously coated with lemon mayonnaise and sprinkled with those tiny chives chefs love.
Well, it’s clear why everyone flocks to Burger & Lobster on their grand pilgrimage to London. The lobster roll is, dare I say, near-perfect. I say near-perfect because perfection is something that we will always aim to strive for. The lobster meat is shredded, making for a more pleasant eating experience, ensuring that you still have enough lobster till the very end.
The lobster is sweet and succulent. I thought the lobster might have been overshadowed by lemon mayo, but everything is kept wonderfully balanced. And yes, their lobster is seasoned as well. The bun-to-lobster ratio here favours the lobster, and I’ve decided that all lobster rolls should thereby follow this ratio.
When it came to the bun, everything was done right and then some. Evenly toasted on both the outside and inside, this highly enriched brioche bun was sweet and oh-so-buttery. You can hear the softest of crunch as you bite down on the roll, a satisfying sound indeed.
Alright, I think it’s pretty obvious who won this Lobster Roll Showdown. Burger & Lobster knocked it out of the park with their lobster roll. Every detail from the bun, lobster, to mayo was done right.
Usually, these showdowns would have me going back and forth, but here, the winner was as clear as the melted butter I doused my lobster roll with. Plus, at S$28 for a roll, I guess happiness has a price after all.