THE PITCH: George Bukhov from Burger & Lobster
True words are often spoken in jest, they say. That’s pretty much the truth for Burger and Lobster’s founder – and jack of many trades – George Bukhov. A funny concept hashed out over a contemplative dinner with close friends saw the man (who once sold car tyres in Moscow) grace the front pages of British magazines.
“I think everyone needs to change their career at some point to understand this world a bit better,” says George, who’d been wanting to make his mark and leave the 9 to 5 for good when he opened Burger & Lobster. He and his restaurateur friends, Ilya Demichev and Misha Zelman – founders of Goodman, an upscale steakhouse – came up with this amusingly simple concept: Pair two food favourites from contrasting ends of the class spectrum – the burger and the lobster – and see what happens.
“When we opened the doors of our first Burger & Lobster restaurant in Mayfair, London in 2011, everyone told us we would fail. But there was a big queue. It was fantastic,” says George, who has also worked as a lawyer for media companies, and as a director at MTV Russia and VH1 Russia. With Burger & Lobster branches across the UK, Kuwait, Sweden, New York, and now Dubai, today George heads up a global food brand.
If you go to the branch in the Burj Daman Building, located in DIFC, you won’t be spoilt for choice. And therein lies the beauty of the concept, really. In a world saturated with food choices, here decision-making is made simple: Go for the burger, the fresh lobster or the lobster roll, all of which come with the same salad and fries as sides.
Of course, the food is deliciously fresh, the place is abuzz with good energy, and there’s always a fun and edgy element in the mix. For instance, if you post a lobster selfie on the Dubai Burger & Lobster’s social media platforms using the hashtag #DXBLobsterToLDN, you stand in line to win a trip to see Stevie Wonder and Pharrel Williams perform live at Hyde Park (competition closes 18 June).
George tells us more about his quirky eatery:
I was involved in the media industry in Russia for a long time. While the media business was fun, I needed a new challenge. I wanted to start something simple and real, where I could really see the results of my work − not just on paper. One evening, over dinner with old school friends, they said, “Why don’t we open a restaurant in London?” I said yes − and took a plane to London the very next day. It turned out that my previous work experience proved useful. The restaurant business is not only about food, after all, but people and their emotions.
The inspiration behind pairing the burger with the lobster was the idea of bringing very different people together. We want people of different backgrounds, nations and so on to dine together. The idea seemed somewhat controversial at the time, but I think it has worked. Every one of our restaurants is unique in its own way, but there’s always a good, lively energy at each Burger & Lobster. People are clearly having a good time.
I believe in having dreams. One day, I’d love to dine with The Queen. Of course, I’d need a royal warrant − you know, the one which says “By appointment to Her Majesty The Queen”. But if my dream came true and the Queen came to our restaurant, I’d love to see her eating a lobster.
The perfect burger must be juicy. Our ‘burger medium’ was designed with this requirement in mind. Don’t worry about the pink in the middle, it’s very tasty; how a real burger should be. We only use premium-quality beef. Right now, our lobsters are all sourced from Canada and our beef comes from the US and Australia. But we’re a working on ideas to use locally sourced lobsters and beef. Of course, these ingredients will need to remain first class.
When it comes to lobster, size doesn’t really count. Any size is tasty. Still, if you’re in the company of friends you want to impress, order a big one. Tucking in to one is a great experience. We keep things really simple – we steam the lobster or grill it and serve it with lemon or garlic butter. It’s the best way to ensure you retain that authentic, fresh lobster flavour.
Eating lobster shouldn’t be intimidating. We serve them split in half with the claws pre-cracked by the chefs, to keep things easy. Every part of a lobster has different texture: the tail meat is firm, the claw meat is quite soft, while the knuckle meat is somewhere in between. I actually think you can understand a person better by looking how they eat a lobster. Have your first date at Burger & Lobster, and you’ll see what I mean.
My favourite dessert on the menu is the Tres Leches. Members of the team came up with the idea to put this on our menu, and I must say it’s a fantastic after-dinner treat.
SIGNATURE DISH: The Lobster
Tuck into fresh lobster from Nova Scotia that’s either steamed or grilled, with salad and fries on the side. What more could you ask for?
Contact: +971 4 514 8838,