When I heard that a new lobster joint had opened up in my area, it was like Christmas had come early – lobsters are so expensive here in Sydney compared to America (specifically, Boston), where it seems to be plentiful, cheap and tasty. Ever since my trip over there, I’ve been craving a good, solid lobster roll. So one weekend, I dropped into Johnny Lobster to see how it measured up against my memories of those legendary Boston lobster rolls.
The restaurant is brightly fitted out with splashes of red, white and light blue everywhere and fun slogans emblazoned on the wall like “Lobster for the People” to give it a relaxed, casual vibe. We ordered a standard Lobster Roll and a seasonal special Seafood Chowder to share, although we did notice that they have an interesting “Island” variation of the lobster roll on the menu featuring coconut sambal.
The Lobster Roll came out and on first impressions, I could see that it was a much more refined, gourmet rendition of the massive, creamy lobster rolls I’d had in Boston. The filling of Johnny Lobster’s brioche rolls overflowed with plenty of pico de gallo and dill, some chunks of lobster (there’s meant to be a whole tail in there) and some pancetta. The sauce wasn’t particularly rich or creamy, but still nice and refreshing with the seafood and salad filling.
Lobster Roll, $20
The Seafood and Sweet Corn Chowder was also a surprise – it was much thicker than I expected, with a generous amount of mussels and fish fillets in the dense chowder thickened with sweet corn and potato and seasoned with leek. The garlic toast on the side was particularly addictive though and went well with the Chowder.
Seafood Chowder, $12
Johnny Lobster really does live up to its promise of making this pricey crustacean more accessible to the masses in a fun yet polished environment, but don’t expect the lobster rolls to be like their creamy, over the top American cousins.