At The Urban List we love a good food trend, and one that has hit undeniably hard in 2014 is the lobster roll. Some say it started three years ago when Andrew McConnell introduced the New England Lobster Roll at Golden Fields in St Kilda, and revived it for his latest venture, Supernormal. It’s not just the lobster roll that’s making a run at it, soft shell crab burgers and tacos are also popping up left right and centre, and to that we say, ‘heck yes!’ If you’re looking for some pescetarian snacking, here are Melbourne’s best seafood rolls, wraps and burgers – dive in!
The reason why these little babies are going gang-busters this year is because you can be a little bit fancy, even if you’re on a budget. Supernormal feature the New England Lobster Roll on their take away menu, and it’s filled with lemon-juiced Kewpie mayo, watercress and Western Australian lobster, served on a soft brioche bun. If you want the original and the best lobster roll in Melbourne, go here.
Melbourne loves a good pop-up, and Mr Claws is the latest venture to grab our attention. Brought to you by the Huxtable / Huxtaburger bunch, you’ll get a decent serve of chunky sustainable lobster meat with dressings such as miso and wasabi mayo, as well as herb and buttermilk, served up in a soft warm roll. They are looking for a more permanent home for next year, so it looks like these bad boys are here to stay.
Hammer & Tong 412 serve their rendition of the lobster roll on a charcoal bun, which may look odd at first but tastes great. The lobster is combined with lime buerre blanc and celery, giving the sweetness of the meat a little added crunch.
SOFT SHELL CRAB BURGERS
We’re so over your average hamburger (not really), and embracing the crunchy and delicious soft shell crab variety is excellent territory just waiting to be explored. One of our all-time fave Melbourne cafes, Top Paddock do a very decent soft shell crab burger, with a soft brioche bun containing Queensland mud crab, house-made lime mayo, fennel and dill salad.
We once again return to Hammer & Tong for Melbourne’s best soft shell crab burger – we can't manage to pass their food truck without ordering one. This tasty burger is filled with Sriracha mayo, black sesame slaw, coriander, and delectable soft shell crab. Some people get a little freaked out when they see the fried claws poking out the sides of the bun. Ignore your fear and dive in, the water’s fine.
It would be rude to talk about crab and not include Miss Katie’s Crab Shack, now wouldn’t it? The Chesapeake Burger contains a blue swimmer crab patty, fresh slaw, herb mayo, and dill pickle in a sesame seed bun. An excellent option for those who want to get involved with the crab but aren’t so keen on strapping on a bib and making a mess. Mind you, we don’t know who those kinds of people are, because those little hammers are excellent.
FISH BURGERS AND PO BOYS
Summer is typically the season for fish and chips, but some things are just too good to pass up. The seared tuna burger at Hooked (they have outposts in both Fitzroy and Windsor) is one of those things. Seared tuna with black and white sesame seeds sit cosily in a bun with roma tomato, iceburg lettuce, sweet pickled onion and wasabi mayo. Their traditional fish burger is also worth dabbling in, with Panko crumbed fish, pickled onion, iceberg lettuce, sweet chili with homemade caper and dill aioli.
Po’ Boy Quarter have a staggering amount of options for those looking for some seafood in a big bun. Options include deep-fried catfish, deep-fried shrimp, Cajun battered soft shell crab and breaded oyster. The po’ boys here are absolutely massive, very reasonably priced and can get super messy. So basically, we love them.
SEAFOOD TORTILLAS AND BURRITOS
We can’t believe we’re about to say this, but sometimes, there is a thing as too much bread. If you still want to smash some seafood in a way that doesn’t involve pesky utensils, there are some solid Mexican-style wraps available. For a snack that satisfies give the soft shell crab tortilla at The Smith a go. The tortilla is filled with avocado, black bean and jalapeno salad, and our old mate the soft shell crab.
The fish burrito at Hooked is also a sweet option for a fish wrap, with grilled fish in a soft-shell tortilla with baja sauce, Spanish onion, slaw and Hooked’s homemade spicy salsa. They also do some brilliant baja fish or grilled prawn soft tacos, with slaw, pico de gallo, guacamole and Hooked’s secret sauce if you’re looking for something slightly smaller.
So there you have Melbourne’s best lobster rolls, soft shell crab burgers and fishy snacks, Listers. Get involved, hook, line and sinker.
Image Credit: A Better Happier St Sebastian