On 23 September 2020, Luke’s Lobster will be opened for business on the ground floor of Isetan Scotts, right next to the departmental store’s entrance. It is the first outlet set to open in Southeast Asia, gladdening the hearts of Singaporeans who have no travel plans to look forward to but are able to enjoy seafood rolls from this popular food chain that has been making huge waves in the United States and Japan since 2009.
The restaurant group prides itself on traceable and sustainable fishing, shipping seafood from the source to their respective shacks directly. This means that these lobsters, crabs, shrimps and clams have travelled all the way from Maine to Singapore.
The Lobster Roll ($25.50) has to be the first item to try in Luke’s Lobster to understand what the hype is all about. Generous chunks of chilled lobster (a quarter pound worth) are sandwiched between a lemon buttered split-top bun with a hint of mayonnaise and dusted with Luke’s Secret Seasoning to liven up the taste of seafood.
The secret ingredients are a mixture of spices and herbs that includes chives, parsley, garlic powder and celery seed powder. Despite its journey from halfway around the globe, the lobster remains fresh and succulent. The warm buttered bun is lightly charred, giving it a crispy texture yet it remains soft at its core. The contrasting temperatures of the lobster and bun are very pleasant.
The Crab Roll ($23.50) and Shrimp Roll ($21.50) serve as alternatives if you do not like lobster. However, I find the shrimp too briny. The crabmeat tastes the sweetest out of the three while the lobster provides more bite and balance between sweet and savoury.
The rolls are currently served in US size and each roll is very filling, thanks to the generosity of the meat and well-buttered buns. Diners with diminutive stomachs can opt for the Japanese (JP) serving size in future, which will be about two-thirds of the US serving size.
If it takes up too much of a headspace to decide which roll to get, you can order Luke’s Trio ($33.50) that comprises half a roll of all three types. I didn’t do well for Maths back in school but I surmise that two sets of Luke’s Trio are cheaper than getting three full rolls, that is, if you want three different rolls in the first place.
To accompany the meal, there is Lobster Bisque ($12.90) and Clam Chowder ($11.50) to choose from. Both steaming bisque and chowder are dense and creamy, perfect for the dwindling end bits of the roll. However, I find it hard to finish the entire bowl of the bisque.
The Grilled Cheese (prices to be confirmed) series, with either lobster or crab fillings will be launched in December this year. These sandwiches are great for anyone who likes their food more savoury with the help of cheddar, and they are also a lot less messy to eat.
To practise safe-distancing, the 23-seater open concept restaurant will reduce its capacity to 17 seats. To circumvent snaking queues, the establishment is also open for online pre-orders from 17 September onwards, and subsequently will be made available for island-wide delivery and third-party food delivery in due time.
The restaurant location is perfect for movie goers to grab a bite before and after a show. Comparing to the lobster roll I had at Luke’s Lobster in Japan, the standard is pretty much the same, at least for now. As most of the ingredients are from the headquarters, it cannot stray too far. The prices are way steeper than a regular fast food chain but for its quality and ethical sources, it is worth to indulge yourself with a well-assembled lobster roll once in a while.
Luke’s Lobster Singapore
Shaw House, Isetan Scotts #01-K4, 350 Orchard Road Singapore 238868
10am – 9pm daily
Tel: +65 6592 7642
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This is an invited tasting. Written by Cheang Shwu Peng.