I take a vitamin every day, it’s called steak
We head to the London Steakhouse Chelsea to gorge on wine and steak
Review by Andy Barnham
There is countless advice available for healthy eating and nutrition, which today goes hand in hand with exercise for your summer perfect beach body. However for all the salad, quinoa and yogurt options to chow down on, sometimes the only thing that will really suffice is a good cut of meat. And by meat I mean steak. And yet, despite the near instant Pavlovian reaction that the word ‘steak’ illicits in most of us, it remains a risky business. If you and I are going out to eat for a treat and spend, usually, a reasonable amount on what we hope is a good cut of meat, there is the expectation that it is cooked to perfection. And opinion of what constitutes a perfect steak differs from person to person; there are few things worse than a steak cooked not to our liking. Maybe a poorly executed cocktail, but it’s a short list.
The Chelsea edition of the London Steakhouse joins the plethora of food options on King’s Road. With a low ceiling and, at the back of the main room, a split floor leading up to more seating and down to a small bar, the London Steakhouse offers a cosy and intimate atmosphere. The subtle tonal palette of the restaurant complements the mood even if, for this self confessed metal head, the smooth jazz playlist makes me want to go Van Gogh on my ears.
And so to the food. Starters at a steakhouse are always interesting. There’s a least a tacit assumption, if not glaring billboard of notification, that when dining at a steakhouse your main will be steak. So what to start with? Perhaps start with something reasonable without destroying your appetite or Do you go straight to the main course? In this instance, after a long day starters were definitely on the menu and my wife kicked off with the burrata with tomatoes and pesto while I went for the chicken liver parfait. The former was lovely and creamy with the home made pesto making its best excuses for the dull tomatoes. The chicken liver parfait was rich but light; perfect for the oncoming steak.
To accompany the food the wine list at the London Steakhouse is user friendly. At 100 wines, including sparkling, red, white and desert options, it’s not overwhelming with the wines listed under sections such as ‘light’, ‘medium’ and ‘fuller’. Prices start in the region of £20 with the more expensive fine wine options, the Clos l’Eglise Pomerol 2000 Bordeaux for example, costing more.
Never one to take advice (or advice from me at least), my wife requested her steak fillet blue contrary to the house suggestion of medium rare, which is how I ordered mine. The reassuringly thick cuts of meat were accompanied by croquettes with truffle and Parmesan, creamy spinach and, lastly, new baby potatoes. Accompanied by garlic butter, the blue steak was slightly cold, however this wasn’t enough to put my wife off and the plate was cleared tout suite. My medium rare, with bernaise sauce was perfect with the sides packing a flavourful punch with the croquettes disappearing shortly after landing.
Somehow finding room following the 8ounces of fillet, it was time for desert. My wife opted for the sticky toffee pudding with matching desert wine, while I went for the more traditional cheese plate of stilton and cheddar which came with fruit cake. And a glass port of course. The sticky toffee pudding was, according to my wife, sticky with a toffee taste. And when encouraged went as far as to say it was light and not too heavy on the treacle. In regards to the cheese, the Stilton was rich while the cheddar was surprisingly mild.
Service was perfect throughout the meal, hands on at the start to ensure drinks and the order was taken and then scaled back to allow the food to speak for itself.
Most steakhouses, certainly the ones in the middle of London and other big cities, appeal to the mass tourist market. And even the ones that don’t, seem to have the volume dialled all thew way up to 11. So it’s refreshing to find somewhere to enjoy a good steak without having to deploy earplugs to cover the noise of loud littles ones.