At some point during this meal, I realised I had hit the jackpot. Not only is Bordelaise truly authentic French cuisine, but it’s affordable, and it’s a short Tube journey from my usual London haunts. I challenge you to find me a more decently priced and bona fide steak-frites inside the M25. No, really – if there’s better French food for this price somewhere else in London, please do let me know!
Get Your Steak ON! London Steakhouse Co. City
There’s nothing better than a good steak – but don’t you find that very often, the steak on a menu seems like more of an afterthought that a really well done dish? I rarely bother ordering steak on a menu when I’m out at a restaurant, because it just feels as though the cut will be cheap and the cooking a bit of a lottery.
That’s why if I want a proper steak at a restaurant, I make sure to visit a speciality place. Cue London Steakhouse Company! I was asked to pop down and review the gorgeous City branch, and I have to say, it was my absolute pleasure. The restaurant has been recently refurbished, and is on two levels – doesn’t it look gorgeous?!
City has a classic French bistro interior with white tablecloths, red leather chairs and mirrored walls with wooden panelling. The logo of the steer skull seems more in keeping with a Texan steakhouse, but the menu is classically French. The bar is well stocked with premium spirits, although there are only a handful of cocktails on the menu. But, the bar staff are more than happy to accommodate any requests. We had a Four Seasons cocktail and a bespoke raspberry and pineapple mocktail, both of which were fruity and delicious!
Starters were beef short rib with house BBQ sauce and coleslaw, and chicken liver parfait with toasted brioche. The parfait was whipped and super light, like a dreamy mousse, and accompanied by a basil oil dressing and smears of a spiced fruit chutney. The brioche came in the form of small croutons – it would have been nice to have had a thick wedge to spread the parfait onto, but the croutons provided a delicious contrasting crunch.
The short rib came stripped from the bone and perched atop a cylindrical mound of coleslaw, pink with the BBQ sauce, which was sweet and smoky.
The main was a Boston Chop, served carved off the bone to share. It came with a sharp bearnaise with a hint of tarragon, and a creamy, peppery sauce. The steak was divine – a seared outer edge coaxed forth the deep umami flavours of the beef, and the cut was tender and soft with an extra depth of flavour you only get from a really good piece of meat. I think you can always tell the quality of steak by tasting the seared fat along the edge (I know this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I love it!) and this was crispy and rich.
The steak doesn’t come with side dishes so you select your choice from the menu (and you will need to order at least one per person). We tried the Pont Neuf and house fries – the former were a bit of a miss for me, the interior was a bit floury and the taste wasn’t as good as the house fries.
Let’s face it, you can’t go wrong with frites with your steak! You are also offered condiments of your choice including tomato ketchup, mayonnaise, and sharp English mustard. I always go for a mustard with my steak, and I originally thought I’d need some as there didn’t seem to be a lot of sauce. But the sauce we were provided was so rich and creamy, it was just the right amount!
If you’re going low-carb, there are quite a few food choices on here, and I’d love to try the buttered greens and lardons, panazella salad or the creamed spinach at some point!
Onto the puddings, and the restaurant has a decent selection which should please everyone – classic creme brûlée, sticky toffee pudding, cheesecake, chocolate cake, plus a gorgeous looking cheese selection.
There are dessert wines suggested for every option which is a lovely touch – and I can rarely resist a glass of Sauternes when it’s offered! The creme brûlée was dense, silky and creamy, studded with vanilla seeds, with a great tasting thin layer of caramel on the top.
It went really well with the Sauternes, and at this point I was in dire need of a coffee so that I could continue writing my notes…
You’re treated to a little marshmallow at the end of the meal, served from under a glass cloche, which is a lovely little addition!
All in all, I thought that the ambiance, food and service made this an excellent spot for a special celebration meal out. The food is incredible, the steak was of a really high quality, and the staff were more than happy to go that extra mile to make sure you were happy with every dish, even making some spot-on recommendations for us throughout.
I have fond memories of the Boston Chop, and if you’re visiting with a loved one or a fellow steak-enthusiast, I’d recommend you go for that option. My only regret is that I couldn’t gnaw the bone at the end!
Click the image below to be taken to my Flickr set for the restaurant, and make sure your keyboard is wipe clean…
London Steakhouse Co. has branches in Chelsea and City, and you can find their website here. There are some excellent dishes on the affordable set menu, and they have some gorgeous looking Christmas menus as well, for £35 or £55 per person, plus drinks packages of £15 or £25 per person.
My meal at London Steakhouse Co. was complimentary – my review, opinions and photography are my own.
Hawksmoor Air Street
For my husband’s 30th birthday, we visited Hawksmoor on Air Street, just off Regents Street. I’d heard this was one of the best places in London for steak, and I was certainly not disappointed.
The real stand out for the whole meal was actually totally unexpected and a real treat – cornflake milkshake!
We totally ordered this by chance but I’m so glad we did – it was delicious and incredibly unique. It was super sweet with a hint of malt to it, and the cornflakes on the top added a great texture.
Plus, gotta love those classic milkshake glasses!
At first, we just ordered one to taste, but when it came I insisted on getting my own!
If there’s a meal worth getting fat for, it would surely include at least one cornflake milkshake…
This was my husband’s starter – Doddington Caesar salad. It’s a bit of a running joke between us as the cheese also sounds a bit like his surname… It was pretty unusual to have cheddar on a Caesar salad, and it wasn’t until I tasted it myself that I appreciated the difference in texture – the waxy feel of cheddar is very different to the drier, textured feel of Parmesan.
I had the Tamworth belly ribs – I did want the potted beef and bacon with Yorkshires, but the waiter told us the chef wasn’t happy with the quality and asked us to select something else. To be honest, they were slightly dry in places, but very rich and great with the red cabbage. As usual, when serving salad and a meat dish to a table seated with a man and a woman, the waiter tried to give me the salad – this always happens when we go out together and perhaps I should take the hint and start ordering lighter options!
We opted for the express menu, which I think is excellent value, but does limit your choice of main course steak cut to just the rib eye. No matter, that’s my favourite! Here’s the piece de resistance:
Two gorgeous rib eyes, two sides of triple cooked chips, and a dish of Stilton hollandaise.
Without doubt, this was the best steak I have ever had. Meaty, beefy, robust – it was everything a steak should be. Tender in all the right places, cooked perfectly as a medium rare. If you ever wondered what aged beef tasted like, or why it was so much better than regular steak, I invite you to go to Hawksmoor and discover it for yourself. Absolutely phenomenal. It totally blew the steak I had at the Hind’s Head last month out of the water.
One aspect in which Hawksmoor couldn’t compete with Heston was on the triple cooked chips front. They certainly looked the part, but there was a suspicious taste about them which made me wonder whether they were yesterday’s batch… Anyone brought up with thrifty parents can recognise the taste of reheated potato, and that’s the taste I was getting from these. Unfortunate if they weren’t just reheated, unfortunate if they were – no win either way! But they were beautifully crunchy and did the job of soaking up the juices well.
The Stilton hollandaise was delicious – but just as with bernaise sauce, I found myself feeling stuffed after a few swipes at it – there’s something about an egg based sauce with steak that sits just on the wrong side of richness for me. Next time I’ll try the bone marrow gravy, but to be honest, I’d literally only eaten this exact same dish at the Hind’s Head two weeks’ before, so I thought I should at least chance the sauce!
I definitely recommend a visit to Hawksmoor Air Street – the express menu is just £23 for two courses, available between 12-18.30 and after 22.00. As a steak-hound, I thought it couldn’t get any better… but I was wrong. The best steak in London (so far!). http://thehawksmoor.com/