Tag Archives: macaroni

STK, Westminster

I rarely crave meat, but when I do, only the best will suffice. I was having a ‘carnivore moment’ just as an invite to dinner at American steakhouse STK arrived in my inbox. My foodie fairy godmother was working her magic once again.

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The dinner had a name and that name was RED on RED. Three courses of red meat paired beautifully with glass after glass of glorious Penfolds – one of the best things to come out of Australia, along with Macadamia nuts, Tim Tams and Liam Hemsworth (I’m a bit of a Hunger Games fan).

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We sat in the private dining room, entertained by Head Chef Barry Vera, who enthusiastically introduced us to each dish as they arrived. For him, it was a real treat to experiment ‘off menu’. We also heard from the charming Penfolds Ambassador, who explained why the wine tasted so darn good, especially when savoured with a spoonfuls of the yummy food in front of us.

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The three meat courses were outstandingly good. Steak tartare was topped with a  pretty poached quails egg and caviar. It was drunk with a 2009 Pinot Noir that had notes of dried fruit, adding an extra layer to the delicate meat.

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Next was a gorgeous Japanese Wagyu Ceviche with poached pear puree and large slices of truffle. This was followed by the most substantial of our dishes – USDA sirloin with smoked bone marrow, crispy parsley and caramelised garlic.

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STK is the only place in London to use this cut of prime beef. Take it from me, this steak didn’t need chips, mac ‘n’ cheese or any other steakhouse side to beef it up. It was fantastic on its own.

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Before dessert, a plate of creamy Cornish Yarg, salt bread and cherries were served. It was Vera’s take on a Black Forest Gateaux and one I enjoyed very much (even if my stomach screamed ‘please Sarah, no more!’).

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But I didn’t listen to my stomach and instead ate Head Pastry Chef Sarah Barber’s fabulous Chocolates BFG and ‘Sweet Treats’, whilst sipping sweet Penfolds Grandfather Fortified wine. I was in heaven and nothing was going to take that away from me.

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Now I realise I was getting special treatment that night, so I’ll briefly tell you what STK is like outside the realms of our private room. It’s boisterous, fun and – from what I’ve heard – allows dancing on the tables if the mood takes you there.

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As for the food? Well Vera’s daily menu doesn’t disappoint. Even if you don’t feel like a heavy steak, you can take it from me that the fish dishes are delicious. Scallops were delicately cooked to perfection and Coconut Fried Halibut melted in the mouth.

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The Lobster Mac ‘n’ Cheese is also worth a try, as are the Wild Mushrooms with Truffle. But I will leave you with this – don’t take anyone hard of hearing. The music is LOUD, which is brilliant for a night out with friends, but inappropriate for dinner with the grandparents.

STK London Steakhouse, ME London, 336-337 The Strand London, WC2R 1HA 

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MASH, Soho

I felt sorry for MASH. I went three days after my magnificent meal at CUT, so it didn’t stand a chance in the Battle of the Steaks.

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To make it fair, I’ve deliberately left enough time between both meals before writing my ‘non-biased’ review. Gone are my memories of CUT with its glorious bread, glistening meat and gorgeous puddings. My focus is now – entirely – on MASH.

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We were there for its 1st birthday, partly to celebrate, partly to enjoy 50% off its huge list of steaks. The smiley, handsome waiter sat us in a leather booth at one end of the dramatic, chandeliered basement and quickly persuaded us to order a rather expensive bottle of red. Damn him and his good looks!

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We skipped starters and went straight to mains. The Uruguayan 300g Ribeye caught my eye (£29 full price), served with sides of fries, mushrooms and indulgent Mac ‘n’ Cheese (£4.50 each).

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We shared accompaniments and sauces – Bearnaise, Pepper and Red Wine (all at £2.50). I shouldn’t really say this, but the sauces were almost double the price of those at CUT. My first and last comparison, I promise.

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The steak itself was full flavoured, juicy and cooked as requested. It was also gristly, so not completely wonderful. The sides were fine and I did enjoy the macaroni, but could only manage a small spoonful.

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We were too full for dessert (rare for me), so paid the bill, lifted our weary bodies and made our way home.

MASH gets a LLE Rating of 6/10. The food was decent, but if it wasn’t for the 50% deal on steaks, I’d have felt ripped off. I’d rather go back to CUT. There, I said it.

MASH, 77 Brewer Street, London W1F 9ZN

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