Serving gently-rested steak with gently-rested wines in atmospheric surroundings ought to be a foolproof concept. Gastronomy scribe and drinks consultant, Douglas Blyde shares five red-blooded restaurants realising the formula…
Modern American Steak House (MASH)
Featuring Sophie Ellis-Bextor belting lyrics at its launch, MASH is the most lavish of my selection, occupying what was once Marco Pierre White’s ‘Titanic’. A setting I imagine easily occupied by the Mad Men cast, the art-deco bar is fringed with various cabinets of antique spirits and maturing meaty cuts, while the cavernous dining room looks ionto cellars stocked with top Californian wines. Little surprise then that MASH’s founders trained as sommeliers. Book a banquette with friends and compare-and-share rib-eyes from Denmark (MASH’s origin), the USA, Uruguay and the UK.
77 Brewer St, W1F 9ZN; 020 7734 2608; email@example.com; mashsteak.co.uk
Santa Maria Del Sur
Arguably Battersea’s most enticing-smelling restaurant, the char aromas make it hard to walk past without walking in. Beyond a blazing red frontage, South American meat meets an authentic Argentine asado grill. Savour steaks with a wealth of purple Malbecs amid bare brick walls adorned with the odd guitar (live music is on Mondays). Begin with mini pasty-like empanadas crammed with steaming, herby mince followed by prime sirloin.
129 Queenstown Rd, SW8 3RH; 020 7622 2088; firstname.lastname@example.org; santamariadelsur.com
HIX Oyster and Chop House
The first solo restaurant of chef and author, Mark Hix is appropriately found off a little passageway close to Smithfield market. Begin with oysters fried in ‘Scrumpy’ with Dorset wasabi mayonnaise, then savour a Cornish veal chop with sage butter. Cheeky art includes a swearing neon light sculpture (read in the mirror) and rude loo door signs. Art also continues into the wine list, including the ‘Tonnix Douro Rosé’ collaboration between Hix, celebrity fisherman friend, Mitch Tonks, and Tracey Emin who did the label. Incidentally, it is BYO (free corkage) Mondays.
36-37 Greenhill's Rents, Cowcross St, EC1M 6BN; 020 7017 1930; email@example.com; hixrestaurants.co.uk
Following advice from film-star friend, Michael Caine, Wolfgang Puck opened his first European branch of upmarket grill, ‘The Cut’ at The Dorchester Collection’s 45 Park Lane. Alongside an inevitably expensive selection of steaks, given the prime location, dishes include bone marrow flan and Indian spiced wagyu short ribs, as well as one of London’s best steak tartares. Designed to an exacting and witty vision, from rock and roll soundtrack to Damien Hirst artworks, London is not just another opening for Puck, who believes our city has the world’s most exciting restaurants.
45 Park Lane, W1K 1PN UK; 020 7493 4554; restaurants.45L@dorchestercollection.com; wolfgangpuck.com
Maze Grill, Mayfair
So proud are the team at Maze Grill, that the juicy raw cuts, cossetted in linen, are presented to diners, exhibiting the difference in marbling. Begin with soft shell crab sliders, then choose the very good value 21 day dry-aged British rump which acquires char from what was one of London’s first charcoal-fired Josper grills. It is best served with Béarnaise and paprika fries.
10-13 Grosvenor Sq, W1K 6JP; 020 7495 2211; firstname.lastname@example.org; gordonramsayrestaurants.com
Steak At Home
• Seek out minimum 21 day matured, deep red cuts veined with streaks of fat which melt when cooked.
• Rub it with garlic-infused olive oil then season well with sea salt (ideally Maldon) and freshly, coarsely-ground black pepper.
• Always pre-heat your griddle or pan until smoking.
• Generally, a two centimetre thick steak is deemed rare after 1.5 minutes per side (don’t turn it before), medium rare after two and a half minutes per side, and well done after three minutes per side.
• Use long tongs to manoeuvre the meat so you don’t burn yourself nor prematurely release the juices.
• Before serving, let your steak rest for a full five minutes on a chopping board with gulleys to collect blood, covered with a tent of tin foil to keep aromas and a little heat within.
• Match with a bold plum, liquorice and cherry-scented Malbec such as Doña Paula great value Estate’s rendition.
About the author: Gastronomy writer, presenter and drinks and restaurant consultant, Douglas Blyde has been described as ‘one of the most respected (and well-fed) experts on eating out in the capital’ (Evening Standard) Memorable experiences on his journey of tastes included dining in, then legitimately escaping from the restaurant at high security prison HMP Highdown; shooting, being blooded by, then eating grouse for lunch on the Glorious Twelfth of August in the Highlands (malt in hand); as well as a recent odyssey to the wine-lands of South Africa.(@douglasblyde)
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