The London Steakhouse Co, City branch, tucked away in the Square Mile, is the first of celebrity chef Marco Pierre White’s restaurants. Descending the entrance stairs, I found myself in a dimly-lit, stylish steakhouse, with a wide and well-stocked cocktail bar along with discreet satirical political cartoons adoring the walls. The Thursday evening I visited was quite busy, so there was a bit of a wait to be seated, but once I got the host’s attention he was warm and welcoming. The atmosphere was pleasant and not too pretentious, nor too noisy despite the restaurant being near full.
To kick things off I took a fruity Passion Jazz cocktail: vodka, passion fruit, apple juice; to start with, while Sharon requested an Old Fashioned, synonymous with Don Draper and typically something of a gauntlet for barmen. Thankfully this one was made to Sharon’s satisfaction -note: Lifestyle Editor diva tantrums were avoided!
Our waiter was extremely attentive by filling our glasses on a regular basis, and generally checking in on us. To start I ordered a Carpaccio of beef with Parmesan and rocket. It was good, though I personally prefer it without the seared edges, which was how it was served – raw meat all the way! Pescatarian Sharon (why did I bring her with me to a steak house?) had the kipper pate served on Melba toast, which she thought was very tasty, if you like things on the salty side. There were plenty of pescatarian options, in addition to a daily vegetarian special; it might be a steakhouse, but nobody need feel left out.
For my main I opted for the modest choice of the two medallions’ worth of 6 oz centre-cut fillet with roasted vine tomatoes, if you’re feeling hungry you can order cuts of up to 24 oz. The beef (I requested medium rare) was decent, if a little burnt on the edges. Sharon’s Smoked haddock fishcake with mustard sauce and wilted spinach was satisfactory, though seemingly rather bland, particularly after the salty starter.
For sides we got Chunky house fries, Onion rings and Seasonal veg. The fries and onion rings, one would think were quite easy to get right, were heavy on the batter and oil, yet light on flavour. The seasonal veg redeemed the sides somewhat by being flavourful and inoffensive.
The Pecan pie I ordered for dessert was probably the highlight of the meal. Served warm, with a scoop of ice cream, it was moist and delectable, and Sharon certainly got dessert envy. She ordered the Chocolate and chestnut truffle cake; defying our waiter’s, warning: he insisted it was the “heaviest of the puddings.” What came to our table looked like a small serving of thick chocolate mousse. The chestnut flavour was largely overpowered by the chocolate, which was not bad at all, but far from the heavy beast of a dessert we were expecting.
At the end of the meal we were also treated to a couple of squares of their special in-house Marshmallows, of which they had two flavours: mango and chocolate mint. I am not a big fan of marshmallows in general, but even I could appreciate that these marshmallows were classy, and a nice little touch to round off the meal.
Overall, the quality of the food did not justify the prices. Of course it’s the City, but even so the prices were far too high for what we received. The standout dish (the pecan pie) was only alright, and the meal overall dare I say was a tad lacklustre. The venue did not seem to have a distinct identity, but its calm ambience would be suitable for a relaxed meal with friends or colleagues in the City, where one can make conversation without having to shout to be heard over bellowing suits or rowdy City slickers.
Price – £101.50, including cocktails but excluding service.
Service – Our waiter was super attentive -nothing was too much trouble.
Ambience – Quiet, but not too quiet.
Bathroom – 4/5 Clean, smelt good.
For reservations and further information please visit: www.londonsteakhousecompany.com