Where’s the beef?
It’s not that long ago that steak restaurants in London were defined by miserable chains like the Aberdeen Angus Steak House. While restaurants of that ilk are still operating, they’ve been well and truly confined to the list of places that are only patronised by hapless tourists who’ve made a bad decision.
Today, London’s steak scene is thriving. In fact, it’s a total meat-fest out there.
Here’s some of the options if you’re looking for a protein fix.
This isn’t fancy dining. Everything is served on vintage blue and white enamelware plates. The food is simple, and unfussy. This isn’t a meal for being polite - you really have to pick the chops up in your fingers and chew on the bones to make sure you get all of the tender meat. It is totally delicious – an earthy charcoal flavour showcasing top quality meat. They don’t take bookings, be prepared to queue.
Situated in the heart of Broadway Market in London’s East, this is a simple, straightforward Argentinian restaurant that gets it right. Prices are reasonable and the Malbec is plentiful.
Best option is their sharing platters that deliver a mound of well-cooked quality meat to your table. Make sure you book, this place gets busy.
This is a small chain of steak restaurants that’s now confined to the leafier south-west areas of London. Well-cooked steaks but lacks a bit of atmosphere.
There’s three outlets of Chop House to choose from - Butler’s Wharf, Paternoster Square, or Moorgate.
This is a restaurant experience that’s ever-reliable if a little uninspired.
Butler’s Wharf is the pick of the locations - on a sunny day you can sit outside and admire the so-close-you-could-touch-it view of the iconic Tower Bridge.
The Gaucho chain of restaurants is a concept that I’ve never felt a lot of love for. Always too dark and over-priced.
Steaks are top-quality. Service is generally professional, if a little lacking in charm.
They started with a restaurant in Spitalfields, but at last count there are now six locations across London.
Always great steaks and cocktails, although the decor and ambience is sometimes a bit questionable.
Located next to the Smithfield meat market, this was the first solo restaurant venture for Mark Hix. It’s a bit corporate, and not particularly sexy.
Tucked away on Essex Road in Islington, this is a neighbourhood cocktails-and-steak kind of place. If I lived a bit closer I’d eat here every night.
Roast occupies a unique position - in the middle of the manic Borough Market but perched above it, looking down on the crowds below. It’s a beautiful space and the menu is impressive – high quality, big, hearty dishes.
The service at Roast is professional and efficient if perhaps a little disinterested. A little oasis of calm, good food and drinks on top of one of London’s major gourmet destinations.
Found on Rivington Street in Shoreditch, this is a steak and chicken restaurant that’s one of the more successful offerings from entrepreneurial chef Mark Hix.
The huge space used to be a tram depot and it’s a knock-out venue for a restaurant – dominated by the enormous tank of formaldehyde containing a cow with a chicken on top, courtesy of Damien Hirst.