Victoria and Alex gave us a very good pre meal analysis. Expect glitz and glamour; immaculate mear; slick service; steep prices; good chips. But occassionaly watch out for inconsistent service, greasy vegetables and listen to how you should have your steak.
Armed with this wealth of advice it all seemed to correct as we shown to our table amongst a dark and sultry dining room. A huge space, crawling with money and girls who had spent hours getting ready and men who were about to spend a fortune.
We settled in and were shown the array of steaks on a wooden board. The waitress gabbled through the description so rapidly we didn't catch a word she said. But Victoria had given us a good sumamry so we weren't too fussed. I ordered a 400g lump of rib eye which the waitress advised me to have medium. I insisted that it should be pink and she said it would be. Cowie ordered a trout ceviche and a prawn and palm heart salad.
The trout ceviche wasn't. It was a collection of three generous slices of cured trout. But it hadn't been cured in citric acid. Now I am clearly no Peruvian but I did think that lemon or lime juice was the central ingredient. A bit like ordering toast and getting bread. It was very tasty, just a bit of a problem for anyone who gets annoyed by misdescriptions.
Then onto the main show. The warm up was over and the headline act was taking the stage. My mega steak arrived with great cermeony. Lots of bernaise. Some chips. A big hunk of....
Massively overcooked steak. Grey and rigid it stood lifeless like those a performance artist in Covent Garden. And the chips were cold.
We called over the waitress with a smile and a firm look. She whisked it away and told the chef to cook a fresh one. Meanwhile Cowie devoured her prawn and palm heart salad. It was tasty but incredibly stingy. Cowie counted six medium sized prawns. And then realised that they had all been sliced in half so she had actually only had 3! Three prawns! Not good enough.
10 minutes later my replacement steak arrived. I could hear it mooing as it arrived. As I sliced it in half I could hear the staff collectively sigh with relief. Or maybe I could hear myself. It was tender, juicy and tasted of animal. You could really taste the beef. A delightful piece of meat. The bernaise sauce was fantastic but the second bowl of chips were as cold as the first. Disappointing.
Our carafe of Malbec was delicious. But we didn't need it pouring for us. If you are given a jug of wine the protocol is that you pour it yourself. Cowie only wanted one glass. Having finished her first glass the waitress steamed over and agressively filled it to the brim leaving me with 3/4 of a steak to eat with no wine. Yet another irritant. Cowie and I swapped glasses. But we shouldn't have had to.
Scanning the room we completely agreed that this is one of the best restaurants we have been to for people spotting. Over Cowie's left shoulder was a girl tarted up to the nines wearing a short black dress, some scary heels with a tattoo on her foot. The both fesated on well done steaks whilst drinking glasses of rose topped up to the brim. Kissing and fondling their way through the meal they were having a great time.
It's also great fun to watch the chef at work on the grill. With an earpiece wedged into the side of his head I was surprised he managed to completely balls up my steak.
It was one of the best steaks I have had in London. But given that the first was awful the overall mark averages out as being well below par. Add to that Cowie's measly prawn salad and the abysmal service and you've got glitzy money trap. Give me the steaks we had in Buenos Aires or the USA anyday.