One of the things that this new world order of social distancing and lockdowns has prevented me from doing, that I miss the most, is the weekends on the town I used to have. These Saturdays in London would usually follow an itinerary of going to a steakhouse, drinking cocktails and watching a film at the cinema, although the order varied depending on reservation and cinema showing times.
One of the last such days that I had, before everything closed due to lockdown, was back in February, when I went to Steak & Co. in Leicester Square, the evening I watched the Safdie brothers' Uncut Gems (I didn't like it as much as Film Twitter did, but it did have some very quotable lines). Had I known that would be one of the last such evenings of this ilk that I was going to have, I would certainly have cherished it more!
As the photos show, the steak is served to you on a hot plate, ensuring the meat is piping hot throughout, to retain its rich flavour. I commend this move, and wish more restaurants would follow Steak & Co.'s example there (even Hawksmoor, my favourite steakhouse in London, doesn't do it, lamentably).
The sauces and salts were plentiful and yummy, and the creamed asparagus was surprisingly delicious for someone who doesn't consume enough greens.
However, Steak & Co. definitely felt like a chain - from the tables which were squeezed far too closely together (if you moved from your seat to go to the loos, you would almost certainly bump into someone else), to the mediocre cut of the meat, the whole restaurant had a very generic vibe.
Indeed, the chips were of lower quality than McDonalds' chips, which, whilst unhealthy, are amazingly coated in oil. The fries at Steak & Co. were just generic oven-chips that tasted a bit stale.
It was one of those places that prioritised profit margins over customer experience. This was transparently obvious, in how the waiters were rushed off their feet, and the steak was cooked suspiciously quickly, leaving me to believe the restaurant probably has a functional process that gets the meat cooked quickly, rather than for optimal taste. And indeed, the steak was bland and flavourless.
The wine selection at Steak & Co. was limited and the wine was overpriced for what it was, as was the meat.
Thus, as much as I miss a hearty steakhouse, this might be one of those things that, to quote Iggy Azalea, recall, 'I'm thinking I like the thought of you more than I like your presence'. The thought of a delicious juicy steak makes me hungry. But Steak & Co. most certainly did not deliver on that front.
For more of my restaurant reviews, click here.