22 July 2013
I was going to try and write a review of Stk, which sounds like the start of a Countdown wordplay puzzle, without using any vowels, but that would have got very dull quite quickly and my grammar is bad enough anyway.
I must admit I was dreading going here – it wasn’t my choice and after reading Camilla Long’s execution of a review in The Times I thought I might be the only person in the place without hair extensions, a spray tan, acrylic nails and a vajazzle.
Don’t get me wrong, it will never become my favourite restaurant in London, but it’s not as bad as many reviews would have it.
Lunchtime in the middle of an all too brief heatwave isn't the time to go to a restaurant that looks like it should be a TOWIE nightclub – going from the stunning sunshine to the near darkness I just about avoided falling down the steps on the way in, which would not have been a good start. We were then shown to our table where, how can I put this nicely, there was a faint but distinct aroma of vomit. However, our friendly waitress moved us without any hesitation after we asked and the new table was fine. The restaurant itself was 90% empty at 1pm on a Friday, though I suspect it’ll be a veritable meat market come evenings. I expected they would be playing music at the sort of volume where you had to shout across tables, but it was strangely devoid of much atmosphere.
The waitress we had was polite and charming – from the US she did the full on engaging service bit; sadly not all the team seemed as organised, and things weren’t slick or polished but they weren’t awful either and there was a reasonable gap between courses, the right dishes arrived, no long awkward waits with empty plates etc.
The food itself was average, not great by any means, but I’ve had far worse. I started with carpaccio of beef – decent sized potion, nice salad leaves, shaved parmesan etc. the beef itself was slightly curiously sweet, but not unpalatable. This was followed by the burger – a huge portion – all be it lots of bun, but really decent burger, cheese, bacon etc – it would actually have been better if they had more confidence in the meat and didn’t surround it with quite so much padding. This was followed by rhubarb and champagne trifle – a bit bland, but perfectly serviceable. The only really odd thing was the ‘bread’ you start with – it was rather more of a cakey brioche, served with what I presume was spinach to spread on it rather than butter – sadly it had much the same look and taste as industrial hand cleanser – I really did try but even 1 bit was rather more than I wanted.
Value is just about alright – we did 2 courses from the set lunch menu (low £20s) and desserts from the main menu at around £7 each. Side dishes are a little expensive and you don’t get any accompaniments with the main courses on the set menu so end up having to pay for those extra bits. I didn’t pay the bill so not 100% sure of the total, but I’d guess at around £80 per head, which seems better than something comparable like gaucho even if the meat here is rather less good.
Would I come back? Not in a hurry, but I didn’t hate it.