SquareMeal Review of STK London
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last couple of years, you’re likely to have come across STK’s famous Instagram wall at some point while you do your daily (or hourly) timeline scroll – and no wonder. When it comes to the glam factor, STK delivers on all fronts.
With its vowel-free moniker, super-sleek looks, DJs on the decks and a ‘dress to impress’ code (check if your threads will pass muster on the website), STK certainly comes with plenty of attitude.
The menu isn’t shy or retiring either, piling on the indulgence with caviar starters, truffle toppings and lobster mac’n’cheese, ahead of USDA prime-grade beef, Wagyu and British native-breed steaks at wallet-busting prices – although our New York strip and rib-eye both passed muster when it came to proper ageing and cooking. A lighter scallop and shrimp ceviche also scored points, though a dessert of deconstructed ‘rhubarb and custard’ was more style than substance.
Although it is best known as a glitzy venue for dinner and drinks, STK’s simpler lunch menu promises a slightly more laid back affair, minus the stiletto heels and body-con dresses. It features the likes of crispy chicken salad, and New Orleans favourite, the popcorn shrimp po’boy sandwich, as well, of course, as the signature steaks.
This branch of STK, which hails from the US and has locations all over the world, has proved popular with a moneyed international crowd who may well be familiar with the outposts in Dubai, Ibiza, Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Readers recommend it for glamorous entertaining with “attentive service” on the side.
Located in the ME Hotel, this sleek restaurant fits right in with the property’s Radio Rooftop bar and Zela, the Japanese-cum-international dining room backed by Rafael Nadal and Enrique Iglesias. So after enjoying a steak and snapping enough Instagram pics to last a lifetime, head to Zela’s cocktail bar or on up to the roof to finish your night.
About STK London
Part of the Me London hotel and an offshoot of the North American steakhouse brand of the same name, this first UK outpost of STK has a plum location on Aldwych that’s great for pre- and post-theatre dining, though the basement setting and nightclub vibe really come into their own when it’s dark outside and you don’t mind being underground.
The menu will be familiar to anyone who has spent time in the sort of country-club restaurants and steakhouses that constitute classic American cuisine on the other side of the pond. There are boldly flavoured salads such as chicory and watercress or Caesar to start, jumbled with ingredients like blue cheese, caramelised pear and roasted walnuts, as well as crispy bits of protein along the lines of softshell crab sliders or octopus and oat-fried chicken.
Given, though, that steak with side orders is the house speciality, something from the raw bar might make a sensibly light beginning to a meal at STK: jalapeño pickled shrimp with cocktail sauce and lemon, say, or a yellowfin tuna ceviche with radish, black sesame seed pesto and charcoal crisps.
The steak itself – made from grain-fed USDA prime beef as well as dry-aged British beef – comes in three sizes of small, medium and large, from a 200g fillet to a whopping 900g tomahawk, with toppings of garlic butter, smoked bacon and blue cheese, black truffle butter and sauces of béarnaise, peppercorn, red wine and chimichurri.
If steak’s not your thing, there’s also roasted lemon sole, miso-glazed duck breast, organic salmon fillet and cornfed chicken breast, plus indulgent sides of mac and cheese, truffle and parmesan French fries, creamed spinach and mushroom pot pie.
A DJ playing from Tuesday to Saturday underlines the Ibiza nightclub atmosphere of the place, as too the big central bar for cocktails and Champagne.