Ah steaks. They have a special place in my heart, in a similar location to the perfect bowl of porridge and comforting, spicy Indian food (it’s an odd place granted, but a nice one).
So, the last weekend I spent in London (the one with Caffe Forum) also involved dinner and a show, except not in that order! We went to see The Mentalists on one of its first nights! It’s a two-man play with Stephen Merchant and Steffan Rhodri that is… alright. It’s pretty funny, but more like quiet snigger funny rather than laugh out loud funny (for that, if you’re in New York go and see An Act of God, featuring Jim Parsons, on Broadway. I saw it in May and was practically in tears!).
So yeah, we caught a show and found ourselves pretty damn hungry by the time it finished at nearly 10pm. But! Never fear! I was prepared and, since I was on the Whole30 at the time, extremely well researched. It doesn’t take much googling to find one of the top Paleo recommendations in London is Flat Iron, so that’s where we went!
They have two locations, and the one we went to was just under a 10 minute walk from Leicester Square station. It was pretty late and we got to walk right in, no queue, to be greeted by a lovely waitress who showed us to a table near the back. The atmosphere is very chilled – dark lighting and wooden benches with stools. A tiny bar and great hanging lights… it all fits together very nicely. They even have the coolest pepper grinders that I have ever seen:
Upon being seated a lovely chap came over with some complimentary popcorn and explained how it works – they sell one item: a flat iron steak, and they have a special or two (more steak), with a selection of sides to choose from. What to know that your beef is well kept and local? You don’t even have to ask:
We ordered some drinks (water for me) and our steaks. The recommendation is medium-rare, so that’s what I ordered but first… I also had to make some adjustments to keep the meal Whole 30 compliant. The waiter was amazing. The ‘Market Greens’ of the day included peas as well as spring greens and usually involved butter. The steaks are also usually brushed with brown butter – when I explained I was no-dairy he made a note and sorted everything out with the kitchen without a blink of an eye. In fact – I didn’t know about the brown butter on the steak, he came over and let me know they usually do that, but he’s making sure mine’s left alone! Serious brownie points.
Also, I should probably add that the local beer was apparently very good. I find my OH steak and beer of good quality… I think that makes me half way cool, right?
Now, the main event. It wasn’t long in coming. There were a few tables ‘ahead’ of us but with just one item to cook and a few sides, the kitchen was turning things out at a solid pace. So…
Oh boy. Let’s just take a moment to appreciate that. And because, pictures tell stories so much better when there is food like this involved.
It was so tender and juicy each bite was a small foodgasm, I’m not even lying. A small side salad is included – also lovely. My pea- and butter-free spring greens were plentiful and stunning too. Not overcooked at all. I am fully converted to medium-rare steaks (I used to be a ‘medium’ girl! And, shockingly in my youth, ‘well done’ – but we all make mistakes as kids!).
My only complaint is that I could of eaten two! However, given it was well past 10pm at that point, it was a good thing. So – one thing on the menu, they couldn’t not get it right really, but oh boy. It was right. Let’s just reflect on that steak for a moment. Oh – by the way – just as juicy as the dish itself is the price: £10 for a steak.
Yup, you read that right! Ten. Pounds. The sides (chips, market greens etc) are extra, again you’re looking at £2.50 – £3.50. My tastebuds and my Midlands-based purse are happy! Seriously I’m not even joking, check it out:
Now, onwards. My OH has a sweet tooth bigger than Cadbury World in Bournville so dessert was on the cards. They only had one option, a “Salt Caramel Sundae”, so guess what he had? Our lovely waiter took our order and promptly bought out two spoons. Usually this is awesome, but Whole 30 is no sugar and no dairy so that meant No Ice Cream. D’oh! Bless, so I said he might as well save some washing up and take it away to remove the temptation.
Now, here comes the only dent in the evening. And it’s more of a slight blemish really: about five minutes after ordering, our waiter returned to say the ice cream machine was on the fritz. We could have our dessert if we would wait 15 minutes, and if we were willing to wait he’d also let us have free of charge.
So – problem presented. Solution offered. Compensation offered without asking. I think all my OH heard was ‘free pudding’. So, we waited. And waited. At nearly 11pm (yikes!) dessert arrived.
It was extremely soft serve. I got the impression as soon as it was just ‘not a liquid’ they pulled it through. But I can’t blame them – how many orders for ice cream were they likely to get at that time of night? It was promptly devoured anyway, sauces and all.
If you like steak and you’re in Theatreland, go to Flat Iron. We went really late, so didn’t have to queue and the service was still impeccable, as was the steak. For a tenner, in that area, you can’t ask for more! I would 100% go back. The styling is also really cool and laid back, and the dim lighting makes it pretty fab for a casual date too, I imagine. For us it was a great wind-down after a busy day walking round the city, and then the show. Super simple menu, super staff. Great for eating out Paleo in London, or Whole 30 too, which can be more of a challenge, since you don’t feel deprived at all!
My partner noted next time, he’d probably order the special – which was a larger steak since he was still kind of peckish. So – relatively small portion sizes for the hungry folk in your lives. Also – don’t order the ice-cream late at night if you’re in a hurry. That’s the best I could do, issue wise!