With the weather being such a scorcher in London, Mr Husband and I naturally presumed everyone would be dining al fresco: on rooftops, back gardens and in courtyards. So, we were impressively surprised to see that STK, a hip new bar and steakhouse, was absolutely heaving (a full house in fact), despite it being an indoor establishment.
This dark, cool (both temperature and status-wise) buzzy lair lays spaciously across the basement level of the ultra-hip ME hotel in Covent Garden. Across the United States, STK restaurants are strategically located in vibrant neighbourhoods of cities including New York, Miami and Las Vegas, which are often frequented by celebrity guests including David Beckham, Rihanna and James Franco.
With its informal-chic lounge, electric atmosphere and DJ playing urban nightclub music, this really is the place to be if you’re looking for a meaty meal, sophisticated cocktails and in general, a great night out.
We started off at the bar with a beer for Mr Husband and a refreshingly cool Cucumber Stiletto cocktail infused with elderflower for myself. As we took to the table, we were presented with beautifully black leather bound menus that opened up to a carefully selected menu of appetisers (salads, raw seafood and mouth-watering bites) and grilled meats (steak being high on the ‘must-have’ list).
Knowing full well that we were to order STK’s infamous steaks for our mains, we decided to taste the tuna tartare with harissa and aubergine and tuna cerviche, deliciously dressed in tangy kaffir lime and onion. We hear though that the Lil’ BRGs (wagyu beef sliders), which can be found also on the US menus, are simply scrumptious.
Next up, the main attraction: steak. The finest hand-selected, hand-cut beef is used, including selections of USDA Prime grade, in small, medium or large cuts, depending how hungry you are. From feather steak to fillet, New York strip to rib eye, you also get to choose from a selection of decadent toppings to jazz up your steak (not that it really needs it) such as pepper crust and lobster. We decided to go for the chateaubriand (served medium rare) designed for two. Instead of the included lavish fois gras on top, we swapped it for rich shavings of black truffle. For sauces, we enjoyed the recommended red wine jus (perfectly sticky and gravy-like) and added peppercorn sauce and STK bold (a barbecue-style condiment with a tamarind and spicy kick) to our order. Seared just to the perfect point, we found our cuts to be juicy and tender. For sides, we highly recommend the triple cooked parmesan chips with truffle – the scent of which permeates the dining area and left us craving for truffle the minute we sat down to eat.
Non-lovers of steak need not worry about feeling left out, as there’s a varied menu of alternative options including eight-hour roast pork shoulder with bourbon peaches, seaweed salted roast sea bass with baby fennel and seared tuna with aubergine caviar.
If you can manage it after such an indulgent course, there’s also a fantastic spread of sweet dishes ready and waiting to dive into. Playfully referencing STK’s American roots, we marveled at the ‘Taste of the Fairground’ – a theatrical showcase of sugared doughnuts, toffee popcorn, toffee apples, colourful marshmallow kebabs, candy floss and mini ice-cream cones. In short, STK is a clear winner for carnivores and the scene for the ‘It’ crowd alike.
By Reena Patel