I KNEW Marco himself wouldn't be presiding over matters at his steakhouse. I knew that. But maybe he should. For a meal costing as much as this did, it was somewhat disappointing. It wasn't terrible by any means, but it wasn't top-notch. Perhaps my expectations were too high. I don't often get the opportunity to frequent so-called High End restaurants, preferring local, or previously visited establishments where the food is the hero. Eating out is a treat, still, for me. And paying top dollar means it has got to be amazing. For something like a steak, I can cook it at home, yes, but I don't often. So this should have been one of the best steaks ever. What with it being a steakhouse, and all...
I had read several reviews before my reservation and was surprised. A restaurant bearing the name of the first 'celebrity' chef, a man who returned his Michelin stars in order that he could stop living the lie that meant he could 'charge high prices and not be behind the stove'. I have much admiration for Marco for this reason and also because I met him at an event a few years back, (Mumsnet, turkey, anyone?) and he was charming and as genuine as could be. And this is why I still wanted to eat here. (I may have slight CWS*.)
*Celebrity Worship Syndrome
The staff were great, so polite, with no over-selling. I did feel slightly bad at choosing the (second) cheapest option for everything but really, that shouldn't matter. They didn't seem to mind. They did subtly re-fill our wine very frequently so it was mostly finished by the time the steak arrived.
The setting was comfortably spaced, again quite classic and traditional, with a 'high-end' feel . A bit of an '80s feel to it, perhaps? (Not that I remember any restaurants in the '80s...) Round tables for two gave it an intimate feel, and the lighting was low and romantic.
Disappointing starters, both cold. Admittedly I didn't think confit of duck was what it was. I was expecting a roasted duck leg marinated in lots of wine. Mmm. Potted confit of duck, I now know, is the flaked meat from the duck covered in a layer of lard. Not really my thing. I'm sure it's not that but that's what it tasted like. Prawn cocktail is the traditional starter that I've never seen the point of but Himself chose it purely for the nostalgic element. It just felt as though it had been sitting in the fridge all day. As did the confit.
|Potted Confit of Duck|
Steak was the obvious choice for main course. There were other options, such as confit duck but luckily I didn't make that mistake again! I couldn't justify paying £35 for a fillet or a ribeye - I like my meat, but not that much, so I was content with the sirloin. I would have expected it to be the best steak I've ever had. It wasn't. (That, my friends, was at a restaurant right next to where I grew up in Co. Kerry called The Thatch). For a medium rare, it was a tad chewy. It did have a good charry edge and not too much bone, which I liked. Served with a knob of Cafe de Paris butter.
|Sirloin Steak with Cafe de Paris butter|
Himself went for the rump with peppercorn sauce. Again a classic. His was also medium rare, yet chewy. The sauce was silky smooth but needed a bit more 'pepper-fire' in his opinion. Good portion size. Ooh the triple cooked chips were delicious! And the seasonal vegetables, surprisingly the simple things worked very well.
|Rump Steak with Peppercorn Sauce|
Overall I wouldn't really rate this steakhouse as 'The Best'. I think it's a slight tourist trap, enticing reasonably well off clientele, in a great location in the City, and with Marco's name. Without his name it could be rated as just another chain steakhouse. Which would burn a hole in your pocket.
I should point out, for transparency, that I had an £80 voucher from Zomato. Unlikely I would have been able to afford to eat here otherwise!
Also, please excuse the photography. I was a little furtive with my flash in this instance...
East India House
109-117 Middlesex Street
City of LondonE1 7JF
020 3095 4733
Dinner for two with wine: (at least) ~£120