For the love of steak

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Originally posted 1st April 2012

Well, I must admit, I am very very sorry!

I have been looking though this meandering journal of all things, food, drink and Formula 1 and have realised that not once in three months, have I talked about the wonderful creation that is steak!

Now before I go on and fill you in on what prompted me to think about this, I would like to introduce you to this news report about red meat.

The dangers of red meat may be true or may be false, I don’t really care; to be honest, I think it’s bollocks.  And if Harvard think that I am going to forego filet, rump, sirloin and porterhouse with –ahem- ‘nuts’, well frankly, there is more chance of me going to study there.  Just sign me up and call me Mike Zuckerberg why don’t you.  Bloody hell.

Any food is dangerous if consumed in excess or without moderation.  Now, what we need to discuss now is if 1.9kg of finest USDA and Angus beef qualifies as ‘excessive’.  Actually, I am more interested in discussing where 1.9kg of steak was consumed, and that was at the phenomenal JW Steakhouse in Mayfair, Central London.

A hotel restaurant?

That’s right folks, and frankly there are few hotels out there that can boast a really good dining experience (though the capital tends to buck that particular trend).

The JW Steakhouse is located at Grosvenor House on Park Lane.  Go there.  Go there now.  The inspiration for this very American joint comes fresh from across the pond.  The resemblance to the BLTs in New York are instantly recognisable, and having eaten in both, there is very little to separate the experiences (well, apart from 3400 miles or so). There are other premium steakhouses in London too; the JW Steakhouse draws inspiration from Goodman, Maze Grill (near Grosvenor House) and now even Wolfgang Puck has joined the fray with Cut at 45 Park Lane, just down the road.  Make no mistake; London is a Mecca for the discerning carnivore.

I have eaten at the JW Steakhouse a few times but I have never ‘done it properly’, i.e. hit up starters, mains and desserts – and the rest.  What I love about it is that the place is a massive stereotype for American food; big flavours, big portions and the cavernous dining room itself.  Therefore, it should be good, but it goes above and beyond…well… even my own slightly biased expectations.

The simple facts are that the JW Steakhouse does what any self-respecting steakhouse does- and does these things bloody well- but then adds a little USP to the mixture.

So on a wonderfully hot Thursday after work, I headed over, met my mates and after a few Hendricks and Tonics, got stuck in.

We had a few starters to share (and Champagne; I love how this very modern restaurant serves bubbly in saucers!!).  I pretty much handed over all decision-making to our amazing server and we began with the biggest crab cakes in the world and the largest starter-portion of calamari I have ever seen in my life.  All very nice, but I think all three of us were waiting and salivating for the main course.

So many choices, what to do!  So I turned over to the waiter again. He/we opted for two cuts between three of us; a 900kg Scottish Porterhouse (a T-bone of Filet and Sirloin) and a 1kg USDA Tomahawk.  Oh yes, please!

The tomahawk is a lesser-known cut of steak, especially around London; in many ways, a city still dragging itself away from humble 8oz sirloins and chewy brisket.  The JW Steakhouse really sells itself on this wonderful piece of food-theatre; a thick-cut ribeye still attached to the foot-long rib bone.  Here is.  Best served medium to rare, natch.

In short, we had two great slabs of meat, two different cuts and two different grades of beef; USDA corn-fed and Scottish Angus.  I couldn’t really tell the difference, perhaps due to the two very different cuts, but the filet half of the Porterhouse (Angus) was sublime.  We were three very happy gents.

Contributing to our happiness were the side orders.  Amongst many, we had ordered sweet potato mash crusted with marshmallow.

Yup, sweet potato mash crusted with marshmallow.

Once more- sweet potato mash crusted with marshmallow.

Oh yes!  It was without a doubt the most off-the-wall steak dinner I had ever eaten, and definitely up there with the best (I find it very difficult to pick a favourite place to eat steak).

If jumbo crab cakes, steaks named after weaponry and marshmallows haven’t set JW apart from the rest, then the desserts will.  Cue Whoopie Pies, with Baileys milkshakes, a bowl of runny chocolate brownie and cheesecake the best cheesecake in history.  Like, ever since fishmen crawled out of the primordial soup, there has never been any dessert like this.

The JW Cheesecake is made to share but one day I will try tackling it by myself.  It is no frills, no chocolate or strawberry variety, simply a vanilla New York cheesecake, loaded up with filling (it’s almost as high as it is wide), served with a knife.

It.

is.

mindblowing.

I gotta move on, I’m starting to get hungry again- and I’ve just had tea.  We washed down proceedings with a Napa Valley red Bordeaux blend called ‘Hands of Time’; a biiiiiig red (for big steaks).  We also had shots of Kentucky coffee (made with Bourbon, predictably enough) and tried JW’s own blend of bespoke-barrelled Jack Daniels.  The whiskey was a show-stopper, and rendered me slightly too drunk for a Thursday night.  But hey, you only live once.

So here we are, three days later, and I am still wondering if 1900g of good meat is excessive, and will it cause me to turn my toes up early?  It’s certainly bad for the cow.  Joking aside, I’m not sure, but I’m damn sure that if the beef doesn’t kill you, the bespoke JD whiskey will.  What a way to go though!

Head over to Mayfair and decide for yourself.

(Skip breakfast by the way).

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