American style high end steak houses were until recently relatively unknown in the UK. One of the first to arrive was STK and when it comes to steaks, you get what you pay for. This real American steak experience is worth every penny, testament to the STK footprint which is now in cities including Dubai, Doha, Milan and beyond.
Located on the ground floor of the ME Hotel on the Strand, you enter the opulent surroundings of the dining room and find yourself in an elegant Anglicised version of an American Steak restaurant. For example, banquets are in grey or light pastel shades instead of being dark red or green, reflecting that this is STK with a London twist. The ambience oozes sophistication and the room has an almost club like feel to it with music and drinks to match.
A truly sublime steak experience awaits you if you ask for your steak to be prepared for you in the traditional American Steak House style. This involves cooking the steak at extremely high temperatures so that the outside of the steak becomes charred and forms a hard protective (and tasty) protective crust while the meat inside remains soft and moist.
I had visited STK when it first opened and was surprised then that the steak was not served this way. Little did I know that I only had to ask. On my most recent visit this is exactly what I did, and the result was heavenly. The higher the heat the less time the steak is on the grill and simultaneously there is a harder crust and softer, tastier meat inside.
To add to the true authenticity of the American steak experience at STK, most of the beef served is imported from America and is as such certified by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). This ensures that the flavour and texture of the meat is exactly the same as it would be stateside. After all what a cow eats has a direct effect on how it tastes, and rather like the terroir of a fine wine, where the beef comes from has a direct effect on its taste and texture. All beef is fed on grain for at least 120 giving that unique flavour profile and is cut in house by an STK master butcher.
Apart from USDA beef there is also a selection of Canadian and British grown steaks and there is a sirloin of Wagyu beef from Australia. For any of your dining companions who would like something other than steak there is lamb, chicken and numerous fish options on the menu. And given the carnivorous nature of the restaurant there is also a vegetarian option of sautéed mushroom and truffles.
Side dishes and steak toppings are very much worth a mention as they are generous and punchy. A smoked bacon and blue cheese topping is a must for those in search of big flavours. On the sides, black truffle mac n cheese and a mushroom pot pie went well with everything.
With the resident STK DJ now spinning tunes in the corner, who needs conversation when the magic of a beautifully cooked steak says it all?!
To book and discover more, visit: stksteakhouse.com/venues/london
By Alun Harris
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