Thursday, 31 January 2013
The Great Steak Robbery
Over the last few years London has seen a mushrooming of the gourmet steak house and I suppose it was only a matter of time until they bloomed across the capital encroaching every corner of restaurant market. I am here to give you, dear reader, my shocking views on establishments which charge over and above the odds for a slice of prime beef. I have been silent in the past but now I think it time to speak up for the consumer! This is the great steak robbery...
In June 2012 I went with a couple of friends to the Hawksmoor which had (then) recently opened near Guildhall for a boozy supper and to try some of their much-hyped cuisine. It proudly proclaimed itself as a steak restaurant and as such offered a myriad of the stuff on the menu. We had ordered some cocktails and were looking through the menu. I had chosen my starter (bone marrow to be exact - not cheap) when my heart gave a start. Looking down at the main course a shudder went down my spine as I saw the price brackets next to the steaks on offer, ranging from £20.00 - £33.00!
On seeing this I was once more reminded of the atrocious prices placed on steak by establishments, like an exorbitant discretionary tip on an already large bill. Since, I have tried my hardest from then on not to order it in a restaurant if I can help it for both my palate and the ease of my wallet! There are much - or should be - better and more imaginative dishes on restaurant menus to inspire the palate that give a far better indication of the chef's talents.
Before I am lambasted as anti-steakhouses or Hawksmoor. Let me make clear that it would be very unfair to single out that establishment for practicing such a trade as most restaurants do; I have no complaints about the excellent quality of the steak and they would, i am sure, be able justify the price against this against their guidelines and price points. You also are paying for the cooking, the service, the ambience and your seat so fair game to them - they’ve got to pay the overheads too.
I suppose, in my own small way, I cannot understand why people would pay such a thwacking great sum - bearing in mind sides are rarely complementary - for something that could be purchased from the butcher for half the price, as good quality and can even be cooked to a tee by the most incapable amateur.
Turning closer to home, for a moment as I like to bring a few local issues into the discussion, there are many excellent/good restaurants and gastropubs in my area that sell steaks on their menu but put them at a price range far and above anything else. Perhaps it is this level of exclusivity that attracts people to the dish, for I see so many people order it nowadays - it is a shame because they are missing out on experiencing the chef’s skills, cooking with more complex flavours, in addition to saving themselves a few pennies...
But perhaps I am the one who is out of date, steaks seem to be in and paying top dollar the de rigeur.