Wednesday, 29 January 2014

The Flat Iron experience - anything but flat

I recently had the pleasure of having a meal up in London with one of my daughters. Until recently the default fare would have been something like T. G. I. Friday's, and being a sucker for US food, however chainified, I wouldn't have complained. But as my offspring are now adult(ish) and sophisticated, it was suggested that we try a trendy London restaurant.

Of itself, this was a bit worrying, as trendy usually means expensive, but I was assured that in the case the main courses come in at a wallet comforting £10 a head. So my only remaining concern was a review I read, which said that the writer was the only person in the place over 30. This turned out to be approximately true for me too, but as it happened it didn't matter and I had a great meal.

The venue is Flat Iron, in Beak Street, just off Regent Street, where you'd expect to pay tourist prices. But this is an ex-popup restaurant with rather original ideas of how to behave. It's no booking, which is actually an advantage if you are prepared to eat at an off-peak time. I've heard of people waiting 2 hours for a table in the evening, but we turned up 5 and were seated straight away (it was getting quite busy by 6).

Said seating is on shared tables, most of six, though there was at least one four. The gimmick, if you want to call it that, is that the menu only has one main plus a special. The main is a flat iron steak, not one of the more expensive cuts, but tasty and a bargain at £10. I went for the special, which is sometimes a different cut of steak (this isn't a place for veggies), but on our day was an excellent burger, with plenty of shallots and a bĂ©arnaise sauce.

The main - flat iron steak
The main comes with a tiny dressed salad, and there are optional sides of chips and a couple of veg - and that's about it. But it really was good, and came in with drinks at around £20 a head. Oh and there's a nice little pot of seasoned popcorn while you are waiting for the food.

The place has a good feel to it too, very friendly staff, and a dinky oddity of providing a small meat cleaver instead of a knife.

I rarely bother to write up restaurants, but this was both different enough, and likely to put me off if I hadn't been forced to go, that I think it's worth a mention - and worth a try.

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