I recoil at the sight of raw meat. But picturing it charred and lying supine next to a sharp blade? That’s a vision that gives me the good kind of shivers. In London, as in almost any major city worldwide, steak is primarily a luxury. A birthday treat. An expensed work dinner. An option you offer up when you know your dad will pay. The creators of Flat Iron clearly took a hard look at this sad truth and stampeded into Soho to capture the hearts of We With Fragile Overdrafts. For less than the price of a Zone 1 travelcard you can nurture your bloodlust at the original Beak Street location, or its hot little brother on iconic Denmark Street.
The boyfriend and I had the audacity to swagger into the latter at 7 pm on a Saturday, having heard you can score a good steak and some salad for £10 but fully aware they don’t take reservations. Not sure what karma we had racked up, but we were seated immediately. In America you’d have to put up with 20-year old carpets and stale drapes to get beef that cheap; here was a decidedly tasteful new-world steakhouse, a sort of carnivory palace outfitted with cleavers on every table and plenty of solid wood and iron. Daylight gave way to candelight and Flat Iron came into its own, oozing sexiness the way their sirloin oozes…well…sexiness.
A sublime Old-Fashioned to start the meal seemed essential. It’s easy to convince yourself of such things when your main costs only a tenner. I was sipping away merrily when a tin mug of popcorn alighted on our table, the better to whet our palate and necessitate more drinks. The mainly male waiters that night were casually elegant, in the same vein as Flat Iron itself. We couldn’t be more pleased at getting a high-end experience at bargain basement prices.
We each went for the speciality – flat iron, a shoulder cut known as butler’s to Brits – the boyfriend’s with peppercorn sauce and mine with bearnaise. We specified medium and it arrived looking – then tasting – about six kinds of awesome. Side orders range from creamed spinach to aubergine, but we stuck with fries to round out the ubiquitous steakhouse experience. Plus the steak comes with a perky little salad to appease your arteries.
Each location features apparently daily specials of specially sourced UK meat, in addition to the flat-iron; the night we went there were burgers, but a quick dip into their Twitter pool hinted at Wagyu beef and a belly cut at other times. I loved the intimacy of the Denmark Street restaurant, but I hear great things about the long communal tables of the two-storey Beak Street venue, and the St John’s doughnuts that are sorely lacking on Denmark Street. The prices aren’t not serendipity; they’re good business sense…I’ll come back to this lovely little spot again and again, throwing down my tenners and knocking back whiskey like JR on a Monday lunch break.
9 Denmark Street, London W1F 9RW (or 17 Beak Street WC2H 8LS) https://twitter.com/flatironsteak
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