If like me, you’re madly into sugar-free date and hazelnut slices, raw energy balls, hazelnut milk, and spirulina smoothies, STK London might not necessarily be at the top of your ‘must dine here’ list. STK, to me at least, evoked gaggling hens in Las Vegas chomping away at lashings of floppy macaroni smothered in heavy cheese and beef fillets of gargantuan proportions. Well, it turns out this is a total myth, a rumor to ward off would be diners by regulars who want to keep the place, well, a secret. It is in fact rather wonderful. Housed on the ground floor of the uber-contemporary ME London hotel, close to Somerset House, the restaurant is open daily for dinner only. Split in two, a sleek bar with elegant lounge seating on the left, cavernous raised dining room filled with comfortable, circular banquettes to the right. The bar was alive with preened millennials and a scattering of forty-somethings during our visit on a chilly late November Wednesday evening. Moody halogen lighting of various palettes puncture a black veiled ceiling, the restaurant design a sort of Philippe Starck meets Seabourn Cruises. An attentive team of waiters and kitchen helpers dart about tending to the elegant, well-heeled crowd. As our expectations rise, we’re presented with our first course; an oversized oblong plate generously decked out with eight squares of chilled yellow fin tuna ceviche (chosen from an impressive raw bar menu) joined by radish, black sesame and pesto. Rarely outside of vibrant Peru have I experienced such a pleasantly light lime-lemon-chili marinade. The tuna abundantly fresh and juicy, the pesto offering a welcome scent of basil. My companion’s sea scallops, lightly battered to perfection, spongy and creamy, were accompanied by crunchy cauliflower and tiny marbles of glistening white sturgeon cavier. Sweet, but with the necessary salt still present.
Two ‘Lil’ Brgs’, tiny bite-sized beef burgers, were neatly presented at the table to our right as yelps of excitement followed, our fellow diners wolfing them down in silence. Arrive famished because chef is heavy handed, although the corresponding pricing is indicative. The real star of the show is the whopping USDA grain-fed steaks. Possessing a seriously scrumptious nutty, creamy-smooth texture, we both selected the 500 gram sirloin steak. Neatly sliced into eight strips, approximately two mouthfuls per strip. (Fillets, rib-eyes and T-bones also available). This is up there with steak star players, Hawksmoor and Foxlow. Great gaps in conversation were met by the licking of lips as we chomped away on the creamed spinach (light and firm) and macaroni cheese (pleasant but not overpowering mustard and garlic hints, monstrous portion). Although duty commanded at least one bite of a dessert, we simply could not fit it in. Gorgeously gluttonous concoctions such as salty caramel crème bruleé (self explanatory) and ‘junk chalice’ (vanilla and pecan ice creams, boozy whipped cream, pop corn, marshmallows, hot caramel sauce, candy floss, gooey brownie) are most definitely reason to visit this place alone. Executive head chef Vincent Menager, formerly of superstar caterers Rhubarb, has created a remarkably straightforward menu yet one that is both creative and popular - and fun!
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