Freelance writer and journalist based in west London.
Published February 18th 2014
Team meat or team fish?
You'll be in a bit of trouble if you go to Steak and Lobster in Bloomsbury and you don't like steak or lobster because there isn't much else to eat. The restaurant offers you 'This or That'; a 10oz ribeye steak, cooked to your liking, or a whole lobster, grilled or steamed, served on the half shell. Both are accompanied with garlic and chive butter, unlimited fries and a mixed salad, which consists of leaves, shallots, parmesan, sunflower seeds and croutons. Both cost £20. If you really don't fancy either steak or lobster, you can have the vegetarian option, which is a spiced sweet potato and mixed vegetable burger served again with the house salad and fries. It costs £15, but really if you're opting for the burger you're in the wrong place.
Steak and Lobster sits on the ground floor of the Radisson Blu Edwardian Hotel. Perhaps because of this it's larger that expected. The bar is very spacious with plenty of seating, a great place to have a drink before your meal. The furnishings bring a welcome splash of colour; the whole place is very dark, but the psychedelic banquette seating and bright red chairs are fun and comfortable.
The bar itself is well stocked; you can get pretty much any drink you would expect to be able to find. But Steak and Lobster is clearly proud of its cocktails. The list of signature drinks includes a Steak and Lobster Spritz; Aperol Bitter and lemon juice topped with Brut Champagne, as well as mojitos, slings, sours, daiquiris, martinis and cosmopolitans. They choose to list these on the food menu, along with beers and soft drinks. If you want wine you have to ask for a separate menu. Whilst they say they keep it simple, the wine list is pretty extensive. Cocktails cost between £8 and £11.50. You can get a good bottle of wine for about £30.
After a drink or two in the bar, we moved to our table. The staff were quite relaxed about the fact that despite our booking being for 7pm, we ended up sitting down about twenty minutes or so later. I'd say that relaxed attitude set the tone for the evening; everything was delivered politely and with a smile but the service wasn't particularly swift and there didn't seem to be any urgency to bring more drinks when we ordered them.
There are six things that you can choose from to nibble on before your main course arrives. They include onion rings, focaccia, olives and steak bites, but we decided to eschew these and focus on the steak and lobster. It was then that the biggest sticking point about the food came to the fore; although the restaurant is called 'Steak and Lobster' there isn't a dish that actually gives you the chance to eat both. You have to choose, either steak or lobster. A few of us were expecting to be able to have a surf and turf combination; it would have made perfect sense. As it was we got around it by buddying up within our group of eight; four ordered steak, the other four the lobster and we halved each when it arrived. I do think they're missing a trick by not offering a 5oz steak and half a lobster on the same plate, as that's what most people appeared to want and appeared to be eating!
We all agreed that the food did taste great though. Granted by the time it arrived we were all quite hungry, but the steaks had great marbling and a wonderful flavour. They were cooked well to everyone's specifications too. The butter was all you needed with it, although you can buy a peppercorn, or stilton and red wine, or garlic white wine and mushroom sauce if you want. Mustard, mayo and ketchup are provided free on the table.
I always think lobster looks impressive and it was no different at this restaurant. It was soft and juicy and you could scrape every last bit of meat out with the picks and crackers provided. I did feel that it would have been good to have some little bowls of water to rinse your fingers. Your cutlery ended up getting messy if you had a bite of steak and then spent a few minutes dealing with a bit lobster. If you're not that well versed in cracking lobster, like me, your steak ran the risk of getting cold. Perhaps that's why they don't serve both together! Anyway we managed and everyone polished off everything on their plates. The fries and salad are unlimited, but the first portion was sufficient for us so no one went back for seconds.
As we were at the restaurant for a birthday celebration, we decided to linger for dessert. It didn't take long to peruse the menu, as there are only four things on offer; banana split, knickerbocker glory, chocolate cheesecake or cheese. The chocolate cheesecake was a generous individual cake, quite rich and creamy and set nicely with a bit of mixed fruit on the top. Everyone who had it gave it a thumbs-up. The knickerbocker glory had a good mix of fruit and ice cream with a generous portion of cream on top.
The chocolate cheesecake is the best dessert on offer
We ate well at Steak and Lobster. The restaurant was busy and the simplicity of the menu and the pricing means you do spend more time focusing on the people you're out with and having a good time. But it's almost like it can't quite decide on its identity; the sleek black interior didn't quite match the hands-on messiness of the lobster and the laid back service. I really believe you should be able to order a dish where you get both steak and lobster on the same plate too. But as long as you don't go and eat alone, you'll be able to try both. A good place for a mid-week meal if you like the food it offers.