Located in the Aldwych, that end of the Strand which curves into Holborn, you might miss the ME London Hotel, hiding behind its minimalist exterior.
Inside, it’s also understated in that designer exotic chic until you push open the door and enter the restaurant. It’s all polished steel, purple lighting and black leather, no daylight allowed. A chicken wire sculpture hangs from the ceiling, surrounded by dangling light bulbs.
STK is, of course, short for steak and is part of a small chain which has seven restaurants in the US and others in the Middle East. It claims to be London’s top USDA prime steak house, not just about meat but an entire experience. Certainly, on a Thursday night, it’s packed with couples and hen parties all enjoying the thumping music, sipping cocktails and feeling they’re part of the scene.
We’re here for the food and, as soon as we sit down, a large brioche arrives with a green pesto dipping sauce. As well as steak, the menu features a range of mains including fish, pork and lamb but we have our eye on the Wagyu steaks. As a starter, we order Lil’ Brgs (£11) – short for two wagyu burgers, smeared with deliciously tangy sauce in a soft sesame bun.
I can’t resist the soft shell crab sliders, the legs poking out from the bun stuffed with wasabi remoulade and pickled ginger. My partner squeamishly removes the legs, as they remind her of a giant spider, but I chew the lot, enjoying the umami combination.
Before we get to the steak, I notice that the lights have dimmed and the music turned up a notch, which makes it a trifle difficult to chat. Still, the hen party opposite are dancing in their seats so obviously someone’s having fun. My USDA rib eye 400g (£45) is a tender chunk of meat, layered with fat and succulently moist. Slightly smaller is the USDA New York strip 250g (£28) which my partner enthusiastically devours.
As a nod to healthy eating, we’ve also ordered some veg. The roasted broccolini, chilli, pine nuts and pecorino (£6) is refreshingly al dente as are the green beans topped with caramelised onions and almonds (£6). We’re tempted by the parmesan truffle chips but instead just go for simple fries (£4) as we’re already reaching our limit.
Still, there’s room for dessert and the soft serve rum chocolate ice cream and sesame banana cremeux, with a couple of sesame tuiles, hits the spot. My partner, meanwhile, is still dreaming of those wagyu burgers and outrageously orders two more in lieu of dessert. I’m not sure the waiter can believe it but he bows to her command.
The restaurant is now emptying, an exodus I suspect up to the 10th floor and more partying at the Radio Rooftop bar. The music is also less frenetic, a better aid to digestion and we’re feeling mellow. STK is certainly an experience, probably not for everyone I suspect, but the food is excellent, although slightly pricey and service is attentive. Best of all you get to see all those bright young things dressed up for a night on the town.
Tell Me More About STK Steakhouse
STK Steakhouse 336-337 The Strand, London WC2R 1HA
T:0044 20 7395 3450