Friday, 28 March 2014

A Magnifient CUT at 45 Park Lane

Mister booked CUT at 45 Park Lane to celebrate our first anniversary. 

Posh and plush. Needless to say, no expense was spared on the décor; oozing extravagance and class with its deep mahogany and touches of gold. The ambiance was intimate but with relaxed sophistication. I think it was the music that strips away the uptight awkwardness that we sometimes get in lavish restaurants. It was just right. 

We were brought some cheese sticks and savoury puffs to nibble on before our server introduced us to the different cuts and types of steaks. 

The white cloth on the right covers the USDA Prime cuts and the black cloth covers the Wagyu, which was what brought us to CUT in the first place. Starting from top: filet mignon, sirloin and rib-eye. 

On the Beef Marbling Scale, 1 being the leanest and 12 the fattiest, I think, though don't quote me on it, the higher-end of Australian Wagyu scores a 6. The Aussies have their own grading system for beef quality, and their premium M9 would be the equivalent of Japanese A3 (A5 being the highest rank). Sadly we cannot buy imported Kobe Wagyu here, so this stuff here may arguably be the best piece of meat one could lay their hands on.  I am a rib-eye girl; I like my meats fat and juicy. Decision made... but then I saw the more distinct marbling on the sirloin and I began to sway... 

Big Eye Tuna Tartar, wasabi aioli, ginger, togarashi crisps, tosa soy
The presentation reminded me of the O-toro tartar we had back at 15 East in New York. 

Even though it wasn't fatty tuna belly, the ensemble was equally luscious in texture. The diced lean tuna was trimmed of tendons, just sexy deep-red cubes in a shiny glaze of oil, enriched by the buttery ripe avocado. Flavours from the fish were clean and crisp, and its freshness accentuated by the subtle dressing of soy and hints of wasabi kicks - all in perfect balance. 

Prime sirloin hand cut "steak tartar", herb aioli, mustard
Though I usually prefer my steak tartar roughly chopped, this smooth version may have just converted me. The texture was incredibly soft, almost to the point of creaminess, but retained just enough chew to release the beefy goodness before it all melts away to leave a lingering meaty fragrance. The seasoning could only be described as precise; there was definitely a strong punch from the mustard, but the powerful bovine flavours comfortably took it on. 

Out of the two starters, neither of us could quite decide which one we prefer. 

Wagyu / Black Angus Beef, Darling Downs, Queensland, Australia
New York Steak with Bone Marrow, Wasabi-yuzu kosho butter (medium)
Yep - the image of the marbling on that sirloin was too vivid, I went with the Wagyu NY steak cut. Initially I thought the New York sirloin taster with a sample of USDA Prime, British South Devon Angus and a tiny bit of Australian Wagyu was a good idea, but then decided against it. Like all top class steakhouses, CUT is most likely to be equipped with a super-grill that could reach ridiculously high temperature, and so the steak would only spend a couple of minutes on the grill, if that. This means the thicker the cut, the better. That tasting sampler of 4 + 4 + 2 ounces doesn't sound so great anymore. 

And my sirloin was 2 inches thick, perfectly medium with the baby pink centre, beautifully seared on the outside with just enough charcoal to give off the smoky bbq aroma. It was well rested; while the meat was glistening in its melted fat, there was no leakage of beef juice on the plate - the kitchen has nailed the art. It was absolutely delicious. The meat was tender without losing its sirloin muscularity, the muscles had more structure and stronger meaty flavours, that combined with the distinctive wagyu grease, was simply divine. 

I had the wasabi & yuzu sauce, which was subtle and complimented the steak well - an understated citrusy kick to lift the Wagyu grease, not too creamy or thick on the palette. 

I love how the discs of bone marrow were casually scattered on my steak. No awkward scrapping of the uneven surface of a cut-open cow bone (take note Hawksmoor), because that kind of horrific murder scene really wouldn't cut it at a Dorchester collection restaurant, would it? 

Rib Eye Steak with Bone marrow, House-made steak sauce (medium)
I was kicking myself for not sticking to rib-eye - Mister and I swapped half of our steaks, but still - I am a rib-eye girl! 

The steak wasn't as thick as the NY (right); I guess this is limited by the 8oz mark. I would have liked the option to go for 10oz for a thicker cut. Not that it mattered because the meat was so soft that the knife sliced through with minimum resistance, and it tasted so sweet, so flavoursome. It was a delicious contrast between the smoky charcoal edge and the sweet melty beef. Each bite released more globules of cow fat and filled the mouth with the most addictive buttery flavours. It was too good to be true. 

But I finally found one thing I didn't like here: the home-made steak sauce. It was a crime. The sauce resembled one that goes with Japanese tonkatsu, a thick brown sauce with a heavy acidic tang. It was overpowering and drowned the meaty flavours from the meat; ruined it for me. Interestingly, Mister loved it. 

Wild Field Mushrooms, Japanese Shishito Peppers
Our sides was okay, but in my humble opinion, it was a tad heavy-handed with the seasoning. I wish we had stuck to the creamed spinach. 

Warm Dark Chocolate Valrhona Souffle whipped creme fraiche, toasted hazelnut Gianduja ice cream
We shared the warm souffle, which arrived in a mini pot and the server dropped the ball of ice cream and whipped cream at the table. The chocolate was rich and indulgent, but the fluffy, light soufflé reined it back in balance. It was the perfect finish. 

Our dinner at CUT 45 Park Lane was faultless. The service was professional without being snobbish, the pace of meal was controlled and attention to detail from our server was impressive. The kitchen team showed off their masterly skills by delivering the most precise dishes; balanced flavours and rounded textures. The experience was effortlessly elegant, and simply luxurious. 

Thank you, Mister. It was indeed a happy anniversary. 

Dorchester Collection
45 Park Lane
Tel: 0207 593 4554

Cut at 45 Park Lane on Urbanspoon
You may also like: Dinner by HestonTramshedBerners Tavern


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